It makes me a bit sad to not see this generation of Colts around anymore, as it was a car that always elicited a positive response from. That was on account of its perky styling as well as its innate goodness, both qualities it had in abundance. I will admit that the shorter two door hatch was cuter; this four door that arrived a few years (in 1982) after the two door did, and sat on a longer wheelbase and had a bigger C pillar, which made it look more like a generic Golf-mobil.
Stanislav Alexeyev shot and posted this one huddling to stay out of the snow on a Russian winter’s day.
There were several of the two doors in town back in the early days of CC, with this fine example being the last one that I used to see, a daily driver of one of the employees of this lumber yard. We wrote up this generation here, as part of our complete CC Colt Chronicles. These were sold in the US as Dodge Colts, Plymouth Champs and Colts, and as the Mitsubishi Mirage in Japan and certain export markets, as well as the Mitsubishi Colt.
In addition to the crisp styling, with a bit of Pacer influence, their 4+2 Twin Stick transmission was another defining characteristic, a way to get an overdrive top gear without creating a proper 5 speed transmission.
Mine was an 83 4 door with Plymouth badging. Looking back, it was one of my favorite around-town runabouts ever. The twin stick was a ball. If only the guy in the black Ford Tempo had not pulled out right in front of me one day.
It’s even left hand drive which probably means it’s ex-Western Europe. Makes me wonder if it made its’ way east in stages.
Jeez, here comes a wave of nostalgia. We had one just like this in the family fleet in the late 80’s until my brother slowly beat it to death. Ours was navy blue with a leaky pop-up sunroof. Just a cute perky little car that begged to be flogged through rural mountain roads. The twin-stick was a fun novelty, but it also made the car unstoppable in the snow if one knew how to finesse it for maximum traction. It was somehow just *that* much more effective for keeping grip up our steep winding driveway to head into the hill in 2nd gear and “power” range, then quick-shift into “economy” band just as the wheels started to lose traction. At that time the cars we kids were allowed use of were a ’74 Midget, the ’82 Colt or an ’85 Conquest. It was somewhat ironic that my younger brother and I often fought over the Colt since the other cars were “cooler”, but it was a great little car, and if the weather was bad and you didn’t want to walk that last few hundred yards up the hill it was the best choice by a long shot.
Berlin still has one !
This was a good car.
It was a very attractive design and a fun little bubble car. A Swiss Army knife on wheels. Mitsubishi made handsome mini haulers during this era, some with sliding van doors and excellent visibility and seating. Had the market responded well, I could today easily see a practical SUV Mitsubishi evolve out of these designs.
You sat high and you could park anywhere.
Always liked these, and I too remember when these were commonplace sights on the roads. All the Mirage based Colt/Summits seemed to be here in MN, except the final 1993-1996 cars. North America never received it, but this generation was also available in a relatively crisp looking 3-box sedan body style as well starting in 1982. Motorweek really did like these, as well as the subsequent generation, and there are several retro reviews of them online over at YouTube for those so inclined to get a period perspective.
And as we speak, there is an ‘84 Plymouth Colt GTS Turbo in excellent shape over at BaT with a couple days left to go. A dead ringer for the Motorweek test car below:
Nice find, and still remarkable that Chrysler had to (chose to) import these and badge them as their own instead of figuring out a way to compete. One generation might be understandable but there were what, four generations of rebadged Dodge Colt? Jeez. Talk about handing the market away for the long term.
Love that little Suzuki Hustler in the background too, a great pairing of that little thing (two feet shorter than the Colt if I’m not mistaken), next to the Land Cruiser.
Around Central Jersey, Mitsubishi vehicles (old and new) are hard to find. I think it will eventually close its car business world wide. It has been producing some reliable and affordable vehicles, but increasingly it could not compete with Korean in overseas market, lose the China market and struggling to transform into EV. On paper, its parent company, Mitsubishi Electric, can play an important role in EV, but it also lacks behind against Chinese EV producers, which noy only produce vehicles but also in EV related items like battery, motor, inverter, power semiconductor, software and autonomous driving.
mom had one, with the twin stick 4spd, not a bad little car but no match for my civic 🙂 I did see one for sale not too long ago here in the states on one of the sites n there was even one local for sale not too long ago too. so know there r at least 2 still running here in the states.
Somewhere in the late ’80s I bought a used ’81 yellow Champ from a neighbor – 900 bucks if I remember correctly. It was for my wife to go get the groceries, & spend my money at the mall. But, after playing around with the twin stick thingy, I began to find excuses to take to work. It was perky, and cruised just fine at 70 even with the A/C cranked. My daughter got her driving practice in this car, & passed her MD license test with it in ’89. I vaguely remember something went goofy with the gearbox, & sport mode got locked out. After 3 years of fun driving I sold it to a work collegue for 500 bucks.T’was a nice automotive experience.
Am I allowed to state here that there is one for sale on bringatrailer.com?
It’s a twin-stick and TURBO, 100hp.
Must have some serious torque steer, the half-shafts are visibly different lengths.
Plus the car had 13″ wheels. I don’t remember a turbo version of the “Champ”.
I do remember there was a Colt/Mirage Turbo in 85/86. Next gen–a noticeably bigger car, about the size of a Mk2 Golf (these seem to be bigger than an 1980 Civic, but smaller than a similar vintage Rabbit)
I lusted after one of those Turbos back in the day. I’d rather have had one than a same-year GTI, having experienced both a non-turbo Colt and the Conquest we had at the same time (obviously vastly different, but same manufacturer and also my first turbo driving experience). The reviewers seemed to like them too, and they looked so cool in that black/white red combo they all came in. Just so 80’s-tastic. I’d still love to have one.
Memorable ad for the Colt from Australia —
Oh dear. A bit cringey, even then. (For non-Aussies, the opening and closing words in the ad are from a very popular bit of doggerel verse called The Man From Snowy River by a ’20’s poet Banjo Patterson, which is about snow-country cattlemen on horses). I mean, who in their right mind was influenced to buy one by this effort? Horsey types, maybe? Poets?
Perhaps it was coded for early drifters, as you can see lots of lift-off oversteer in this ad, which actually was criticized a bit in tests on wet roads.
I remember a period road-test of a Colt Turbo in Motor Trend and the one thing that still sticks with me was the sticker in the back window that stated
Don’t step on the gas unless you really mean it!
In the mid eighties, dad had an 81 Champ as his daily driver. It was red with a black vinyl interior. No twin stick, just a 4-speed on a really long stick that came up from the floor.
A really fun little car, but after a few years, it ended up with a serious engine issue that cost more than the value of the car. So he dumped it.
Theres the odd one or two coming to light in NZ and occasionally I see one in traffic they do have a fan base here.