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Mitsubishi Motors' SST Previews Sports Car Design for the Next Millennium

5 January 1998

Mitsubishi Motors' SST Previews Sports Car Design for the Next Millennium

   Southern California Designed Concept Has `Geo-Mechanical' Styling Theme

    DETROIT, Jan. 5 -- Mitsubishi Motors' SST concept car, making
its international debut at the North American International Auto Show,
previews advanced sports car styling for the next millennium.
    Designed and built at the Mitsubishi Motors Research and Design of America
(MRDA) studio in Cypress, Calif., the SST -- which stands for sophisticated,
sports touring -- embodies a "geo-mechanical" theme that is expected to appear
in future production vehicles from Mitsubishi Motors.
    "The SST's geo-mechanical styling is inspired by common shapes and forms
that represent strength, power and motion," said Dan Sims, chief designer at
MRDA and lead stylist for the sports car concept.  "We incorporated elements
from classic architecture, sleek high-speed trains, even the flexed human
bicep to create a strong, solid styling statement for the SST that can be best
described as `metal in motion.'"

    Purposeful and Deliberate Exterior Design
    Indeed, every design aspect of the SST has a purpose.  Its ribbed sides
add structural integrity while housing the side guard door beams.  A series of
grilles provides cooling for the engine and brakes and creates a consistent
design element.  The tail lamps, rear turn signals and reverse indicators are
made from neon and florescent lights to have higher intensity, despite their
small size, than conventional units.  And, to further carry out the functional
theme, even the single exhaust outlet has become a significant and purposeful
design element.
    As part of geo-mechanical design philosophy, the SST is constructed of
materials -- including composites and carbon fiber -- which are in their
rawest, purest form.  In fact, even the SST's iridescent exterior color mimics
the cadmium green of tooled metal.
    Perhaps, however, the most dramatic design element of the SST's exterior
is its exaggerated wheel arches.  Covering massive 20-inch aluminum wheels and
Z-rated tires, the spherically-shaped quarter panels were designed by Sims to
"appear as if the wheels were ball bearings being thrust through the surface."

    Simple, Uncluttered Interior
    The SST's interior is as unassuming as the exterior is extroverted.  One
of the simplest and uncluttered designs of any concept car in recent memory,
the SST's interior incorporates only what is necessary for a spirited driving
    The large, electroluminescent gauges, which surround a large tachometer,
take center stage in front of the driver.  Yet, the focal point of the SST
interior design was inspired by the ergonomic simplicity of a computer mouse.
    "Working late one night on my new computer, I realized its functions were
entirely controlled by simply pushing-and-clicking the mouse, while my eyes
remained on the monitor," said Sims.  "I began to think about how this same
idea could be used in the SST concept car so that its driver could focus on
the road while still being able to easily activate the vehicle's entertainment
and comfort functions."
    Bringing this concept to reality, conventional switches for the SST's
automatic climate control and 350-watt audio system have been incorporated
into a single, computer controlled interactive device.  A large color monitor
in the center console displays "virtual knobs" that are activated by an
articulating disc-shaped control on the floor console.  The interactive device
also includes communication, satellite navigation and entertainment functions.
    And, to continue the geo-mechanical theme of its exterior, the SST's
interior color was selected to be similar to that of titanium, with carbon
fiber, billet aluminum and cream-colored leather accents.  The seats are
specially contoured for spirited driving as well as long-term comfort, and,
distancing itself from conventional sports cars, there's plenty of storage

    Not Just for Show
    Unlike many other concept vehicles, the Mitsubishi SST is a fully
driveable car.  Powered by a turbocharged, 210-horsepower 4-cylinder, the SST
is designed to accept the full range of Mitsubishi Motors' engines, including
the 3.5-liter V6 that powers the flagship Diamante luxury performance sedan
and top-of-the-line Montero luxury sport utility vehicle.  The SST's four-
speed automatic transmission can be operated conventionally, or through its
sports mode and a flick of its billet aluminum shifter, as a manual.
    A sophisticated, multi-link four-wheel independent suspension helps carry
out the spirited performance that the exterior and high-performance powerplant
promises.  And, when its time for the fun to end, the SST's enormous racing
brakes with multi-piston calipers provide exceptional stopping power.
    The Cypress, Calif.-based Mitsubishi Motors R&D Design Studio is one of
three design studios worldwide contributing to the interior and exterior
designs of cars and light trucks built by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.
Among its many projects, the Cypress studio was responsible for the designs of
the current-generation Eclipse sports coupe and convertible, updates for the
3000GT grand touring sports car, as well as the interior of the upcoming 1999
    Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, Inc. was established in 1982 by
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Tokyo, and markets a full line of vehicles,
including coupes, convertibles, sedans and sport utility vehicles.

SOURCE  Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, Inc.