(first posted 2/18/2014) For 1974, the Dodge Colt got a bit of an American-style make-over. Whereas its gen1 predecessor was very clean, reflecting the Italian influence that had been so prominent in mid-late sixties Japanese design, the gen2 Colt was headed in a new direction. Japanese designers were feeling their way into a home-grown design language, but one that now undoubtedly had more American influence than European. The results were sometimes uneven, at best. But the gen2 Colt played it fairly safe, nothing too radical (like some of Nissan’s misadventures), plumping out its sides a bit in an homage to Chrysler’s “fuselage” style, and even sprouting a “semi-halo” style roof treatment.
This GT coupe wasn’t in regular use when I shot it, but the kid who owns it said it soon would be again. It’s sporting a decidedly Detroit-ese “halo” roof, but it appears to be just paint, not actual vinyl, although that was available too. Yes, the early Broughamification of Japanese cars was under way, and the Colts bore the effects, if still fairly unobtrusively.
The GT came standard with the larger 2.0 L “Astron” engine (optional on other models), rated at 96 (net) hp. Not bad, for the mid-seventies. And Mitsubishi’s “Silent-Shaft” balance shaft technology, the first manufacturer to take up this innovative way to tame a four cylinder’s inherent bad vibes since the technology was patented by Frederick Lanchester in 1904, appeared on some of the later cars of this generation Colt/Galant.
The dash has an E or B-Body Mopar vibe too it. A five speed manual also came along during the run of this generation Colt.
Maybe it’s been hanging around this Challenger for too long. For what it’s worth, the Colt does have a hemi; the Challenger does not.
Ironically, the actual successor to this generation Colt, the Gallant Lambda, was sold in the US as a Challenger (above) after the E-body’s demise (CC here). And it too had a hemi (as all Colts did).
Let’s leave this coupe, which will hopefully be gracing our streets again.
Just like the prior generation, the Colt family included a complete range of body styles, unlike the Pinto and Vega.
I’ve seen this four-door sedan around, and finally caught it in this parking lot. If the driver of this Colt had committed a crime in it, the witnesses would do well to describe this car as anything other than an older Japanese sedan, if they even got that close. From a distance, it does mightily resemble a Corona or Datsun 710. The Universal Japanese Car, of the time.
Same dash as the GT coupe, but the steering wheel is plainer and there’s no console. And the owner of the sedan didn’t see fit to add an angled extension to the stick shifter, as the coupe acquired along the way.
My Encyclopedia of Import cars gives the following sales numbers for Colts in the US: 1971: 28,381; 1972: 34,057; 1973: 35,523; 1974: 42,925; 1975: 60,356; 1976: 48,542. A pretty solid seller, although not anywhere near the really big sellers of its class, like the Pinto, Vega and Corolla, which all sold well into the six figures.
We’d have to ask the driver to prove that driving a forty year-old Colt sedan is truly a chick magnet. Or maybe his credibility is in question?
Regardless; in its time, the Colt did what it was originally intended to do: keep Chrysler in the game, until it could develop its own proper sub-compact. That was of course the Omni-Horizon twins, which appeared in 1978. And that of course was bound to impact the Colt’s role in the Chrysler line-up. Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Colt Chronicles.
This was the first generation of Colt that I started to see in any numbers. I specifically remember a white 2 door hardtop with a light blue vinyl roof that a girl in high school started driving around 1977 or so. This was one of the cars that started to turn my perception of Japanese subcompacts in a positive direction.
Hindsight tells us that this may have been the best small car sold out of an American-brand dealership during the entire 1970s. Unfortunately, by this time the number of people willing to shop for a car at a Dodge dealer was starting to dwindle, so I suppose it is amazing that this car did as well as it did.
Those white and blue two doors were a specific trim level called the Carousel:
That’s it. In a sea of 70s earthtones, these really stood out. I still like them. They make me think of ice cream. 🙂
You’re right. The blue and white have stood out in my memory too. The other most common color I recall is a dull middling olive green… not as minty as the car in photo #9–although that might have been the same color I remember, plus 40 years of fading. I recall most of the paint jobs fading quickly on these.
During the mid-1970s, our next-door neighbors bought a brand-new Colt Carousel for their daughter after she had graduated from high school. I walked past it almost every day on my way to the school bus stop. It was a sharp car for the times.
The blue roof was also called ‘Denim Top’.
That’s the car I’m looking for, Bought one new and had so much fun with this car. Great little car !
This real brings back the 70s memories. I loved this car because it was beautiful and it was my first new car. It cost me less than $4000.00, and I love driving it.
That’s “love” driving it, present tense?
Do you still have it?
I agree with JP. This generation Colt went a long way to making Japanese cars a lot more palatable to North American tastes. They were quite popular. I liked the wagons myself. I certainly don’t remember this generation lasting a long time. Most were gone in my area, by the start of the 80s. But I don’t remember seeing them rusted out either.
“This generation Colt went a long way to making Japanese cars a lot more palatable to North American tastes.”
I don’t know that I’d go that far. They sold in medicore numbers, for all the reasons Dave B. oulined below, in particular that they were regarded as neither fish nor flesh (many import buyers wouldn’t shop Dodge dealers; many people who boughts Dodges didn’t consider these real Dodges). To echo the last paragraph of the article, these served a purpose, and served it reasonably well; and the way Chrysler tried to Americanize these cars is interesting. But I just don’t think they sold in large enough numbers to really have a big impact on carbuyer culture. Increased acceptance of Japanese cars in the ’70s was being driven by Toyota, Datsun and (as the decade wore on) Honda.
I may be wrong, but since the Galant got much larger for ’78, it would make more sense to move the Colt nameplate onto the Lancer after this generation.
You weren’t the only one thinking that, since that’s exactly what happened (tomorrow’s Colt chapter). Or am I misunderstanding your comment?
No, we’re on the same page. I was echoing the implications of the final paragraph as well as the statement about the Challenger/E-body replacement.
My gf bought a new one with the 3 speed automatic. What a P I G it was! The shiftless tranny downshifted if u barely breathed on the gas pedal and sapped any power the engine had.
Other than the poorly matched powertrain, it was a most comfortable car; several notches above a pinto or vega.
Ironically, the automatic was a version of the TorqueFlite and built by Chrysler themself.
I guess she never thought to get the kickdown adjusted properly?
This brings back memories. I remember looking at that very ad in a 1974 edition of National Geographic, and really liking the GT version. I also remember walking down to the town magazine stand from my grandmother’s house in the summer of 1974 and buying an issue of Road Test magazine that featured an extensive test of the Colt GT. (The testers loved it.)
These Colts, along with the first Honda Civics, were the first Japanese cars I really noticed and liked.
This Colt was one of the few good looking Japanese cars of the 1970s.
Mitsubishis are usually more attractive than other Japanese cars – even today.
Its odd how they never found success here.
It’s amazing the extent to which these “captive imports” are an asterisk in domestic brand history.
I was surprised by the sales numbers listed, they seem pretty good, so why does hardly anybody recall or care that Dodge as a domestic nameplate actually had the most complete line of sub-compact cars in their showrooms in the mid ’70s? Mopar got no credit for this, and was beaten into the ground as hapless builder of big cars when OPEC II hit.
Several things worked against them:
*To import buyers these were not “real imports.” Stuck with a name like Dodge, the target market didn’t care.
*I don’t know this, but I’ll guess these were about third or fourth tier as far as import reliability scores went.
*They weren’t real Dodges as far as domestic buyers were concerned.
*They are decent looking, but quite generic Japanese cars for the time.
*Sales were still short of “critical mass” to give buyers the perception that parts and service would be widely available over a decent period of time.
To put that last point into perspective, here are approximate Dodge sales for ’75
**Dart Series: 206,000
**Coronet / Charger: 93,000
**Sales double or better when you add Plymouth volume.
I have no idea why, but it amazes me that Chrysler never found a timely way to leverage it’s small car relationships into building a domestically sourced (and hopefully halfway decent) line of sub-compacts. The loss of sales, profits, and goodwill is just amazing.
By goodwill I mean that they never got a fan boy base. No one ever stuck a 360 in a Colt and put it on a drag strip. Even the much maligned Vega and Pinto added to the Chevy and Ford fan base to some degree. They also had no goodwill as a purveyor of small cars when the market would swing hard against large cars.
it amazes me that Chrysler never found a timely way to leverage it’s small car relationships into building a domestically sourced (and hopefully halfway decent) line of sub-compacts.
They did just that. They used they European division Simca’s experience in building advanced FWD cars as a basis for their quite good and successful Horizon and Omni, which sold in very significant numbers for many years. And the Omnirizon was a key basis for their ability to engineer the K-car. It’s safe to say that the Omnirizons saved Chrysler’s bacon.
I’m semi sure that technology made its way to Japan for Mitsus FWD offerings too thanks to Chryslers then world wide empire.
I agree. The key word is “timely.” The Vega and Pinto arrived in ’71. It’s not like Chrysler missed the memo on sub-compacts when at some point (1960’s?) they formed the Simca relationship.
I see what you’re getting at. My understanding is that Chrysler just wasn’t prepared to spend the money at the time to match GM and Ford with a new small car in the late sixties, as they were still recuperating. Lynn Townsend was pretty conservative about where the money was being spent then.
As I said to someone who brought up this same issue to me the other day, the other consideration for Chrysler was that a homegrown domestic compact à la Pinto or Vega would certainly have cut into sales of the Dart and Valiant, which were becoming Chrysler’s ’70s bread and butter. Unless Chrysler had reason to think a smaller car would get them a lot of conquest business, that was a bad trade, since the subcompact would probably have been less profitable than the A-bodies. Chrysler may have figured that the captive imports would yield similar conquest business without cutting significantly into A-body sales and with a much smaller investment.
If that was the logic, I can’t really argue with it.
Another point is that Lynn Townsend’s Chrysler would let others lead into a new style or segment. If there was something there, Chrysler would follow 2 or 3 years later. It is also not hard to imagine that with Chevy and Ford joining VW, Toyota and Datsun in the subcompact market, Townsend considered it a low-profit segment where Chrysler would not get the kind of volume it needed to make money. Townsend was an accountant through and through.
The extent to which a domestic subcompact would cut into sales of a compact is an interesting one. Someone had brought up a similar point awhile back, arguing that the Mopar A-bodies sold so well relative to their GM and Ford competition because they didn’t have to share their showroom floors with a domestic-built compact.
At GM, the presence of the Vega didn’t seem to have a big impact on Nova sales in the early ’70s. I suppose the Nova may have sold even better had the Vega not existed, but by all appearances, both benefitted from the rising tide of small car sales in that era, and for as long as Vega sales remained strong, I think Chevy wound up selling more cars overall than they would have if they hadn’t introduced the Vega.
At Ford, the 1971-73 Maverick was a medicore seller, and the introduction of the Pinto clearly caused the Maverick to lose sales (much of the market who had bought Mavericks in 1969-70 switched to Pintos in 1971). But the situation is complicated by the fact that Maverick experienced a change in mission in 1971. Its origins as a low-priced import fighter made it somewhat poorly suited for the role of a mainstream compact, and it was also fighting against Ford having neglected that segment during the later years of the Falcon’s run. So I don’t think it’s a simple as saying “The Maverick didn’t sell that well due to competition from the Pinto”. And I’d argue that Ford’s overall sales in the 1971-74 era were probably higher with both models than they would have been with just the Maverick.
Based on that, I’d think that Chrysler didn’t have all that much to fear, and they would have been in a much better position in 1974 had they had a domestic subcompact. But I also see the argument being made above. Chrysler was more dependent on its compacts than GM or Ford, and may have been more wary of cannibalizing their sales; Chrysler was also smaller than GM and Ford, and developing an entirely new subcompact may have been more of a sacrifice, and harder to turn a profit on at lower volume. And of course the decision was being made around 1968, when no one knew what was going to happen to the price of gas in 1973.
That first paragrpah should say:
The extent to which a domestic subcompact would cut into sales of a compact is an interesting QUESTION. Someone had brought up a similar point awhile back, arguing that the Mopar A-bodies sold so well relative to their GM and Ford competition because they didn’t have to share their showroom floors with a domestic-built SUBcompact.
‘ Sales were still short of “critical mass” to give buyers the perception that parts and service would be widely available over a decent period of time.’
This really depends on what part of the US you are talking about. All of the Japanese makes were at or approaching this psychological tipping point on the West Coast.
True. But, Mitsu-Dodge, not so much. “Captive imports” have always struggled – import buyers and domestic buyers both had little interest. Add to that the endless track record that these lines always get abandoned after several years of nominal sales and parts and service can tend to be a pain.
Yeah, and on top of that, the captive imports frequently had to vie with indifference and resentment from the ‘host’ brand’s dealers and dealer service technicians, who weren’t keen on having to learn unfamiliar products and stock separate parts. In that sense, non-captive imports had an advantage because they needed to get their parts, service and warranty business in order (not of course that they always did so); Dodge dealers could always just sell Darts.
Looking at the 1975 sales figures for various Dodge vehicles, I’m impressed with the Colt’s sales. It came very close to matching the big Monaco. (What these figures tell me is how dependent Chrysler was on sales of the relatively low-profit Dart/Duster/Valiant by 1975. This gives a clue as to why the corporation was regularly in financial trouble during that decade.)
As for adding Plymouth volume to consider the total sales of vehicles based on a particular platform – in those days, Dodge and Chrysler-Plymouth were entirely separate dealer networks, and the Colts weren’t sold through the latter.
You also have to remember that there was always the pressure in Dodge dealerships to “upsell” the Colt prospect to a more profitable bigger car. That factor wasn’t present in Toyota and Honda dealerships.
I’m not sure that any sales are impressive when they almost match the ’75 Monaco.
Ford moved 223,000 Pintos / 33,000 Bobcat Clones and 188,000 platform mate Mustangs
Niche sales levels on slim margins are a difficult way to run a car company.
As far as doubling up sales to Plymouth and Dodge, (add Chrysler for mechanicals as well) the parts network was pretty much the same – using mostly the same parts, so from a Mopar perspective, there was a lot of volume. A CP dealer was unlikely to turn away a Monaco brought in for repairs. A CP dealer likely had less interest in a Colt, especially by about 1982.
The volume Mopar dealer in Omaha for many years had his Chrysler store next door to his Dodge store.
When a prospective buyer went to the Chrysler-Plymouth dealer, there was no Colt for sale there. They had to go to the Dodge dealer to get one. That is what mattered to them. This also meant that they weren’t likely to just happen to see a Colt when visiting the Chrysler-Plymouth dealer.
It wasn’t like the Fury versus the Coronet, or the Gran Fury versus the Monaco, where the same vehicle, with different grille and taillights, was being sold by the dealer down the street.
From what I remember, virtually everyone at that time considered the Colt to be an import, even with the Dodge badge. Chrysler Corporation was fooling very few people. Once you got beyond both coasts in those days, there was still some resistance to buying an imported car – particularly a Japanese one.
Viewed in that light, its sales were pretty good – it regularly placed among the top ten imports in sales, if I recall correctly, and that was just with one basic model line.
I’m sure this issue will be aired when the 79 generation Colt article is published, but Plymouth dealers had the front drive 79 series Colt, initially as the Plymouth Champ, then rebadged as the Plymouth Colt a few years later.
Plymouth also had the Celica knockoff Arrow coupe. Dodge and Plymouth had the Challenger/Sapporo coupes and Mitsu pickups (Ram 50/Arrow)
In looking into those ’75 figures, bear in mind that this was the bottoming out point of the recession prompted by the 1973 energy crisis; that Plymouth and Dodge were sliding into irrelevance in the full-size segment (C-bodies); that their intermediates (B-bodies) weren’t far behind; and that age was finally catching up to Chrysler’s entry in the one passenger car segment where the Plymouth and Dodge brands were still fairly competitive (A-bodies). Sales for these lines a few years earlier would have been significantly higher.
To some degree, the full-size Plymouths and Dodges never fully recovered from the debacle of the downsized ’62s. By the early ’70s, there were more problems. The fuselage styling didn’t seem to connect well with carbuyers, and Chrysler was developing a reputation for poor quality. In a weakened state to begin with, the fullsize Plymouths and Dodges were knocked down so hard by the 1973 energy crisis that they never really bounced back.
Chrysler’s 1965-70 intermediates were pretty strong sellers relative to the market, but the 1971-74 generation suffered from the same problems as their fullsize counterparts — styling that didn’t click with the general public, and a growing reputation for quality issues. The energy crisis then cut into intermediate sales across the industry (though not as badly as it did for full-sizes). In ’75 the intermediate Plymouths and Dodges were in better shape than the full-sizes, but that’s not saying much.
“When a prospective buyer went to the Chrysler-Plymouth dealer, there was no Colt for sale there”
C-P dealers finally got a replacement for the Cricket, the Plymouth Arrow, essentially a Colt hatchback, for 1976 MY. “Me and my Arrow” was the ad campaign. I don’t remember if it came out in spring or fall 1975, though.
As I mentioned in the comments of yesterday’s article, Canadian C-P dealers did have this generation, badged as Plymouth Cricket in 1974-75 and then Plymouth Colt. The equivalent to the GT was called “Formula S”, after the old A-body Barracuda.
It seems strange that the situation wasn’t the same in the U.S., but then again it’s seemingly another example of Plymouth being starved for product until its eventual death.
I recall seeing a service manual on-line some time back, and I think that the Plymouth Cricket version was also available in Puerto Rico.
In Canada, I’m sure it would been considered essential by 1973 for C-P dealers to have a small car, given that the Canadian market has always been more heavily slanted towards low-priced/economical cars than the U.S. market. There was also a long-running tradition in Canada of each Big Three dealer network having more-or-less equivalent lineups to sell (in some areas, with Canada’s lower population density, only one of a manufacturer’s networks might be available, so all networks needed to be able to cover the entire low-priced, mid-priced, and light truck markets under one roof). So if Dodge dealers had a subcompact, C-P dealers had to have one, too.
None of this explains why U.S. C-P dealers went two years without a subcompact right smack dab in the middle of the period when you would most want to have one (the first two full model years after the energy crisis). Could there have been capacity issues with Mitsubishi’s ability to supply enough cars to Chrysler to feed two U.S. dealer networks? Did Chrysler want to limit the availability of Colts in hopes that it would prop up sales of the domestically-built A-bodies? Is it possible that the Dodge Division had some kind of exclusivity arrangement for the Colt, and individual divisions in the U.S. still had enough clout within Chrysler’s corporate structure to see that it was enforced?
V8 drop in kits were available for Pintos and Vegas as soon as they were introduced. And, they had a following with drag racers. Was with the geneal economy car buyers, that they had major issues
There were a number of Hemi Colts and Arrow drag cars in the period. The Colts in particular got a reputation for scary-dangerous handling.
Bob Glidden won the NHRA Pro Stock championship twice with an LA (360) powered Arrow.
As somewhat of a dogged Mitsubishi defender, I love this series, Paul!
These were really good cars and actually paved the way for other Japanese offerings of the same era, Corollas here only had the 3k etc Datsun OHC engines came ready to blow headgaskets if rust didnt wipe them out first where Mitsu seemed to have their act together right from the early Colt of 67 or so, This model too gained Valiant badging for Australia though it remaine Japanese for the Kiwi market and they were popular.
We had a coupe one of these sitting way way in the back of a Pontiac dealership that I worked at, it was no longer a car, it had been converted to a scientific mosquito and hornet breeding farm at one point.
My mother bought a 1975 blue-on-blue station wagon, which replaced a bay-window VW bus. After a couple of years it was totalled in an accident. It was so generic that I can remember little about it, and have nothing more to say.
Notice the tell that this is just a glorified facelift of the ’71-73 – the wagon got the new grille and dash but not much else, not even new taillights.
As I said in the first line: For 1974, the Dodge Colt got a bit of an American-style make-over.
Not saying you hadn’t, just that looking at the wagon is a shortcut to identifying such things, for those of us who are windshield-challenged!
See a lot more of these on the road here in oz relative to the previous gen. I’m not so much of a fan, I think the Japanese did a much better job with fuselage on the large Nissan saloons for example.
You know what I especially liked about these? Is how Chrysler paid attention to details like having the steel wheels and trim rings match the look of those used on other domestic Chrysler products, like the Duster. As well as using the same badges as the domestic cars. It really helped give these a family resemblance to other Chrysler products. Smart packaging really helped sell these. Even the striping had a Duster look and feel to it.
I just cant picture those furrin’ jobs sitting on a dealer lot with the last of the great Chargers and Challengers. I guess its because of Chargers and Challengers that they were at the dealer at all.
I never drove a Colt, but my first new car was a 76 Plymouth Arrow – also built by Mitsubishi and sharing the same chassis. It was just a superb little car, 1600 cc, 5 spd, yellow with a black tape stripe……very sharp looking.
In that typical 70s Japanese car way, it just “thrummed” down the highway – and never game me a hint of any problem. The interior was sparse, and not what one would call soft touch, but the materials were sturdy and they were assembled carefully. I remember going to look at the Omni/Horizon twins when they came out and being surprised at how cheap looking and poorly assembled the interior was compared to the Arrow.
I could always surprise my friends by lifting the hood and showing all the Japanese kanji on the various labels ……most college kids in central Ohio hadn’t yet figured out the “captive import” thing………
The Arrow actually was on a different Mitsubishi platform than the Colt/Galant; these were JDM A70 Lancers, specifically the Celeste coupe, sharing some powertrain components with the concurrent Colt, but noticeably smaller in wheelbase and width. To give an idea of size and positioning, in Japan the Arrow (Celeste/Lancer) was a Corolla sized and positioned competitor, whereas the Colt (Galant) was aimed and sized directly at the Corona class. The following US Colt “Mileage Maker” models for 1977 and 1978 briefly reverted to the Lancer platform and body shell as well, and shrunk in size accordingly. Many also don’t know that this Mitsubishi A70 platform, along with several various Mitsubishi JDM powertrains, were licensed to Hyundai Motors to form the basis of their own first “home-grown” car, the Pony, for 1975.
This model of Colt brought back some memories. After my mom and dad got divorced in 1979, my dad met this lady that became his girlfriend in 1980 that got a two door red coupe similar to the one in the ad. It was automatic. I rode a few times in it. I mostly remember that the interior was cramped in the backseat even for my 5 year old self, and that vinyl seats and a hot sun don’t mix. My dad being the lover of big Detroit iron he was at the time, even tried to Broughamize the car a little bit. He got the car reulspholstered in cloth with cushioned front seats, in a red-wine color. I don’t remember what happened to the car or the lady as after about a year my dad and her separated. She was a really nice lady and she was really nice to me, but I never really liked her. I was just a little 5 year old kid that was jealous of anyone that tried to steal his dad from him.
Along with the pseudo-halo top, the styling of the coupes points out another American-style fascination for Japanese stylists: hardtops. Japanese automakers didn’t really get seriously into actual pillarless hardtops until the mid-70s, but there ended up being a fair number of them, plus a lot more pseudo-hardtops with concealed B-pillars.
I liked this era of Colts, especially the Colt GT and the Colt coupe, back in the day and I still do. Also liked the later Mitsu Challenger/Sapporo and Starion/Conquest. Oh, almost forgot I kinda liked the Arrow, too.
I had a 1974 Dodge Colt as my first car in 1986 and drove it as my daily driver for 4 years. It was the coupe with a 1.6L and 4-speed. I took off the stock carb and put on a 2-barrel Weber with an open element air cleaner. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! I could actually chirp the rear tires easily at launch and sometimes at 1-2 shifts – it had bad wheel hop with that carb. I put Shelby Minilight wheels on it with Pirelli tires – that really woke up the handling over the stock tires.
It was a quirky care for sure, but fun for me at the time. I kind of miss it to this day and I see another one around down by where I work sometimes. It makes me smile and reminisce about the old days when life was simpler.
While I liked the Colt – I still would have chosen a Duster over it. They were about the same price, but the Duster was a larger car with dependable mechanicals.
I understand where you are coming from regarding a more “substantial” choice for similar money for most people shopping circa 1974. No doubt lots of folks found extra room for their full family and familiarity for the mechanicals appealing. The big caveat here comparing a Colt to a Duster for the price was the level of equipment one received. Equivalent A-bodies were most definitely bare bones basic. Colts, however, started off with full carpeting plus floor mats, reclining bucket seats, tilt steering wheel, front disc brakes, synchronized floor mounted 4-speed, variable ratio steering, fully flow-thru 3 speed ventilation, electric dual speed wipers, front and rear armrests, etc. Those features obviously did not win a majority of buyers, regardless the upcharge an A-body would cost you to get it, but it was a substantial and welcome difference between the two considering they competed in the same “cheap as it gets” price at the local Chry-Ply dealer. Also, the Saturn 4G series engine in these Colts have become legendary for durability (when not turbocharged) on a scale similar to the Slant-Six, and the automatic models used Chrysler-built A904 TorqueFlite transmissions. Durability was not a concern regarding mechanicals on these cars, as time has told.
I experienced driving and riding in two of this generation Colts.
The first, a quite attractive Carousel model, was handicapped by the 3 speed automatic transmission that gave abrupt, ill timed up and down shifts.
The second was a GT model. The 5 speed manual transmission was a joy to drive, with quick, easy “snick-snick” up and downshifts and light clutch pedal effort.
Perhaps it was one of the balance shaft engine models? I don’t recall it ever shaking or vibrating all thru the rpm range.
It’s dealer installed, in dash air conditioning worked well and did not appear to overly tax the engine’s power or cooling system.
Both models had higher and more comfortable seating that a Pinto or Vega of this time period. The manual steering seemed quick enough with light effort needed.
I found them (save for the balky automatic) both under-rated and fine cars (for the time period.)
Guess I went with the “other” Japanese option mentioned, I had a ’74 Datsun 710 as my car all the way through undergraduate studies. Only time it wouldn’t start was during the blizzard of ’78 as it was parked outside in my parent’s driveway in Shelburne, Vt. It wasn’t fast (especially with automatic, it was the only automatic car I’ve ever owned) but was dependable, a good thing for someone trying to finish school.
Never had a Colt, but one of my friends and co-workers a few years later had a ’78 Plymouth Sapporo, followed by an ’82 Dodge Challenger. I didn’t know him when he had the Sapporo but rode in the Challenger many times. I had a ’78 Scirocco at that time, and found the Challenger roomier than the Scirocco, especially in the rear seat.
He had the car up till about 1988, he had some odd problem with rear wheel alignment (cupped tires) and instead of fixing it, he ended up trading it on an ’88 Mercury Tracer.
I currently find myself in the possession of a 1977 Dodge Colt Sedan. This is a survivor car owned by an elderly lady who purchased the car new. The car has always been stored undercover an only ever driven local in west coast community of White Rock, BC Canada, 49,580KM original blue paint, white vinyl top and interior. There is some visible bubbling under the vinyl top near the base at the rear but otherwise no visible signs of rust. The car has not been on the road for about 3 years now but was running in driving when put in storage.
My mother has asked me to help her sell this car for her friend whom is no longer in a capacity to do so herself. I have been doing some research however I can’t seem to find many out there for sale to try and get an idea what it might be worth. I can’t imagine there are many left around in original condition so might be a rare duck. I realize rare doesn’t always equal valuable but I’m I’m just trying to get her a fair market price for it so if anyone has any valued input be greatly appreciated
I need parts for my Colt 1974 please help