The Sigma, velour and a dog with diarrhoea

Ah, yes, the good old Sigma.

We had one of these cars, a five-speed manual with a big 2.6-litre Astron four cylinder engine.

Chrysler claimed 73kW of power and 188Nm of torque, making it the most powerful four-cylinder engine sold in Australia at the time.

Our car was kind of a poo brown colour with matching brown velour upholstery.

The Sigma was an excellent car for its time, but the velour didn’t cope well when the dog had diarrhoea in the back seat, or when our toddler projectile vomited on kilometre 59 of a 60km winding road.

Moist towelettes just aren’t equipped to deal with that level of yuk. Neither were we in hindsight.

We were forced to drive around with all four windows wound down for the next few days.

The Sigma Turbo was the first production car fitted with a turbocharger in Australia.

The Chrysler Sigma was built by Chrysler Australia in Adelaide from 1977.

In March, 1978, a Japanese-made, two-door coupé version called the “Sigma Scorpion” was released based on the Mitsubishi Galant Lambda.

When Mitsubishi Motors Australia (MMAL) took over Chrysler’s manufacturing facilities in 1980, it became the Mitsubishi Sigma.

Can’t remember which version we had, but it was a top of the line SE.

The range was progressively discontinued and replaced by the Mitsubishi Magna, starting with the sedan in 1985 and the wagon in 1987.

A limited run of 1016 “Peter Wherrett” editions were built, based on the GLX and named after Australian motoring journo Peter Wherrett.

Wherrett was given the task of improving the handling of the car after complaining about it.

Improvements included 15-inch Globe “Montego” alloy wheels fitted with Pirelli P6 tyres, Recaro seats, Momo steering wheel, Sonic extractors, as well as lowered coil springs and Bilstein shock absorbers.

Even more desirable than the Wherrett special was the strictly limited Turbo version.

In September 1981, in partnership with turbo specialists Normalair-Garrett, Mitsubishi produced a limited run of 500 Sigma Turbos – the first Australian-built turbocharged production car.

The forced-induction 2.0-litre powerplant produced 116kW and 235Nm.


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