Junkyard Find: 1984 Plymouth Colt GTS Turbo

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1984 plymouth colt gts turbo

Turbocharging was big when the 80s began, and nobody liked turbocharging better by mid-decade than Chrysler, Mitsubishi, and Chrysler/Mitsubishi. Turbo Cordias, Turbo Omnis, Turbo K-cars, Turbo Starions and, of course, the various Chryslerized flavors of the Turbo Mitsubishi Mirage. I’d forgotten about the Plymouth-badged Turbo Colts, but then I found this low-mile example awaiting its date with The Crusher in a California self-service wrecking yard.

Yes, just 43,286 miles on the clock, which is low even by the lax standards to which we hold 80s Mitsubishi products. Broken speedometer cable, perhaps? Project car that sat for 20 years before an angry landlord or wife banished it?

Yeah, it’s got a Twin Stick!

This 1.6 liter engine made 102 horsepower when new. 102 horses might be laughable by 2012 standards (hell, even the ’12 Kia Rio has 138 horses), but this car weighed only 1,865 pounds and it was quick. It was also a torque-steering nightmare that did everything possible to shoot holes in the belief that all Japanese cars were reliable, but who cares? The ’84 VW Rabbit GTI weighed 1,950 pounds and had just 90 horsepower. Which would you have bought?


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  • Davew833 Davew833 on Feb 12, 2013

    I bought a black one of these at a car auction in 1996 for less than $200, if I recall-- or maybe it was $225 after the buyer's fee. My first priority was to replace the steel wheels with some factory Dodge alloys. I drove it for a few months then sold it to a friend in need for $500. After a short time it broke down and he abandoned it on the street, moving out of state. Never completely paid me for it either. It was quick when it ran!

  • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Dec 05, 2013

    My folks had a non turbo with the twin stick at one point. It was brown and we didn't have it for to long. I was young enough that I didn't understand why. I believe it was an 80 and it was 1985 when we had it. Mitsubishi build quality wasn't much better when I bought my 04 Lancer Sportback new in 05. Ran well and was problem free, much better car mechanically than I ever expected. But it was fairly noisy, the seats sucked and most of the interior was very cheap. The paint was thin and swirled easily (black car didn't help). I supposed I got what I paid for more or less. It had a 19k sticker on it, I paid 13 after it sat for a year on the lot. I ran it as a courier as my own car. 77k in two years. One trip to the dealer for a faulty battery. It was totaled in a rear end collision that bent the car from the C pillar back. I was sick of it by then anyway.

  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys for that money, it had better be built by people listening to ABBA
  • Abrar Very easy and understanding explanation about brake paint
  • MaintenanceCosts We need cheaper batteries. This is a difficult proposition at $50k base/$60k as tested but would be pretty compelling at $40k base/$50k as tested.
  • Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
  • Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?