In July, Mitsubishi announced that operations would cease at the Diamond-Star Motors plant in Normal, effectively bringing a 30-year legacy to a close. However, the Mitsubishi brand is inextricably linked to the state of Illinois, and nowhere is this clearer than in the story of the first Mitsubishi built at DSM.
According to a story from Pantagraph, the first Mitsubishi built at DSM was a 1990 Eclipse that was awarded to former Governor James R. Thompson. While Thompson passed his first driving test in a decade in the Eclipse, it largely served as the primary source of transportation for his security team. Reason being? Thompson was a tall man, and he had a difficult time fitting in the car.
The 1990 Eclipse remained in the garage of the Executive Mansion in Springfield, where it remained in the care of Governor Jim Edgar. Edgar’s children more commonly drove the vehicle, and in 1997, it was revealed that it had only been driven 6,400 miles. According to a 2007 update, the odometer read 26,400 miles.
The 1990 Eclipse was donated to the Illinois State Police Heritage Museum and remained there until 2013, at which point it was put up for auction. It was sold in September of that same year, having been listed on Mautofied.com for the asking price of $8,475.
Pantagraph believes that the buyer was a man in Minnesota, but little else is known about the current whereabouts of that 1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse. Regardless, it is a vital and important piece of Mitsubishi and Illinois history, and were it not for that first Mitsubishi built at DSM, there may never have been a Schaumburg Mitsubishi.