Junkyard Find: 1979 Dodge Colt With Twin-Stick Transmission

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1979 dodge colt with twin stick transmission

Chrysler’s run of selling rebadged Mitsubishis began way back in 1970, when the rear-wheel-drive Colt Galant arrived here for the 1971 model year. Those cars sold very well in North America, with sales continuing through 1978. After that, Colt badges went onto the front-wheel-drive Lancer Fiore (later sold here as the Mirage). Here’s one of those first-year FWD Colts, found in a Denver-area yard in nice condition and equipped with the extremely cool Twin-Stick dual-range transmission.

Mitsubishi built the Twin-Stick for Dodge/Plymouth Colts, Plymouth Champs, Mitsubishi Cordias, and Mitsubishi Tredias in the North American market from the late 1970s through the middle 1980s.

The Twin-Stick (known as the Super Shift in Japan) was an overdrive unit inside a four-speed manual transmission, giving the driver eight forward and two reverse speeds. In practice, most Twin-Stick pilots would keep the car in the low range until the top of fourth gear on the highway, then switch to the high range. Various names were used for the Twin-Stick ranges over the years; this car has the POWER/ECONOMY labels, while others might have had P/E or even E and a star. I still find Twin-Sticks in junkyards, but the numbers are dwindling.

Last year, I harvested a Twin-Stick lever from an ’84 Colt and used it as the basis for a beer tap handle, which I donated to a South Denver burger joint. That’s how cool the Twin-Stick is (to car geeks).

The 1.6-liter 4G32 engine in the ’79 Colt made 80 horsepower, which was decent for an econobox of the time.

MCA-Jet was an emission-control system with a small second intake valve for each cylinder, causing more swirl of the fuel/air mix in the combustion chambers and more complete fuel burning. It didn’t work as well as Honda’s more advanced CVCC system, but it was a lot less complex.

The Bordello Red interior still looks pretty good at age 41.

Do you think modern car audio systems are too complicated? Check out the simplicity of this Mitsubishi AM-only radio.

The Malaise is strong in this yard, with a Granada right next door to the Colt.

For links to 2,000+ additional Junkyard Finds, head over to the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

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  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Dec 15, 2020

    Liked - "Last year, I harvested a Twin-Stick lever from an ’84 Colt and used it as the basis for a beer tap handle, which I donated to a South Denver burger joint. That’s how cool the Twin-Stick is (to car geeks)."

  • Lancealot Panzer Lancealot Panzer on Jan 26, 2023

    This could very well be my Dad's old car. Identical in every way, not sure if the Red strip trim was factory or after market and the glue reside on the back glass ? He had the aluminum mirror tint on the back glass ( 1980 ) and a few Scuba dive stickers. As a kid I have many memories in this car - sitting on his lap while he let me "Drive" on the highway, removing the sunroof with me up top like a Tank Commander ( out on logging roads. LOL. He drove that thing to Idaho and back to Montana every weekend with it never breaking down. He still says today it was the most reliable car he's owned.

  • 28-Cars-Later I'm actually surprised at this and not sure what to make of it. In recent memory Senator Biden has completely ignored an ecological disaster in Ohio, and then ignored a tragic fire in Hawaii until his handlers were goaded in sending him and his visit turned into it's own disaster, but we skipped nap time for this sh!t show? Seriously? We really are through the looking glass now, "votes" no longer matter (Hillary almost won being the worst presidential candidate since 1984 before he claimed the crown) and outside of Corvette nostalgia Joe doesn't care let alone know what day it happens to be. Could they really be afraid of Trump, who AFAIK has planned no appearance or run his mouth on this issue? Just doesn't make sense, granted this is Clown World so maybe its my fault for trying to find sense in a senseless act.
  • Tassos If you only changed your series to the CORRECT "Possibly Collectible, NOT Daily Driver, NOT Used car of the day", it would sound much more accurate AND TRUTHFUL.Now who would collect THIS heap of trash for whatever misguided reason, nostalgia for a much worse automotive era or whatever, is another question.
  • ToolGuy Price dropped $500 overnight. (Wait 10 more days and you might get it for free?)
  • Slavuta Must be all planned. Increase price of cars, urbanize, 15 minutes cities. Be poor, eat bugs
  • Sid SB Not seen a Core without the performance pack yet. Prefer the more understated look of the Core vs the Circuit, but both are great fun to drive.