1 Oct 1977
The early Galants may have gained a reputation for economy and durability, but as it morphed into the GE Sigma of late 1977, nobody could have foreseen just how much of an impact the third-generation redesign made.
Chrysler badged the base GE model as the ‘Sigma Galant’ as to not alienate the considerable fan base the model had garnered.
Thanks to the power-sapping ADR27A anti-pollution equipment, the 1597cc Saturn 1.6’s power output plummeted to 56kW and 117Nm – so it’s little wonder few buyers chose the Sigma Galant 1.6 sedan.
There was a 1855cc 1.8-litre OHC model with 56kW and 145Nm, but the majority of buyers went for the mighty Astron 2000 – the first four-cylinder engine with counter-rotating balancing shafts for significant reduction in noise and vibration.
The Astron 2000’s 64kW/145Nm 2.0-litre OHC was available on all Sigma models – Galant, GL, and luxury SE – the latter adding velour inserts, sports instrumentation and other niceties to its lavish equipment list (for its day).
As the second oil crisis forced petrol prices skywards and big car sales down, GE Sigma sales became a phenomenon.
A wagon was added in late ’78, while 73kW/188Nm 2.6-litre Astron four-cylinder engine – that was to last until the 1996 TE Magna – arrived about a year later.
Significantly Sigma sales easily outstripped the moribund CL/CM Valiant Regal range. A cash-strapped Chrysler Corporation sold the Australian operations to Mitsubishi, so Mitsubishi Motors of Australia was formed from October 1980.