When we think of '80 cult classic cars, especially in the small car scene a couple of models come to mind... Nissan Pulsar ET Turbo, Nissan EXA Turbo, SA22 Gen1 Mazda RX7, Mazda 323 GTX, AE86 Corolla, Mitubishi Starion and of course, the Mitsubishi Cordia GSR.
At the time most of these models offered great performance and fun driving at very reasonable prices and as a result were a fairly common sight on our roads throughout the '90s. Light weight, turbocharged, great handling (at the time) and sleek sharp looks, the Cordia was a favorite amongst young performance enthusiasts; drawn to its 'bang-for your buck' appeal.
It was even used by the Australian Police Force for a period as a pursuit car...Although we don't think it never really lived up to the job. All in all though we feel most enthusiasts would agree, us included that the Cordia Turbo certainly earned its cult car status.
The particularly clean and unmolested example pictured above belongs to local enthusiast Ben Iezza. We spotted Ben cruising around Shellharbour in the car earlier in the year and then met up with him a few weeks later at one of the IMCC Monthly Meets.
Drawn by the fact that seeing a Cordia these days is quite rare, let alone one as clean as Ben's we just had to get a closer look and when we did, it was quite a shock. and has quite the story behind it
Purchased new off the showroom floor from Pembers Mitsubishi in Wonoona back in 1987 by Ben's Grandfather it spent it's life putting around the streets taking occasional trips to the shops and ti run errons, racking up just 35,000 kms in eight years.
Due to the unfortunate passing of Ben's grandfather in 1995 the car sat idle in the garage for the next seven years doing nothing more than gathering dust before space became an issue and Ben's father sold the car on in 2002.
Although just eight years old at the time, Ben had grown quite fond of the car and was not real happy to see the car go.
For the next seven years Ben went about his life but was forever wondering what happened to his grandfathers car and in 2009 he made the decision, much to his friends and families humor to try and track the car down and buy it back.
After searching and asking around for several months Ben was admitantly disheartened and started to think that maybe his friends were right about it being a lost cause. That was until a random search through the Gumtree online classifieds one night gave him his first tip-off and re-lit the fires so to speak.
Ben was quick to contact the seller and organise to look at the car then next day and after a quick flick through the log book it was confirmed; it was indeed his late grandfather's car.
Thankfully for Ben the car had been well maintained by the previous owner and apart from a set of aftermarket wheels, lowered suspension and an exhaust, nothing much had changed. Ben had plans for the car though; not to further modify or upgrade, but to restore the car back to its prime, back to original just like when his Grandfather owned it.
Even though the car had been garaged for most of its life, the almost 30 year old paint work was looking a bit dull so Ben had the guys at Notts put down a few fresh coats of the factory white over the cars exterior.
From there a few weekends worth of elbow grease was then put into cleaning up the interior and exterior trim work to get her looking good as new. And when we say good as new, we mean it. Just have a look for yourself!
Ben even restored and polished up the original wheels and got them looking better than ever, getting the guys at Retro Tyres to add a single red wall to top them off nicely.
The only issue the car gave him was the gearbox getting a little noisy but that was soon sorted by his good mate Giuseppe Rockazella who rebuilt the factory 5-speed cog swapper.
Under the hood still resides the original 1.8L 4G62T engine, completely stock apart from a K&N air filter to let the old girl breath a bit easier. Ben's only regret with the car is that he didn't spray the engine bay when he did the outside but plans to do so are in place once the engine starts to get a bit tired.
Since getting the car back on the road Ben has been enjoying cruising around and he is often amazed at how much attention the car gets.
Although he loves the original look of the car, when Ben gets bored he sometimes switches between the original alloys with a set of aftermarket mags to mix things up.
Although we much prefer the OG look we must admit that the 17s don't look at all bad on the car, the black and red theme carried on making them look kinda cool.
Thankfully the shiny cannon muffler is the next thing on the list to go, Ben planning on swapping it for something a little more suiting.
Well there you have it, proof that with a bit of determination and good luck you can indeed achieve what others may say is impossible and when it comes to Ben's case, we're sure glad he got his hands back on the car and is determined to preserve this 80's classic for years to come. God knows we'd sure like to go back in time and save a few cars from our past, wouldn't you...??
Want to see more of this awesome 80s machine? Check out the fully image gallery HERE