The 1989 Mitsubishi HSR concept car mechanical design kept the skills of the average driver in mind. Perhaps this was the rationale for the less-than-fanciful, though certainly not low-tech, powertrain. The HSR sported a 2.0-liter, double-overhead-cam 4-cylinder engine that transmitted its power to an all-wheel drive system.
A combination of strength and light weight was considered the secret to any future-car's performance. For that reason, the HSR wore a body made of Kevlar and polycarbonate.
Independent suspension at all four wheels was electronically-controlled, able to adjust automatically in response to changing road conditions. Such systems were beginning to appear in one form or another on a number of contemporary luxury and performance automobiles.
Antilock braking was standard, along with a supplementary hydraulic air brake. Nothing too shocking in any of that list -- just a harmonious mix of what already existed.
Dream-car designers of the past didn't always focus much on safety. Or efficiency. Flashy bodies and super-powered V-8s under the hood were enough to set new-car customers to salivating. Not by the late 1980s, however. Future motorists would still crave performance, but automakers were discovering that safety was likely to become a primary selling point.
It was true, the highway system wasn't yet ready for a real-life descendant of the Mitsubishi HSR concept car. But few drivers, for that matter, were likely to be capable of handling speeds beyond 200 miles an hour, regardless of Mitsubishi's claims of aiming toward the motorist of "average" skill.
Nevertheless, the dream of swift, near-silent cross-country travel -- whizzing from Chicago to Los Angeles in a matter of hours rather than days -- had never faded from the minds of automotive designers and futurists.
Meanwhile, the lessons learned on futuristic vehicles like the Mitsubishi HSR concept car were applied to the cars that entered the real-world marketplace each year. Even if none of us live long enough to see a world of bubble-tops blurring across the landscape, we surely will all benefit from the advances today's engineers devise for tomorrow's dream cars.
On the following page you will find 1989 Mitsubishi HSR concept car specifications.