Junkyard Find: 1979 Dodge Colt With Twin-Stick Transmission

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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™.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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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.

  • Bob65688581 We bought zillions of German cars, despite knowing about WWII slave labor. Refusing to buy something for ideological reasons is foolish.Both the US and the EU have imposed tariffs, so the playing field is level. I'll buy the best price/quality, regardless of nationality.Another interesting question would be "Would you buy one of the many new European moderate-price EVs?" but of course they aren't sold here.Third interesting question: "Why won't Stellantis sell its best products in America?"
  • Freshblather No. Worried there will be malicious executable code built into the cars motherboard that could disable the Chinese cars in the event of hostilities between the west and China.
  • Bd2 Absolutely not - do not want to support a fascist, totalitarian regime.
  • SCE to AUX The original Capri was beautiful. The abomination from the 90s was no Capri, and neither is this.It looks good, but too similar to a Polestar. And what's with the whacked price?
  • Rover Sig Absolutely not. Ever.