cohort Pic(k) of the Day: 1991 Dodge Colt Vista – A Vista Of The Past

shot in Punta Arenas, Chile by Rivera Notario

These used to be so common, at least in California. These were part of a major revolution of family cars; the boomers were now having kids, and they did not want the traditional station wagons their parents drove them in. They wanted something different, and more economical, please given the high gas prices of the early 80s.

The Dodge Colt Vista wagon appeared here in 1984, the same year as the Chrysler minivan twins. Those were sold out from day one, so the Vista was a good alternative. I remember looking at both at our local Dodge dealer that year. We ended up with a Cherokee, the other hot item that year, but I could have seen one of these in our apartment building garage.

The endless debate about what to call these is a bit silly. It’s an extended length, high roof wagon; but if you want to call it a minivan with conventional rear doors, help yourself.

The Vista was actually one inch longer than the Caravan, and put that to good use in its interior accommodations. The very big difference was that all of its rear seats folded down, in various configurations, making the space very flexible to adapt to many different needs.

The Caravan’s seats didn’t fold, and had to be removed for carrying large loads. Anyone who’s ever lifted those bench seats in and out of an early Caravan undoubtedly has vivid memories of that, and perhaps some old chiropractor bills to prove it. A royal pain; as I know all too well. Of course, once the Caravan’s seats were out, its load capacity was larger than the Vista’s.

Back in 1994, I rode in one of those rear-most Vista seats from Eugene to Vancouver and back, at least for part of the way. Given that I was 6’4″, I was rather surprised that it wasn’t all that bad. I’m quite sure the leg room was better than in an eight-passenger swb Caravan, whose seats were very close together.

They’re all gone now, but it’s nice to know that they’re still hard at work in other parts of the world.

Our full CC on the Vista wagon is here