New to me interesting GTO import, good value or financial mistake?

Hello all, I am new to the forum and world of GTO’s/3000Gt’s. :partying_face:

Questions are at the bottom if they wouldn’t mind being answered by someone who is more knowledgeable.

I have owned and worked on quite a few Japanese cars in my time, but none as old or complex as the 3000GT. Closest to that is my 1999 MR2. I am 22 years old.

For a long time I have been on the hunt for a 3000gt or GTO that would be a good base to restore from over a long period of time. (as money restricts from being able to buy a nice one outright). I am not allowed to keep project cars on the driveway - so I keep them 15 minutes from home essentially becoming a mobile mechanic. :laughing:

Excitingly, at the beginning of March 24’ I spotted an auction on eBay for a red GTO with very little information. It was a N/A GTO with number-plate “L7 GTO”. The guy claimed that the car had simply stopped running and he had no time to fix it.

I viewed the car alone - and it had been abandoned outside of an industrial estate. The paint is faded badly in areas. He had left it unlocked and the interior had been used and was muddy, but complete without tears or wear to the cloth seats. Having my fair share of rusty vehicles - I was shocked to see that there was no rust. One of the side skirts was hanging off. The engine bay looked like it hadn’t been molested.

Admittedly acting on impulse, I made an offer to end to auction which was accepted at £1700. The car was then delivered - and I am now working through whether it was a financial mistake or not. :smile:

Some details about the car:

  • Checking MOT history showed 98k miles (wrong), and only two recorded MOT’s in 2023 and 2021. I also got a quote for the plate from a third party who will offer £800 for it.

  • Correcting for km on dash means that the mileage is actually around 59k miles!

  • It has cloth interior. Had AWD differential. Has 4wd steering light on the dash (does that mean it may have AWS?). I believe this set up means it must be an import.

  • From what I know, this car was imported into the UK in 2001, which is also around the time the plate was assigned. It has had 3 owners between 2001 and 2003. Then another in 2021, which was the person I bought it from. He hadn’t shared his intentions for buying the car - and no longer replies to my messages after the sale was complete.

  • It has a switch on the dash which is non standard which I haven’t yet worked out what it’s for. It has an LED so I believe it would show if it was active.

  • It still had fitted a mount for a Nokia brick phone from early 2000’s in center console and about 4 microphones fitted in the car in various places. It also has a handheld phone wired in which comes out near the back seats. There is a third party antenna attached to one of the rear windows. This all makes me think that the car has been relatively untouched for 20 years.

Obviously, first thing I did after getting it was try to get it started. There was an obvious attempt to check the MFI relay before me as that was on the floor still plugged in. So, before trying to turn the key I went from fuse to relay to try and spot anything out of the ordinary taking things out and plugging back in with my limited knowledge.

There was an amplifier in the back - so that explained the odd wire to the battery (I thought). The previous owner had mentioned fuel pump - so I was on the hunt for anything related to that.

Out of sheer luck, I turned the key and the car turned over a couple of times and sprung to life. I let it run for about 10 seconds before I turned it off to check for leaks. I then let it run again to check for knocking, as I was suspicious the car had been sold with bad engine. Nothing obvious and idle was settled.

It wouldn’t be a good story if there wasn’t issues. I returned to the car the next day, only to find that it wouldn’t start again. Checked everything over from the previous day to no avail. So I started to take a look at fuel pump. It was obvious that it had been disturbed recently with a mismatch of screws. The connectors looked in quite bad condition so I gave them a wiggle. Car started after that. However, I have noticed that it misfires when revving.

So - with this information I thought it was enough to say that the car is worth restoring.

  • For servicing I’ve so far bought a cambelt, cambelt tensioner, tensioner pulley, water pump, spark plugs, gaskets for intake and throttle body, locking bits for cam gears. (I didn’t go with the £600 kit, I bought all the parts separate).

  • If the spark plugs fail to sort out the misfire above 3k RPM I will try and hotwire the fuel pump to see if it is instead the connection to that.

  • If that fails I am out of knowledge as to how to fix it.

Did I get a good deal? Or are these symptoms of something majorly wrong with the car?

I got my N/A GTO for £1600 a couple of years ago when I was 21. It had a slipping clutch and broken CV joints, but it ran, so I was sold. I’ve slowly restored it and I still think it was a good purchase.

Where are you based? Have you got any photos?

Based in South East London. :slight_smile:

How is your GTO going?

I’ll share some pictures when i get the chance!

Mine is running okay-ish now but paintwork is awful. Been fighting an idle issue for a couple of years.

Misfire over 3k might be your MAF.

Is the 4WS light on on the dash, or just there? If it’s on, then your power steering is likely low. If it’s just there, then yes, these cars came with 4WS, but many owners delete the rear steering due to leaks.

For the fuel pump, I think due to how old these cars are, it’s best to try and keep them as original as possible, so try fixing the wiring issue first before hotwiring it. There’s lots of threads on the pros and cons of doing the hotwire.

In terms of resources, you should bookmark these:
Genuine Japanese Car Part Imports - Amayama - parts directly from Japan - loads of great guides and info
Mitsubishi 3000GT/GTO & Dodge Stealth Wiki - loads of great guides and info - parts catalogue software for your VIN - great online store for GTO bits - great online store for GTO bits
Manuals - Stealth + 3000GT / GTO - manuals
Tech - Manuals! Service, Technical , Reference | 3SX Performance Home Page - manuals

Thank you for all of this!

Do you know how I can test or clean the MAF?

To find out how old just put the Vin chassis number in search on Megazip and it will give manufacture date and full parts exploded view. Pricey on some things but ok on others and bonus of giving oem part number so suppliers can match to newer manufacturers and other models.