The Official Photos of the Final Mitsubishi Eclipse Are Just as Sad as the Car Itself
You could’ve tried just a little bit.
Though it still had the Lancer Evolution as the shining star of its lineup, Mitsubishi by 2011 was in obvious decline. It would've struggled to keep pace with Honda, Nissan, and Toyota even in a healthy economy, but in the wake of a global recession, it didn't have a snowball's chance. So with sales of its Eclipse sports coupe waning, Mitsubishi pulled the plug on the model just short of a million cars built, commemorating the end with a one-off model... And leaving the photography to someone who really couldn't have cared less about it.
Recently resurfacing on Twitter thanks to Roadshow's Steven Ewing after more than nine years, photos of the last Eclipse ever built—one combining the Eclipse GT's 3.8-liter, 265-horsepower V6 with the upscale end-of-production SE package—show it unceremoniously wheeled down to the pond by the Illinois factory that built it (where Rivian lives today). Rather than hire a pro to honor the car that once did Mitsubishi proud, photos were left to someone who probably has to be reminded not to film in portrait mode.
Framing was at most given a passing thought, and background, not even that; a concrete culvert is visible beyond the car in a side-profile shot, and opposite it, the grain elevators a mile north of the factory.
Whether the apathetic photographer worked for Mitsubishi has seemingly been lost to time. The Drive reached out to Mitsubishi for comment and a company media rep couldn't confirm exactly who took the photos, saying they were "well before any of our team's time." The photos' original source suggests, though, that the guilty party may have been the auction house that sold the car. In September 2011, Mecum oversaw the car's sale for the benefit of the Japanese Red Cross, then burdened by the recent Tōhoku earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent Fukushima nuclear disaster.
But for that good cause, Mecum and Mitsubishi raised $35,000, which still pales in comparison to the $2.7 million collected for the final front-engined Chevrolet Corvette. It's hard to say which is the saddest part of this story—that the last Eclipse sold for so little, that it got such a half-assed photoshoot, or that someone actually paid that much for a fourth-gen Eclipse. Its looks may have aged like wine, but its driving characteristics? More like a Thanksgiving turkey forgotten on the counter.
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