Junkyard Find: 1988 Dodge Colt DL 4WD Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1988 dodge colt dl 4wd wagon
Chrysler sold various Mitsubishis badged as Dodge or Plymouth Colts from the 1971 model year all the way through 1994.Here’s a Mirage-based fifth-generation Colt in California, the final model year for the Colt station wagon, and it sports both a five-speed manual transmission and the very rare all-wheel-drive powertrain.
American car buyers could get a Mitsubishi Chariot MPV with Colt Vista badging for the 1983-1991 model years, but the true Colt wagons never sold very well over here. 1988 was the last year for the North American Colt wagon.
The four-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive distinction hadn’t been established by automotive-industry marketing wizards by 1988, but this Colt has a genuine center-diff-equipped AWD system that — unlike the earlier generation of Japanese 4WD cars — didn’t require the driver to switch to front-wheel-drive for dry pavement.
By the early 1990s, North Americans could buy cars made by Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and Subaru with power going to all four wheels all the time, no driver decisions needed. Subaru was a little late to that party, while Audi/Volkswagen and American Motors got into the all-wheel-drive game much earlier.
A car like this would have made a lot of sense in the icy Sierras, and I found this car in a yard just about exactly halfway between Carson City and San Francisco. Michael Hohl Automotive is still around, all these years later.
Not quite 200,000 miles, but close enough.
The Colt was very affordable, and few Colt purchasers felt willing to squander extra money on an automatic transmission. This attitude changed around the time the Neon replaced the Colt, especially when the price of slushboxes plummeted.
Of course, the original buyer of this Colt did prove willing to pay for air conditioning, so maybe the five-speed was selected due to personal preference, not Thin Wallet Syndrome.
Perhaps this car was a runner at the end, but the intense stale-Marlboro stench would have put off most members of the very small pool of used-car shoppers willing to drive a cramped three-pedal vehicle with 31 years under its belt.
Disappointingly, Chrysler didn’t push the “Cyclone” branding for Mitsubishi engines over here.For links to 2,000+ additional Junkyard Finds, visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.
Join the conversation
2 of 16 comments
  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.
  • Inside Looking Out Scandinavian design costs only $600? I mean the furniture.