Junkyard Find: 1991 Dodge Colt Vista 4WD

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1991 dodge colt vista 4wd

Unless there’s a super-rare find that requires immediate action or it’s half-price day, I usually avoid hitting Denver junkyards when it’s snowing and/or below freezing out. Thanks to the magic of high altitude, it feels more like December than late April here… but checking the online inventory at my local self-service yard revealed a potential engine-donor for my ’41 Plymouth project. Disregard the snow, pack up the tools!

The ’41 Plymouth is a bare frame with Lexus SC400 subframes mocked up on it at the moment, and I’ve decided to go with the Vortec 4200 six as its powerplant. I’ll be buying a complete donor vehicle, preferably a 2006 or newer Trailblazer/Envoy/Rainier/97-X/Ascender, but having an engine that I can strip down to a bare block for chassis-fit purposes would be a big plus. Sadly, the ’02 Trailblazer I found in the online inventory turned out to be picked completely clean of anything I might want.

With so much snow on the cars, I didn’t see many photographic opportunities. However, a Mitsubishi Chariot aka Dodge Colt Vista 4WD looks best when covered with the white stuff.

Chrysler used the Colt name for quite a few members of the Mitsubishi family over the decades, and it will always be a disappointment that they didn’t call this car the name they used for the Chariot in Europe: Space Wagon. Space Wagon!

213,000 miles isn’t too bad for a Mitsubishi of this era.

Supposedly there’s a 98-horse 4G63 engine in there.

It appears that Japanese-market Chariots of this generation had some sort of weird marketing arrangement with Disney. C-H-A-R-I-O-T!

For added incomprehensibility, here’s the European Space Wagon Trance Remix.

Calling it the Colt Vista led to boring North American ads.

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2 of 33 comments
  • Vistaphreak Vistaphreak on Mar 10, 2014

    I have one and love it. I need spare parts out of this!! What junk yard in Denver is this in??

  • Leaver11 Leaver11 on Jul 04, 2014

    My '88 Colt Vista is still going strong with about 85,000 miles, auto trans, air conditioning died late last summer. It's got rust in the usual spots. This is the 5th Vista I have owned. Most didn't last more than 115,000 miles or so. One needed major trans work. A couple were burning oil. Never got high mileage or mpg others claim. Usually about 21-24. On trips we were so weighted down and with a carrier on top that mileage was beat down. Color is antique rose with maroon interior. It's my snow car with good snow tires on the front it goes almost anywhere. I guess I might sell it for the right price.

  • Lou_BC ERay? A southern model will be the BillyRay.
  • Lou_BC I've never used a car buying plan service. My Costco membership did get me 1,000 cash back on my last truck.
  • Jeff S I can understand 8 cars is a bit much unless you are a serious collector. I always loved the Challenger when it first came out and now. I don't need a car like this but I am glad it exists at least for 1 more year. If I had a choice between a Mustang, a Camaro, and a Challenger I would opt for a Challenger but probably with a V-6 since it has more than enough power for most and I don't need to be burning rubber. Challenger has the classic muscle car looks, more cabin room, and a decent size trunk which makes it very livable for day to day driving and for traveling. The base models of the Dodge Challenger has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gives you 305 horsepower with 268 lb-ft torque. The car attains 60 mph from a standstill within just 6 seconds, which is quite fast. Even with their base engines, the Challenger and Camaro are lightning-fast. The Camaro reaches 165 mph, while the Challenger can go up to 11 mph faster!
  • Inside Looking Out I would avoid American cities if I can. European cities are created for humans and Americans for cars.
  • Inside Looking Out I used True car once in 2014 and got a great deal. The difference is that you do nothing but dealers call you. No haggling but you can get the same deal browsing inventories on dealers websites. It just matter of convenience, Rich people delegate job to someone else because time costs more.