By on November 18, 2012

Denver junkyards don’t have quite as many W126 Mercedes-Benzes or 1960s Detroit classics as the ones I grew up exploring in California, but they do have examples of just about every four-wheel-drive Japanese car made during the 1980s. Four-wheel-drive Toyotas, Subarus, and Civics are all represented, though I’m still trying to find a 4WD 80s Sentra. But hey, now I can check Mitsubishi off the list of Weird Japanese 4WD 1980s Cars I’ve Seen In The Junkyard, because here’s this Colt!
With “Full Time 4WD,” you didn’t have to work any complicated levers or switches to choose between front- and all-wheel-drive; instead, this car would waste fuel, make extra noise, and wear out driveline components even when driving on dry pavement in June.
Imported For Dodge!
236,581 miles was a lot more than most Mitsubishi products of this era managed. Well done, little Colt 4WD!

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

33 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1989 Dodge Colt DL 4WD...”


  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I knew you could get 4WD on the Vista wagon, but didn’t know it was also offered on the regular Colt wagon. Not surprising though.

    Seen any Camry All-trac sedans?

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Don’t forget the Ford Tempo 4 Wheel Drive model.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Well I was Sentra at the time. I didn’t need 4WD, though I could of had it. I opted the longer warranty and Nissan dealer over Chrysler. This Colt wagon has a more squared off back than the Sentra wagon of the day. So I’m guessing extra capacity?

  • avatar
    Polestar R Design

    We still own a 1992 Mitsubishi Montero 4×4 SR. 207,000 and climbing, quite literally. I went into the Boise “Jalopy Jungle” Junkyard and picked up a 1994 drivers side sliding side window. Popped the shattered one out myself in 5 min and put the new one in. Total cost? $11
    I love Junk yards. Just had a driver throw a rock at our windshield the other day. Called and got a $35 quote on an undamaged one.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Usually when you see these high mileage cars, they almost always have manual transmissions

  • avatar
    YYYYguy

    Funny thing about these rebadge jobs…was this a Dodge Colt, a Mitsubishi Colt, or just a Colt? Colt badges everywhere…was this an attempt at its own sub-brand? The Dodge name is only used once, not even on the steering wheel or interior where as Mitsubishi is on the motor, radio, and likely countless other areas.

    There was no attempt at all to hide that this thing was all Mitsubishi.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      Was wondering the same thing – obvious Mitsubishi badges on the radio and valve cover, but only one time “imported for Dodge” nameplate on the tailgate. It doesn’t even explicitly specify that this car is a “Dodge”, only that it was sold by Dodge. The Colt badges on the steering wheel and grille really point to some attempt at at least a semi stand-alone captive import brand that was somewhat stillborn. Perhaps Colt could have evolved into Chrysler’s answer to Geo.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        Could be that this was during a time of decreased visibility of Maker’s Marks on cars. The Ford badge was small, the Chevy smaller, and Dodge generally used the Pentagram on the deck lid. The Japanese marks used just their names until the mid-late ’90s when the Yoda cowboy hat and Honda Big-H became prevelant. The Mazda badge was that weird Eye-of-the-Needle for a couple of years before becoming the swoopy bird of Zoom-Zoom. Not surprised that Dodge barely tried to cover any of the Mitsu as it may have sold better for reliability sake.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        Chrysler has been in bed with Mitsu on various levels since ’69 or ’70. Pretty sure you could get a Mitsu diesel in a Dodge p/u back in the day…

        They imported the Colt to compete against the Pinto and whatever it was GM was doing at the time. Depending on the year, the Mitsu connection (ie, label slapping) varied a bunch during the 70s and early 80s if my memory serves. Everybody knew the Colt and Arrow were a Mitsu, but sometimes the stickers were there, sometimes not.Sometimes the ads were overt, sometimes not.

  • avatar

    I used to drive an 1989 Plymouth Colt E Hatchback, until I wrecked it. It was a cheap reliable model. The only problem we ever had it with it was that the A/C broke and the tail/brake lights burned out frequently. The interior was made of cheap plastics. We had bought it new without a radio.

  • avatar
    statikboy

    Anyone else notice the underhood sticker says it meets EPA standards for light trucks? Does this mean that it didn’t have to meet the standards for cars? I was under the impression that Dodge would have to remove the rear seats to have it considered a truck (a la Ford Transit Connect).

    Then again, SUV’s have gotten away with this deception for decades.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      The Chrysler PT Cruiser qualified as a truck. It helped DaimlerChrysler immensely in meeting CAFE reqs. Especially toward the end, when seemingly 90% were dumped into rental fleets to offset the high-profit 300Cs, Rams, Durangos, etc., that became the only Chryslers that sold decently. I remember thinking at the time (around 2007-2008) that Chrysler was absolutely the worst lineup with respect to CAFE reqs. But then I thought of all the rental PTs out there, and figured it out.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Save for the EFI, that engine wouldn’t look out of place in a forklift truck. I think you can still order one equipped with it.

    Is it a 4G63? take into account that AFAIK, it doesn’t need to come out of a holy EVO/DSM, have DOHC-16V or a turbo to be a 4G63.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Somebody bypassed the nifty 7 watt radio and cigarette lighter, but salvaged the ash tray???

  • avatar
    punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

    I had an ’87 Colt DL with a then, very trendy red interior. Mine was so basic, with no A/C and an automatic. Got me cross-country to San Diego and Connecticut and was overall a pretty reliable ride. Not near as rare as this beast, however.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    The always amusing part is was this some vomitous POS J-Car or some other domestic fail-mobile that no one with an IQ over 90 ever bought, the fanbios would be trumpeting the ‘incredible longetivity’ at 237K.

    Sadly, that Mitsu that no-one thought highly of at the time, did what we import buyers all expected in the late 70s, let alone 80s- travel almost a quarter million miles before being trashed.

    • 0 avatar
      MK

      Ha! True dat amigo!

      That mitsu colt is actually pretty cool and I don’t even like wagons.

      Overall Mitsubishi gets dealt a lot of shit on ttac but we’ve owned several and they’ve been great vehicles. Can’t say the same about the GM and Chrysler experiences.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      you mean the cockroach of the road? ;)

      Drink your coffee this morning. I guarantee it will make you happier.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        I’ve just seen too many J cars falling apart at mileages that were around 100K or less to buy into them being anything resembling long-lived. YMMV. The interiors disintegrated so quickly you’d have thought them to be imported from British Leyland…

        To be fair, they were designed to a price-point enabling GM to make its CAFE numbers, so the Yugo-like quality was to be expected. Every cheap guy I knew gave one to their HS age daughter – for $10-11K who cared when she wrecked it or that it fell apart in 5 years?

        Also to be fair, the Asian quality on low line cars ain’t what it was from the late 70s through the late 90s.

    • 0 avatar
      Lt.BrunoStachel

      And yet out of all of the Japanese JF’s there are more that failed to reach 200K than those that even came close to .25M. So much for high expectations.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The last three Japanese JF odometer readings were a Prelude with 330,000 miles, a Corolla FX with 244,000 miles, and an Accord wagon with 344,000 miles.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        A quick perusal of a local CL yields just over 100 1990s Toyos for sale with 215-260K miles on them, they look good, are priced around $2K, and will all find buyers who will likely put another 100K on them.

        There were only about 80 Js, they were 95% 2000s and up, and most had 100-140K miles on them at the same price point.

        To be fair, the Toyos almost all cost more when new.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Friend of mine had one of these in Plymouth flavor. Same color.

    Find a Mirage Colt ever? 91ish

  • avatar
    dvdlgh

    Had the Vista 4wd/man trans. No ac. Loved it. No problems. Eng never missed a beat. Wish I would have kept it.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India