The tales of the many flavors of rebadged Chrysler Europe and Mitsubishi products sold as Plymouths and Dodges remain perennially fascinating for me, what with all the Chryslerized Simcas and Hillmans and so forth, and one example of this breed that appears to have disappeared from the face of the earth is the Plymouth Champ. The Champ was a fourth-generation Mitsubishi Mirage, a gas-sipping front-driver that received Colt nameplates for the Dodge side of the showroom floor, and I found one a few days ago at a Denver-area self-service yard. (Read More…)
Design School forces considerations outside of a student’s artistic comfort zone: a unique price, demographic, or geography for starters. Just don’t present a pragmatic design based in sociocultural fact: a conventional sedan for the Indian market–isolating the wealthy from their hired help and their untouchable luggage—was a fantastically stupid mistake. Cultural and profit-minded relevance aside, that’s the not-so-secret secret I’ve mentioned before in this series. Cars are made under a litany of profit-minded constraints, no matter what they may teach in design school.
And some thrive in their design constraints. (Read More…)
At the same time Chrysler was selling heavily evolved— if that’s the word— Simcas, you could walk into the same showrooms that sold Turismos and Omnis and buy yourself a badge-engineered Mitsubishi Lancer. By the late 1980s, Mitsubishi itself was selling these cars (badged as Mirages), which meant that car shoppers could choose between three more or less identical versions of the same car, all priced within it-doesn’t-matter distance of one another: Dodge Colt, Plymouth Colt, and Mitsubishi Mirage. The owner of this Plymouth Colt, however, decided that he or she wanted to go all JDM and convert this car into a Lancer (on a shoestring budget). (Read More…)
Mitsubishi’s website claims the Mirage is a “small car for a big life.” Possible: while I haven’t done a TTAC review in over a year, know that even the rare automotive sampling of a ball of flaming garbage in a catapult possesses a modicum of engineering /styling/marketing prowess. Good cars exist everywhere, which is worthy of someone’s “big life.”
And contrary to the rash of negative press, the Mirage is an honest machine worthy of a closer look.
Perhaps as a result of what Mitsubishi had learned thus far since the introduction of the Outlander PHEV in Europe, Japan and Australia — as well as a MY 2016 redesign — the United States-bound PHEV “will be completely different,” according to both Mitsubishi Motors North America Executive Vice President Don Swearingen and U.S. PR boss Alex Fedorak.
Today you can see the powder blue and marigold Gulf Oil racing colors on just about anything with wheels. A quick image search produces photos of bicycles, Mazda Miatas, DeLoreans, smart cars and even a Tata Nano wearing the livery. Gulf Oil itself has sponsored a number of widely varying race cars that have carried the paint scheme. With so many cars having worn Gulf’s iconic colors it’s easy to forget that there was a time when those colors were worn by a single racing team, running Ford GT40s. As it happens, though, the first Gulf livery GT40 that raced was actually painted a different shade of blue. (Read More…)
Mitsubishi is still alive and well in Japan, for the rest of the world, it is hoping for a Mirage. Just to make sure, Mitsubishi built one. Produced in Thailand, the Mitsubishi Mirage is a global compact car. Today, it goes on sale in Japan. (Read More…)
When Chrysler took over the tattered remnants of AMC in 1987, they created the “Jeep-Eagle” division in order to sell Kenosha-ized Renaults such as the Medallion and the Premier. Chrysler back then wasn’t content unless Mitsubishi got involved, and so they slapped Eagle badges on a Mitsubishi Mirage built by DSM in Illinois. This was very similar to the Geo-ization GM applied to Toyota, Isuzu, Suzuki, and Daewoo products sold in North America. You don’t see many Summits these days (you also didn’t see many of them 20 years ago) so this find in a Denver junkyard was a rare event. (Read More…)
Maybe we should change the title to Two Dead Brands At A Time Week. Topping yesterday’s triple knock-out of Rover and Sterling is going to be a challeng(er). But we’re in contention here with this twin name, twin stick, twin cars, twin wipers, twin brands Colt/Champ. Plymouth has undeniably gone to the Dead Brand underworld. And the Colt name became a brand in its own right, covering a huge variety of Mitsubishi-built vehicles from tiny hatches like this to the mini-van Colt Vista Wagon. The fact that Colts were sold by both Dodge and Plymouth seals the deal. Of course, it wasn’t always that simple, as in the case of the Champ. It had its name changed midway through its run to Colt, hence the two versions here. And Mitsubishi is skating on dangerously thin ice itself these days. But beyond the mortality of its name, the real claim to fame of this car is its legendary twin-stick transmission.