The Ultimate Tito Car—this is how many view the 1980s Mitsubishi Lancer. Lovingly known as the boxtype because of its boxy-wedge shape, it has transcended generations and become an automotive icon.
But what exactly is the Lancer boxtype’s appeal? It isn’t a supercar by any stretch of the imagination. To most folks, it’s a plain-Jane everyday conveyance. Sure, it’s got a few sporty iterations but that’s it.
And here lies why this generation Lancer has been so well loved.
First introduced in 1980, it brought the wedge shape to the mainstream local automotive industry. While its global production spanned the years of 1980 to around 1984, it soldiered on in the local market until around 1987. This was because of the political and economic crisis of the time, which saw Mitsubishi, along with its Galants and Lancers being the only brand-new automobiles standing.
Beyond its “longevity,” the Lancer was at home being a family car, a souped-up ride for single guys, and even had an automatic variant (a rarity at the time) for those that wanted to take it easy. The “sportier” types had the 1.6-liter, 5-speed MT GSR version or the more potent EX to play with.
The motorsport heritage and mass appeal notwithstanding, the Lancer boxtype symbolized the enduring Filipino spirit. Those old enough may recall that these weren’t exactly the best of times. Yet we managed to survive, even showing the world what we’re capable of achieving as a people.
As for the Lancer, it soldiered on to give Filipinos who could afford a brand-new car a more than decent set of wheels. And with brand-new cars being a luxury of sorts at the time, this is saying a lot.
But to us car nuts (particularly the Titos and Titas out there), this will always be the quintessential 80s ride that will endure forever. Even outlive us all.