The employee parking area at the lumberyard has a brand new addition. It makes a nice contrast to the other Japanese car that’s been parking there for a looong time. You think he’s jealous?
I’m not a fan of recent Mazda grilles, and I’m glad to see in some spy shots (or PhotoShops) that they’re going to be toned down a lot in future designs. But in this angle, the Mazda front end screams “Buick Rendezvous” to me. And that’s not a pleasant sight (or is that sound? I’m on a metaphorical slippery slope here).
Does the Colt have a Twin Stick?
My first new car was an 81 Dodge Colt with the twin stick. My first choice was either a Corolla Liftback or a GLC Sport, but I couldn’t quite afford either. The Colt was okay, although the twin stick gimmick wore out fast. I drove it four years and about 60,000 miles. The only problem I had was the thin paint on the leading edge of the rear wheel wells. Road debris started to sandblast the paint with the first month. Big improvement over my 75 Corolla 2 door sedan though.
The Colts were popular college student cars in the late 80s, several of my friends had one. The twin stick was amusing, we used to joke about selecting “Power-Reverse” gear.
The pulled-back headlights, the commonplace TR7-style wedgie beltline, the consequent limited rear visibility, are examples of how the clichéd Mazda is stylistically no improvement on the nice, airy 4th-gen Colt.
And if it weren’t for the front logo, I wouldn’t know who made that CX-5[?] (e.g. the Rendezvous grill mentioned above), whereas the Colt has always been distinctive.
> the nice, airy 4th-gen Colt.
I always though this was a nice, clean design that aged well. The next generation Colt reverted to generic Japanese and was indistinguishable from its Nissan/Toyota/Mazda competitors.
Yes, it’s a CX-5.
There is absolutely no way that the Colt looks better or more distinctive than the CX-5. Yes, some old cars had good designs, but when people moan about how all cars look the same today it simply isn’t true. That Colt looks like a generic 80s-mobile, with not much to distinguish it from other cars. The Mazda has a complete different style from any other car on the road today, with its swooping lines and big grin. If you can’t tell it apart other than the logo, you probably don’t know too much about new cars, because the CX-5 looks like nothing else on the road, except perhaps the CX-9.
Got a shot of a twin stick Mirage yesterday street shot with Mirage 80s Corona and a Hillman Avenger all within 50 meters of each other and you think Eugene has old cars Paul. The new Mazda is an ugly critter maybe it will improve with age.
I’m sure its the perspective of the camera angle, but those two look to be nearly identical in size. Is the CX-5 really that small?
Compare the cars’ rooflines to the top rail of the fence
If I was driving the Colt I don’t think I’d be bothered, it is still in great condition and would provide economical around town transport, no depreciation for starters. I would want another car for longer trips etc however. The CX5 does look like a good thing however, it has decent ground clearance as a starting point which I appreciate as someone who likes to go off the beaten track.
I suppose this is a rather charitable post, Paul, showing as it does one of the last remaining desirable Japanese cars. A more telling picture would be the Colt parked by a current Corolla. Of course, you were lucky to even find a Colt to photograph. Has there been a CC written about that car yet?
That’s a CC I’d like to see. A good friend had the turbo version, which had some real get up and go. Sadly, he’s rubbish at looking after cars and it expired fairly quickly.
I think I could find one somewhere for you. Hang on a bit.
Wow, looking at all these comments, people really dislike the CX5. Too bad, I think it’s actually very Japanese looking (in a good way) and shrewdly engineered. Park it next to a CRV and then complain.
My wife’s first new car was an 83 Colt – hers was a Plymouth, not a Dodge. Also, it was a 4 door with the twin stick. She sold it to her brother in 88 when she bought another car, and after we got married, I bought it from him when he decided to sell it.
I drove it every day for maybe a year until it got wrecked. It was very good basic transportation that was also fun to drive. I used the twin stick as a 5 speed, shifting through 1-4 in low, then into high range with the other lever. At the stoplights, one lever to low, the other to first. A lot of rowing, but made for good shifting ratios.
Twin stick? What the heck was that, overdrive?
It worked like a 4 speed transmission mated to a 2 speed axle. The “Power/Economy” stick was a high range and a low range, so in theory you had an 8 speed transmission, though I would guess that some of those 8 combinations were either identical or so close that you would never notice the difference.
In Power range, it was quick off the line, but the engine would be revving pretty high by 50 mph. In Econ range, it was a bit doggy at low speeds.
I’d assume most people either used “Power” around town and “Economy” further out in the ‘burbs, or treated 4th+Economy like it was 5th gear.
After trying split-shifting it *once* that is.
When Mitsubishi NZ dropped the split shift for a 5-speed, it revealed it was actually still the split shift box with the 5 gears being a combination of the old low/high ratios and operated by electric solenoid. Can’t remember if 1st-4th were low or high ratio, but 5th was indeed the old 4th-economy.
Sounds like a bike with front and rear derailleurs.
You are exactly right ,jp.
When I drove mine, it was Power -1,2,3,4, then Economy 4. It was very doggy in Eco-1. Just for the fun of it, I tried driving it Power-1, Eco-1; Power-2, Eco-2, etc. It was an exercise in futility.
A co-worker of mine had bought a base Dodge Colt new in 1981-82? that was a non-twin stick car.
1.4 engine , and am radio is all it had IIRC.
Truth be told it ended up being a good reliable car for him,at least by 80’s standards.
I too miss the big greenhouse / low beltline look. That old Colt is a very good looking car. Way better rear visibility than the CX-5.
Are today’s thick pillars due to rollover standards? Is there some safety or functional reason not to go back to bigger windows?
As a 3 owner I made a point of checking out the CX5 at the Boston Auto Show. It’s quite handsome in person, but I was disappointed at the interior volume. The back seat was barely bigger than in my car and far more cramped than the wife’s Fusion.
Actually, many of the new designs I saw have lousy back seats. The new Lincoln MKwtf sedan is a big car, but the sloping roof tapers right into my forehead.
My first new car was also a Dodge Colt. Nowhere near as fancy as the one in the photo…silver paint and no racing stripe! It also had the twin-stick. It was also the first car I ever owned that had a manual tranny. Wore out the first clutch in 30,000 miles! Mechanics had a devil of a time rebuilding the clutch on that thing. Nobody had seen a twin-stick before. Overall it was a good car, however it had a carburetor problem that took three months to fix. Managed 41 mpg on a trip from LA to Vegas.
I had the twin to the Colt, a ’79 Plymouth Champ. It had the 1.4 w/Twin Stick and was a blast to drive. IMO, it had the smoothest styling of the econ cars of that era and was extremely durable. I’m shocked to see how good the car in your picture looks—thought they had all bit the dust.
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