By on June 24, 2015

23- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

We’ve seen plenty of frontwheeldrive Colts in this series, but (prior to today) the only example of the rear-wheel drive Dodge-badged Mitsubishi Colt Galant we’d seen was this lichen-covered ’72 wagon. On a recent trip to California, I spotted this coastal-rusty example of tape-striped Malaise Mitsubishi glory.
17- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Obviously, this car sat outdoors and neglected for decades.

08- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The severity of the top-down rust indicates that it lived near the ocean, or maybe under a leaky tarp in a shaded Bay Area yard.

11- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Someone took the cylinder head off and said “To hell with it.”

01- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Still, you can always find something useful on a car like this. The instrument cluster would be useful for a Colt restorer.

18- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Ah, Malaise.

Hemi engine!

This appears to be the same car, down to the blue tape stripes. Look, adjustable steering column!

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28 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1976 Dodge Colt...”

  • avatar

    This car looks like a Colt Carousel, which had blue stripes and vinyl roof as well as that blue and white interior.

  • avatar

    Yeppa those 70’s Japs were low tech & ugly. But they came loaded with tinted, rear defogger and radio. When it was all options from Detroit.

    • 0 avatar

      Flow-through ventilation… I miss that from old cars, doesn’t happen so much with universal air-conditioning.

      Inside hood release and paint that’s good for fighting rust? Sign me up!!

      • 0 avatar

        Every modern car has flow-through ventilation – there are air outlets in the rear somewhere. Often on the sides of the trunk behind the side part of the bumpers/rear facia. If they weren’t there you would get no airflow through the car with the vents open, windows shut, and fan off.

        • 0 avatar

          @krhodes1- You are correct but not all flow-through ventilation is equal. I miss the kind that is so good that I could feel the breeze from the vents, on my face and on my legs, at highway speed with the fan off. A few modern day cars have this but more often than not it is the exception. Life goes on…

  • avatar

    Had one of these in glorious Gold. When I went around the corner at a moderately sporty speed, the engine stalled out. Only had it 18 months.

    • 0 avatar

      My first new car was a ’76 Colt, Freeway Cruise model – which meant it had a 2-litre engine, 5-speed stick and upgraded interior. Maroon, of course.

      I had it for 5 years, don’t remember any great issues except that, near the end, it developed a propensity to overheat in hot weather. Typical Japanese car of the day – not exciting, but well-built and very reliable.

      It nags at me that there was something about the points, like maybe it had two sets?

  • avatar

    Flip the 76 around, and we get what Chrysler was making in 67, today’s Rare Ebay Find.

    New Yorker Coupe, hardtop! Haven’t seen one like this before. Has console shifter and big engine option, but also cloth (and not paisley even). Perhaps a Chrysler expert can tell us other things which are unusual about this one. She a big girl.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    In Canada in the early/mid 70’s Dodge/Chrylser sold a number of rebadged cars.

    Dodge Colt and Plymouth Cricket come to mind. Also the Sapporo and Arrow.
    There was also a microvan with seating for 7 and I believe optional 4wd (or all wheel?) sold as a Colt in the 80’s.

    Most were Mitsubishi products but some were from Europe (the U.K.). Generally documentation of these is a little sparse.

    A friend had a mid 70’s (74?) Cricket in white with a stick and it was much better equipped than the domestic small cars, also drove and rode much better.
    And to be blunt, we beat the crap out of it and it just kept on running.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “There was also a microvan with seating for 7 and I believe optional 4wd (or all wheel?) sold as a Colt in the 80’s.”
      Vista Wagon! There was a 4WD option, typical ’80s Japanese subcompact part-time setup with a separate gear lever.

    • 0 avatar

      Then there was the Simca 1204; “Built by Chrysler in Europe, backed by Chrysler in Canada,” but no freaking way are we putting our name on it!

    • 0 avatar

      The Cricket was based on the UK Rootes-built Hillman Avenger. Dreadful car. Only sold here for a couple of years. These earlier Colts were none too reliable in our Canadian winters until the next gen in the late 1970s/early 1980s. That Colt was bullet proof in a way that Hondas were not (yet). I have a soft spot for the Mitsu coupes of the era. Fit an finish of the deluxe models of this junker’s era was actually quite good. Make mine the metallic avocado exterior with white vinyl interior……

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        documentation on these is inconsistent. The ’70-’73 Cricket was without a doubt a Hillman.

        However some sources claim that the ’74 on Cricket was a Mitsu, basically a rebadged Colt.

        Certainly the D3 brought over some real crud from Europe, particularly the UK in the early 70’s.

        Envoy Epic, Pontiac Firenza (read about the class action suit here and even the widely popular in the UK Ford Cortina.

        We once tried to race an Epic and a Cortina in a large school lot. Unfortunately for most of the race the kid on the bicycle was actually faster than both cars.

        I love watching the police shows from the UK set in or based in the ’70’s (The Sweeney, Life on Mars, etc) where the police driving Cortinas are involved in car chases with the requisite dubbed in noise. In our experience they might be better chasing the villains (who drove either Jaguars or white vans) on their bikes or on foot, waiting until the villains’ quality built UK vehicles inevitably quit on them.

        The Cortina would just stall and not restart whenever it felt like it and on hard or fast(er) left hand turns. Would leave it, have a coffee/cigarette/whatever and it would usually restart.

        • 0 avatar

          The ’71-’73 Cricket was the Hillman Avenger. Starting in ’74, it was sourced from Mitsubishi and basically the same car as the Colt.

        • 0 avatar

          At least the Sweeney had a Consul GT with an Essex 3.0 V6, not too shabby. The Cortina, not so much. And I’m pretty sure the color choice of the Life on Mars Cortina (same brass color as the Sweeney car) was no coincidence.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Believe that you are 100% correct. Glad to see someone else appreciates quality television!

  • avatar

    There’s something endearing about a tiny Japanese car dressed up to sort of look like a 5:8th scale muscle car.

    Also, I’d love to see a company bring back a blue-striped interior like that instead of today’s boring grey.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    I remember seeing a few of these in this particular package, it’s a shame this one is in such poor shape because in good condition they are pretty cool looking little cars. Sort of a “fun-size” early 1970’s Challenger.

  • avatar

    So easy to forget about the existence of these things. I always think about the A-bodies as Chrysler’s “small” cars.

  • avatar

    I learned to drive stickshift in a ’74 Colt coupe–base model. It was a very dependable beater my Dad had. My first new car out of college was an ’87 Colt E sedan bought new in ’88–total stripper with a 5sp and rear defroster as the only options! Wait, had the cloth seat inserts too. Sold it to a friend 10 years later with 145k on it and she drove it for another 3 years. Back in ’87 the Colt was more competitive in its class.

  • avatar

    My grandmother had one of these as her last car. She transitioned from a ’65 327/Powerglide Malibu. It had a HUMONGUS 4 bbl Rochester carb on it; drive “granny style” and get 20+ mpg, plant your foot in it, and you calould hear it a block away, and watch the gas hand move!! She said that the Colt “didn’t move out nearly as quickly as the Chevy”!! LOL! I did some measurements and fantasized about swapping an LA V-8 engine into it!! :-)

  • avatar

    Yikes, cant believe the rust on that thing!
    I tend to think of rebadging a car as a fairly recent thing (like late 80’s) – but I guess its been going on longer than that.

  • avatar

    Arthur and Roger: Good call on the old TV shows. Was in the UK last summer and caught a few episodes of The Sweeney.

    Love watching the old shows for the cars.

    I am just impressed anyone found one of these old Colts in the junkyard. Most went there 30 years ago.

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