Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1
Coinciding with the finalisation of Mitsubishi Motors
takeover Chrysler Australia was the release of
the first front-wheel vehicle sold by either company
Mitsubishi's association with Chrysler
both here and in America went back the better part
of a decade, during which time Mitsubishi has supplied
cars to Chrysler either in knock-down form or fully
assembled to sell under the Chrysler name.
also manufactured in their Australian plants various
Mitsubishi based models under licence.
Things did not
go well financially at Chrysler during the 1970’s,
however the best-selling popularity of the Sigma returned
the company to a more enviable position the market
With the continuing decline in sales of the
larger Valiant models, the Mirage/Colt was well timed
to restore profitability to the Mitsubishi operation.
It would come as no surprise when the Valiant models
disappeared completely from the market and, with the
exception of some Dodge commercials; there were no
non-Japanese models in Mitsubishi's Australian line-up
Not a new car, the Mirage/Colt had been on
sale in Japan for four years, and in Europe for two.
It was powered by a 1.4 litre engine that had its origins
in the current Lancer motor, the Mirage/Colt offered
a unique eight-speed transmission
- the result of combining
a reduction gear with a conventional four-speed gearbox.
The driver controlled this dual-ratio system via a
second lever adjacent to the normal gear change. The
'power' ratio was for city use, towing, and acceleration,
while the 'economy' range was for out-of-town cruising.
Although initially claimed to add a new dimension to
motoring, the dual-speed range did not meet with the
success and popularity that its innovative design would
suggest never eventuated. Owner surveys in Europe have
shown that a more conventional five-speed gearbox with
a tall overdrive
gear would do the job just as well.
remainder of the mechanical layout was fairly conventional,
a standard front wheel drive
affair. The engine is
mounted transversely, adjacent to the transmission
and drove the front wheels through unequal length drive
shafts supported by MacPherson struts. An anti-roll bar
helped minimise suspension
movement while the steering
was through a European style rack-and-pinion arrangement.
The rear suspension
was independent with trailing arms
and coil springs, while the brakes
were the usual disc/drum
combination. Only the five-door model was offered in
Australia and, with the exception of the rather severe
front-end treatment, it was an attractively styled
car similar to some European models. For the first
eighteen months the car was fully imported, however
it was then locally assembled from Japanese produced