Mitsubishi Colt

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Mitsubishi Colt

1976 - 1983
4 cyl.
1410 cc
51 kW
4 spd. man, dual speed reduction
Top Speed:
150 km/h
Number Built:
1 star
Mitsubishi Colt
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 in Australia.

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.

Chrysler 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 place.

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 in 1981.

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.

The 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 components.

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Also see:

Mitsubishi Production 1960 - 1979
Mitsubishi Motors Heritage
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