Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
Slowly but surely, in the wake of the likes of Datsun, Toyota, and to a lesser extent, Mazda, Colt became part of the Japanese invasion of the car markets of both the USA and Europe. The name 'Colt' was obviously chosen to appeal more to western customers than the name of the manufacturing company, the giant Mitsubishi organisation, but while the name might be westernised, the cars were undeniably Japanese.
The elegant Sapporo was top of the Colt range in 1979; developed from the Colt Sigma it bore a strange resemblance to Toyota's pre-1978 Celica design. Under the skin there were very few surprises. The suspension
was by MacPherson struts with anti-roll bar
at the front, and the live rear axle was located by four trailing links angled to give a measure of lateral location as well.
The engine was, however, something out of the ordinary. The four-cylinder, overhead-cam, engine of 1995cc was not a new design, but for its Sapporo application it had been developed since its Sigma days to give both more power and torque thanks to two twin-choke Mikuni carburettors and a higher compression ratio. The interesting point about the engine was its harmonic balancing system, by counter-balanced crankshaft, intended to eliminate the innate roughness of a four-cylinder engine.
Although the 2-litre engine was smooth it was a moot point just how effective the balancing had been as the engine was not outstandingly refined. Output, at 98 bhp at 5500 rpm and 105lb ft of torque at 3500 rpm, was no better than average for its size and specification, and it did not endow the Sapporo with particularly sparkling performance. It was, therefore a little surprising that the overall fuel consumption was as low as the 20 mpg mark, particularly in view of the fact that the Sapporo had been given an excellent five speed gearbox with fifth being highly geared.
The level of instrumentation was, of course, good, with ammeter, oil pressure and water temperature gauges, and tachometer
all welcome fixtures as was the standard radio. Overall, however, the Sapporo offered very little that its rivals could not match or even surpass.
Mitsubishi Colt Sapporo Quick Specifications:
Front-mounted, in-line, four-cylinder. 84mm (3.31 in) bore x 90mm (3.54in) stroke - 1995cc (122.3cu in). Maximum power (DIN) 98bhp at 5500rpm, maximum torque (DIN) 104.81b ft at 3500 rpm: cast-iron cylinder block and light-alloy head. Compression ratio 9:1. 5 main bearings. 2 valves
per cylinder operated via rockers by single overhead camshaft. 2 twin- choke Mikuni 28/32 DIDSA 22.23 carburettors.
Single dry plate clutch and manual five-speed gearbox. Ratios 1st 3.369, 2nd 2.035, 3rd 1.360, 4th 1.00, 5th 0.856, reverse 3.635. Hypoid bevel final drive, ratio 3.909:1.
Front-independent by MacPherson struts and anti-roll bar
, rear-live axle with four trailing links, coil springs and telescopic dampers.
Discs front and rear. Dual hydraulic circuit. Servo assisted.
5in x 13in. Tyres 185/70 x 13in.
2 door, 4 seats. Integral.
Dimensions and weight:
Wheelbase 99in; track-front 53. 8 in, rear 54in· length 174in· width 66in; height 53in· ground clearance 6.3 in: weight 2419Ib,· turning circle 33.1 tt: fuel tank capacity 13.2 gal.
Maximum speed 104 mph: acceleration 0-60 mph 12 secs; fuel consumption approximately 20mpg.