Mitsubishi recently auctioned off the last Eclipse. The car normally sells for $25,499 but Mitsubishi was able to get a little extra selling it at auction for $35,000?  All proceeds will go to the Japan Red Cross earthquake and tsunami relief fund.

Finished in a striking Kalapana Black paint scheme - a color chosen by Mitsubishi?s Facebook fans - the very last Eclipse was an SE Coupe featuring the car?s muscular 265-horsepower 3.8-liter V6.  That makes the final Eclipse the only 2012 model built with the six-cylinder powerplant, which is normally reserved exclusively for the upscale Eclipse GT.  Other features included leather upholstery, 18-inch Dark Argent alloy wheels, Xenon headlights, satellite radio and Bluetooth.

Offered at the Mecum St. Charles automotive auction held annually at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois, the last Eclipse was included among more than 1,000 vintage and collector vehicles from all over the United States.  Top sellers at the auction included a 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback which went for $290,000, and two 1969 Yenko Chevrolets: a Chevelle, which brought $162,000, and a Camaro, which hammered for $177,500.  All told, the auction recorded total sales in excess of $12 million.

?I was happy it went higher than retail, so there was a little premium there,? said Mitsubishi Motors North America spokesman Dan Irvin.  At $35,000, the final Eclipse likely garnered one of the highest prices ever for the model, as today?s Eclipse ranges in base price from $19,000 to more than $32,000 for a top-of-the-line, V6-powered Eclipse Spyder.

With the final Eclipse, Mitsubishi marks the end of a popular model that spanned more than 20 years and four bodystyles.  Originally released in 1990, the Illinois-built Eclipse debuted as a hatchback with a base price below $15,000.  While early models shared components with the Plymouth Laser and Eagle Talon, those versions were eventually discontinued.

Mitsubishi says the Normal, Illinois factory that produced the Eclipse will continue to produce the Galant sedan before being re-tooled early next year to assemble the popular Outlander Sport crossover. 

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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