By on August 20, 2014

08 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAt 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).
19 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis would make more sense if you wanted to turn your Q45 into a President or even your Tercel wagon into a Sprinter Carib. Perhaps the association with the Lancer Evolution was the main motivator for the Colt-Lancer switch.
06 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou’ll find one in every car, kid. You’ll see.
12 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAlmost made it to 100,000 miles.
18 - 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s pretty easy to get the correct badges if you’re motivated.

Future project: convert a Colt into a Cyborg!

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16 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1989 Mitsubishi Lancer, Wait, I Mean Plymouth Colt...”

  • avatar

    Ah, the sage advice of Miller!

  • avatar

    The Cyborg GT or whatever was always one of the starting cars you ended up with in Gran Turismo 1. There were different Mirage models in there, and the Cyborg had the coolest name, so I picked that one when I needed it for a race series.

    This was probably a bad idea, since it seems to be of lower specification. At the time I don’t think I understood much about HP and torque.

  • avatar

    Over here we only got these as Lancers. Was quite a common sight considering they only built this shape (with the quirky turn signals) for three years.
    I’ve never so much as sat in one but they seem to last well enough, still see them for sale sometimes.

  • avatar

    How do we know all those badges aren’t factory? I had a car with a Dodge Shadow grill and rear emblem, but a Sundance emblem on the dash. It was titled as a Dodge. I couldn’t think of any reason the Sundance emblem would be there. I could’ve believed a kid, or a dork did it, but there were no other changes to the car, uncovered steel wheels and everything.

  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    IIRC, the entire drivetrain of an AWD 1st Gen Eclipse will bolt right up to this car.

  • avatar

    The song in the commercials sounds eerily like Fun’s “We Are Young”. Actually, there are a few other songs, ’80s and earlier, that sound similar…

  • avatar

    I had a Blue 1989 Plymouth Colt. It was originally bought new with no radio. Around 2000 or 2001, I wrecked it and sits it a junkyard somewhere. It was a reliable car, the only problem was the A/C broke.

  • avatar

    Given the overall shape you could slap Honda Civic badges on it and non-enthusiasts would likely think it was the three door hatch version.

  • avatar

    These were sorry little crapboxes but the turbo versions of these things were great fun. I think Car and Driver even named it to a 10Best list one year.

  • avatar

    Interesting… I haven’t seen one of these on the road in years. Here in Canada, it was not uncommon to see captive import Plymouth/Dodge Colts re-badged as Mitsubishi equivalents… There was a certain novelty factor in the 90s, before Mitsubishi set up shop to sell its wares here. Many Eagle Talons and Plymouth Lasers were rechristened in a similar manner.

    As an aside, I always thought the Toyota Sprinter Carib was a Corolla AWD wagon, but a quick search of Google images suggests that certain variants of the Tercel AWD wagons were also badged as Sprinter Caribs its home market?

  • avatar

    I admire the dedication of this project.

    I’m in the third year of converting my Chevrolet truck into a GMC. It’s pretty hard work.

    Somebody just REALLY didn’t want to admit to owning a Plymouth, I guess.

  • avatar

    I sold these one summer in college. Actually, I only sold one of them. We had a bunch of them in a line down one side of the back of the dealership. All but one was white, IIRC. Many had been around long enough for their state inspection stickers to expire. Most were equipped with A/C and nothing else. $7,000 was about what it took to make one yours. Oddly, that’s what most of our horrid used cars were priced at too. Salesmen knew that the commission on a used $7,000 car was about 15 times what it was on a new $7,000 car, which I suspect is why they sat around getting old. I was on training salary though, so I was paid the same for any car I sold, which was a token amount. That being the case, I tried to push bargain hunters into Colts. I was convinced they would be much better served by a new Colt than a 3-owner anything else. One time I failed spectacularly when a couple of UVA adjunct faculty from Japan came in. They spoke almost no English, which must have been great value for their students. I had to take them to the DMV and get them licenses. No matter how hard I tried, they would have nothing of the Colt when the alternative was a very used Datsun 810/Maxima wagon with wire hubcaps for the same price. It was as bad as any used K-car. They paid full ask, making me a legend in the process. The dealership had about $800 in the Datsun, so my commission check was written for thousands of dollars. Too bad it was just a mistake, and I got the same fifty or a hundred bucks I’d have gotten for selling them a new car that wouldn’t make their stay in the US miserable.

  • avatar

    Had one. Did not love it. Considered dropping an Eclipse turbo in it after a drunken reading of an Austrailian car mag, sobered up and gave up.

  • avatar

    There was a fourth version, the Eagle Summit. Sold alongside Eagle Talons, Jeep Cherokee’s & Grand Wagoneers.

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