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.
Turbocharging was big when the 80s began, and nobody liked turbocharging better by mid-decade than Chrysler, Mitsubishi, and Chrysler/Mitsubishi. Turbo Cordias, Turbo Omnis, Turbo K-cars, Turbo Starions and, of course, the various Chryslerized flavors of the Turbo Mitsubishi Mirage. I’d forgotten about the Plymouth-badged Turbo Colts, but then I found this low-mile example awaiting its date with The Crusher in a California self-service wrecking yard.
Maybe we should change the title to Two Dead Brands At A Time Week. Topping yesterday’s triple knock-out of Rover and Sterling is going to be a challeng(er). But we’re in contention here with this twin name, twin stick, twin cars, twin wipers, twin brands Colt/Champ. Plymouth has undeniably gone to the Dead Brand underworld. And the Colt name became a brand in its own right, covering a huge variety of Mitsubishi-built vehicles from tiny hatches like this to the mini-van Colt Vista Wagon. The fact that Colts were sold by both Dodge and Plymouth seals the deal. Of course, it wasn’t always that simple, as in the case of the Champ. It had its name changed midway through its run to Colt, hence the two versions here. And Mitsubishi is skating on dangerously thin ice itself these days. But beyond the mortality of its name, the real claim to fame of this car is its legendary twin-stick transmission.
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