CLASSIC Mitsubishi enthusiasts and Car S.O.S’s Fuzz Townshend and Tim Shaw helped Mitsubishi Motors in the UK celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the manufacturer’s first car, the Model A, in style with its exclusive Centenary Tour.

Taking place on Saturday 30th September, Mitsubishi Motors’ Centenary Tour saw the television celebrities flag away 50 of the country’s finest classic Mitsubishis from the brand’s UK HQ in Cirencester before drivers weaved their way through the picturesque Cotswolds to the finish at Shelsley Walsh hill climb.

Mitsubishis from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s were all represented on the 90-mile Centenary Tour, vehicles spanning early Lancer, Sapporo, Sigma, Celeste and Colt models right through to the Shogun, L200 and EVO. Mitsubishi Motors’ directors, together with motoring journalists and invited guests, joined owners on the event in a collection of vehicles from the company’s heritage fleet.

On arriving at the iconic hill climb – the oldest operational motorsport venue in the world – participants were presented with a unique finishers’ medal and invited to drive their Mitsubishis up the legendary, 1,000-yard course that has played host to some of the world’s fastest vehicles since 1905.

After completing the Centenary Tour themselves in Mitsubishi Motors in the UK’s 1974 Galant 2000 and spending the afternoon chatting to owners, Tim and Fuzz joined Managing Director Lance Bradley in the hard task of judging the day’s best cars. Trophies were awarded for Oldest Car, Best Presented Saloon, Best Presented Coupé/Sports car, Best Presented Hatchback, Best Presented 4×4, Spirit of the Event and Best Overall Vehicle.

The Centenary Tour was the latest development in the relationship between Car S.O.S and Mitsubishi Motors in the UK. The brand supports the show with a Mitsubishi Outlander and L200, the latter being used to safely tow away each episode’s subject vehicle in readiness for it to be returned fully restored to its unsuspecting and owner.

Reaction to the day was excellent with owners enjoying the chance to meet like-minded enthusiasts and join in the celebrations. They had come far and wide to take part too, one car making the trip from the Netherlands and Mitsubishi fan Luke Hulse in his L300 panel van driving all the way from Aberdeen.

Simon Wilkins with his 1985 Mitsubishi Sapporo Turbo, which he bought 20 years ago with a seized engine.

Simon Wilkins with his 1985 Mitsubishi Sapporo Turbo, which he bought 20 years ago as a non-running project.

Simon Wilkins and his wife, Louise, had travelled from Stroud in their 1985 Sapporo Turbo. Bought by Simon 20 years ago with a seized engine, he restored his late last-of-the-line example and it was one of the most admired cars of the day. On his rare Sapporo and the Tour, he said; “The Sapporo does turn a few heads and I knew it was a bit special when I bought it all those years ago. It drives really nice and we’ve had a really enjoyable time today.”

Ian Littlewood was another owner who had a great time on the Tour, travelling from Chesterfield and winning the award for Best Coupé/Sports with his immaculate, 1996 3000GT. Since purchasing the striking coupé five years ago, he’s completely rebuilt it from a near scrapper to a show winner. He said: “If I’d known how bad it was from the outset I wouldn’t have done it, but I’ve long been a fan of the 3000GT and I love the shape and handling. The driving experience is phenomenal with the 4WD, 4WS and active suspension. I’ve really enjoyed today and the memorabilia we’ve received from Mitsubishi Motors is great, it’ll go nicely with the car.”

Ian Littlewood with his award-winning 1996 3000GT, which he has completely restored from the ground-up.

Ian Littlewood with his award-winning 1996 3000GT, which he has completely restored from the ground-up.

Lance Bradley, Managing Director, Mitsubishi Motors in the UK, who completed the Centenary Tour in the heritage fleet’s wide-body Mitsubishi Starion, said: “It was an outstanding day and we were delighted that we could share our 100-year anniversary celebrations with some of the brand’s most dedicated fans. Choosing the best cars was immensely hard and to have such a wide variety of classic Mitsubishis at a truly iconic venue made our Centenary Tour a very fitting and enjoyable way to mark such an important milestone.”

Prize winners:

  • Best presented Saloon: Lee Egan, 2000 Lancer Evolution VI Tommi Makinen
  • Best presented Sports/Coupé: Ian Littlewood, 1996 3000GT
  • Best presented Hatchback: Simon Cave, 1978 Celeste
  • Best presented 4×4: Alister Scott, 1990 Shogun Mk1
  • Oldest Vehicle: Paul Braham, 1978 Sapporo GSR
  • Best Overall: Mike Birkett, 1978 Sigma
  • Spirit Award: Stephen Blackburn, 1978 Sapporo