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Mitsubishi Eclipse

A 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse SE is shown in this Pantagraph file photo. The last Eclipse coupe produced by the Mitsubishi Motors North America in Normal sold for $35,000 at an auction Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, in St. Charles. (Pantagraph staff)

ST. CHARLES — The last Eclipse coupe to be produced by the Mitsubishi Motors North America plant in Normal raised $35,000 for Japan Red Cross earthquake relief efforts on Saturday. The special-order, Kalapana Black Eclipse SE is the only 2012 Eclipse built with a V-6 engine, and was sold at a large auction in St. Charles.

“I was happy when it went higher than retail, so there was a little premium there,” said MMNA spokesman Dan Irvin. The retail price for a 2012 Eclipse SE model is $25,499, although those have the smaller, V-4 engines.

It was sold as part of a 1,000-vehicle auction being conducted by Mecum Auctions. Presentations Coordinator Christine Giovingo said the Eclipse brought in slightly more than auctioneers expected.

“I originally heard it could go for $25,000 to $30,000. But it’s really anyone’s guess,” said Giovingo. She declined to say who purchased the final Eclipse. Ryan Gremore, general manager and co-owner of O’Brien Mitsubishi in Normal, had expressed interest in bidding, but confirmed he did not purchase the last Eclipse.

The car will be taken back to the MMNA plant in Normal, and then shipped to the Mitsubishi dealer nearest the buyer.

The first Eclipse, a 1990 model, rolled off the assembly line more than 20 years ago, and the local car plant produced a total of 906,876. MMNA produced its last Eclipses, Spyder convertibles and Endeavor SUVs last month. The plant will now re-tool to get ready for production of the Outlander Sport crossover SUV by mid-2012. The plant will continue to produce the Galant for another year.

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