Cool Custom – 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder

19998 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Custom. Photo by Eric Neyens

The thing I love most about modern car culture is that it exists in some form or another virtually everywhere – and examples are often found much closer to home than one might think. A great example of this revelation came to me as I was out walking with my wife last spring and we saw this fully tricked-out 1998 Mitsubishi Spyder convertible with neighbors out for a joyride with their fun new purchase.  

1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Custom. Photo by Eric Neyens

Unlike so many other customized Japanese import cars prowling North American streets since the 1990s, this Mitsubishi is a fun and uncommon sight today. Produced for 1990 through 2012 model years across four distinct generations, the Eclipse remains one of the best all-around Japanese performance/GT cars imported to North America. While certainly not uncommon when new, this Second Generation Eclipse Spyder from 1998 is a relatively rare sight today.

The open-air Eclipse Spyder Convertible debuted for North America in 1996. This ad was printed in the May 1996 edition of Motor Trend.

Thanks to the engineers at Mitsubishi and that company’s reputation for quality, this eye-grabbing Eclipse Spyder was an excellent basic car for upgrading in the tuner vein. Beginning with its sleek, low-drag body and strong chassis, featuring reinforcements to the floor, windshield frame, rear bulkhead, and side structures – right from the factory, the Eclipse Spyder possesses all the right stuff at its core for customizing. A builder from Eden, near Tillsonburg in rural southern Ontario, built this Eclipse Spyder into a show contender and it packs many upgrades for a fun and enjoyable custom ride that is a veritable party on four wheels.

Underneath its custom Pearl White paint job and purple accents, this Eclipse Spyder rides on a full air suspension allowing the car to drop down into the weeds or raise for road use. The Spyder’s 141-horsepower, naturally aspirated 2.4-liter 4-cylinder powerplant is lightly upgraded with a cold-air intake and tuned exhaust header for additional, yet manageable, power with a nice throaty note from the aftermarket muffler and large-diameter exhaust outlet at the rear. The factory 5-speed manual transmission delivers the power to the road.

Accented engine compartment featuring cold air intake and tuned header. Micro-LED lights are found underneath the hood. Eric Neyens photo.

The interior compartment carries a dual-purpose character with competition-style Enzo bucket seats, Tanaka harnesses, and an aftermarket steering wheel. The rear seats and factory convertible top were removed and replaced with a full custom-built enclosure for the block-rocking stereo system’s exposed amplifiers, speakers, and twin video screens. Twin video monitors are housed inside the trunk lid as well, and custom trunk upholstery surrounds the polished air tank for the suspension. A console-mounted Kenwood touchscreen includes  HDMI,   CD/DVD, and other features and functions.

Other cool touches include the gorgeous, white-finished custom modular wheels by Work Wheels USA, flexible lower body-color skirts, a custom nose and aluminum intake grille, and the neatly integrated factory rear spoiler. Tiny LED lights underneath the hood and trunk, and a hand-painted “Spider” graphic element to the left-rear fender add further visual appeal.

Aftermarket headlights, fog/driving lamps, an aluminum lower grille, and lower aero skirt enhance looks. Eric Neyens photos.

While the Spyder’s show career is behind it, it remains a highly attractive driver that grabs admirers wherever it goes and it will respond quite readily to selective detailing by a new and enthusiastic owner. The paint finish remains quite nice, notwithstanding a few paint cracks noted to several stress areas and to the flexible lower-body skirts. Both are easily rectifiable and do not mar the Spyder’s overall looks. The interior is presentable, albeit in driver quality. Carpet cleaning, a good detailing and a little TLC will certainly improve the interior compartment’s appearance.  The rear stereo enclosure looks very good, as does the trunk, and the stereo needs only some attention to the wiring connections.

Upgraded with the planning and hard work already done, this 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder is ready to continue turning heads on the street with great overall looks and an easy-to-maintain front-drive, 5-speed powertrain with the engine in lightly upgraded tune. It is now available for purchase, giving you the opportunity to bring the party anywhere you choose to drive it. If you’re interested, add a comment below and I’ll answer questions and collect reasonable offers in batches for consideration by the owner. For American prospects, keep in mind that the Canadian dollar is currently 27% lower than the U.S. dollar, providing a great opportunity to effectively cancel out the cross-border shipping cost. If you missed out on a cool tuner car of your own when the trend was gathering steam in the 1990s and 2000s, this 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder marks a very cool and fun find!

Text – Dave Neyens

Photos – Eric Neyens, Eric Neyens Media