Dodge Colt

Dodge Colt
Dodge Colt
Seventh generation Dodge Colt coupe
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors
Also called Plymouth Champ
Plymouth Colt
Eagle Summit
Plymouth Cricket
Model years 1971–1994
Assembly Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan
Successor Dodge/Plymouth Neon
Eagle Summit (For sedan, U.S. only)
Class Compact (1971–1979)
Subcompact (1979–1994)

The Dodge Colt and the similar Plymouth Champ and Plymouth Colt, were subcompact cars sold by Dodge and Plymouth from 1970 (MY1971) to 1994. They were captive imports from Mitsubishi Motors, initially twins of the rear-wheel drive Galant and Lancer families before shifting to the smaller front-wheel drive Mitsubishi Mirage subcompacts in 1979. With the 1994 introduction of the Dodge/Plymouth Neon, Chrysler felt no need to continue selling captive imports under these badges, although the Eagle Summit (also a Mirage clone) continued to be available until 1996.


First generation

First generation
Also called Mitsubishi Colt Galant
Mitsubishi Galant
Plymouth Cricket (CDN)
Production 1971–1973
Body style 2-door coupé
4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Engine 4G32: 1.6 L I4
Wheelbase 2,420 mm (95 in)
1973 Dodge Colt HT Coupé

Introduced in 1970 as model year 71, the first generation Dodge Colt was a federalized first generation Mitsubishi Colt Galant. Available as a two-door pillared coupé, 2-door hardtop, 4-door sedan, and 5-door wagon, the Colt had a 1,597 cc (97.5 cu in) four-cylinder engine. The unibody layout was traditional, front engine and rear wheel drive with MacPherson struts in front and a live rear axle. Standard transmission was a 4-speed manual, with a 3-speed automatic being an option. The engine initially produced 100 hp, but this dropped to 83 in 1972 when stricter emissions standards took effect. For 1973 a sporty GT hardtop coupé was added, featuring rally stripes, sport wheels and a center console amongst other features.[1] The Dodge Colt was originally intended to be Chrysler's answer to the AMC Gremlin, Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega[2] but because it came from Mitsubishi Motors and was not a true Chrysler product, the first Colts actually competed more directly with Japanese imports, such as the Toyota Corolla and Datsun 510.[3]

Second generation

Second generation
1974-75 Dodge Colt coupé
Also called Mitsubishi Galant
Chrysler Galant/Valiant Galant (AUS)
Plymouth Colt (CDN)
Plymouth Cricket (CDN)
Production 1974–1977
Body style 2-door coupé
4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Engine 4G32: 1.6 L I4
G52B: 2.0 L I4
Wheelbase 2,420 mm (95 in)
Lightly modified Dodge Colt wagon with post-1975 larger bumpers

Based on the underpinnings of the first generation model, Galant sedans and coupes received a new, somewhat rounder body in 1973, while wagons continued with the old body and new nose. The new version, with single headlights rather than the doubles of the previous generation, became the 1974 Dodge Colt in the US, available in the same bodystyles as the first one. The base engine also remained the same, but a larger G52B "Astron" engine became optionally available (standard in the GT coupé). This one developed 96 hp at 5,500 rpm. Ratings varied from 79-83 hp for the smaller one and 89-96 hp for the larger engine in different publications.[4]

A four-speed manual or three-speed automatic remained available, but for 1977 a five-speed became available (standard in the GT and Carousel coupés). The Carousel, introduced in 1975 along with larger bumpers, was more luxurious and carried a blue and white paintjob. For 1977, the "Silent Shaft" version of the smaller engine became available, and was fitted as standard equipment in GT and Carousels. The introduction of the new Dodge Colt "Mileage Maker" meant that there was no second generation four-doors for 1977. The wagon was also available with an "Estate" package, including wood grain applique and adjustable reclining seats.

Third generation

1978 Plymouth Colt (Canada)

Front view
Rear view
Third generation "Mileage Maker"
1978 Dodge Colt "Mileage Maker"
Also called Mitsubishi Lancer
Plymouth Colt
Production 1977–1979
Body style 2-door coupé
4-door sedan
Layout FR layout
Engine 4G32: 1.6 L I4
Wheelbase 2,340 mm (92 in)
Third generation wagon
Also called Mitsubishi Galant Sigma
Chrysler Sigma
Mitsubishi Sigma, Colt Sigma
Production 1978–1981
Body style 5-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Engine 4G32: 1.6 L I4
4G54: 2.6 L I4
Wheelbase 2,515 mm (99 in)
Related Mitsubishi Galant Lambda
Dodge Challenger

The third generation Dodge Colt was effectively made up of two lines: coupés and sedans were of a smaller, Lancer-based series, while the Wagons were based on the new Mitsubishi Galant Sigma. In late 1976, for the 1977 model year, the smaller A70-series Mitsubishi Lancer became the Dodge Colt, with two-door coupé and four-door sedan bodies. While the wheelbase was only slightly shorter than that of the second generation Colt, overall length was down from 171.1 to 162.6 inches (4,346 to 4,130 mm). The new Colt was also referred to as the Dodge Colt "Mileage Maker" to mark it as different from its larger predecessor. Second generation Coupé and Wagon versions remained for the 1977 model year.[4]

The engine was the familiar 4G32 iteration of Mitsubishi's Saturn engine family, of 1,597 cc and still with 83 hp at 5,500 rpm. A "Silent Shaft" (balance shaft) version of this engine along with a five-speed manual transmission (instead of the standard four speeds) were part of a "Freeway Cruise" package, which also included a maroon/white paintjob. For '78 power dropped to 77 hp with the introduction of the "MCA-Jet" lean burn system.[5]

For 1978 a new, larger Dodge Colt Wagon arrived, a rebadged Mitsubishi Galant Sigma. It came with the same 1.6-litre MCA-Jet four as the smaller sedans and coupés, but a 2.6-litre, 105 hp Astron engine was an option. While the last year for the Lancer-based Colts was 1979, the wagon lingered on alongside the front-wheel drive Mirage-based fourth generation until 1981 when it was effectively replaced by the domestic Dodge Aries K wagon.

Fourth generation

Fourth generation
Canadian market Plymouth Champ
Also called Mitsubishi Mirage/Colt
Mitsubishi Lancer Fiore
Plymouth Colt
Plymouth Champ
Production 1979–1984
Body style 3-door hatchback
5-door hatchback
Layout FF layout
Engine 1.4 L 4G12 I4
1.6 L 4G32 I4

From 1979, the Dodge Colt and Plymouth Champ nameplates were applied to the front wheel drive Mitsubishi Mirage imports into North America. The Colt and Champ (Plymouth Colt after 1982[6]) was a 3-door hatchback, and came in Standard or Custom equipment levels. These imports used a 70 hp Mitsubishi Orion 4G33 1.4-litre overhead-cam, four cylinder engine at first, but it was joined by the 1.6-litre 4G32 Saturn engine (80 hp) at the end of the year.[5] There were three manual transmissions and one automatic transmission available. There was a KM110 4-speed manual transmission, or a novel "Twin Stick" version of the transmission that used a 2-speed transfer case to give 8 forward and 2 reverse speeds. There was also the option of a KM119 5-speed manual transmission or a TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic transmission.

Colt US Sales[5]
Year 3-door 5-door
1979 60,521
1980 83,711
1981 84,144
1982 52,355 22,675
1983 46,479 27,192
1984 44,724 19,657

For 1982 a five-door hatchback joined the lineup. The names of the equipment levels changed to "E" and "DL". At some point claimed power dropped to 64 and 72 hp respectively for the small and large engines. In 1984, which was to be the last year of this model of Colt, the GTS Turbo model arrived. Unique for North America (the turbocharged Colt/Mirages sold elsewhere had a 1.4-litre engine), this used the fuel injected 1.6-litre 4G32BT engine also seen in the next-generation Colt, providing 102 hp and considerable performance. It, too, featured the eight speed Twin Stick transmission.[3]

Fifth generation

Fifth generation
Also called Mitsubishi Mirage
Mitsubishi Colt
Mitsubishi Lancer
Eagle Vista (CDN)
Plymouth Colt
Production 1984–1988
Body style 3-dr hatchback
4-dr sedan
Layout Front engine, front-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
Engine 4G15: 1.5 L I4
4G32: 1.6 L turbo I4
1.8 L 4G37 I4 (4x4 Wagon)[7]
Transmission 3-speed automatic
4/5-speed manual
Wheelbase 93.7 in (2,380 mm)
Length Hatch: 157.3 in (3,995 mm)
Sedan: 157.3 in (3,995 mm)
Width 63.8 in (1,621 mm)
Height 50.8 in (1,290 mm)
Dodge Colt 3-Door (US)

In 1984, the fifth generation Dodge/Plymouth Colt appeared (model year 1985). A carbureted 68 hp 1,468 cc four was the base engine, while the upscale Premier four-door sedan and GTS Turbo models received the 4G32BT turbocharged 1.6-litre already seen in the last model year of the previous Colts. A first for FWD Colts was the availability of a three-box sedan body, though this was no longer available after 1986. From 1988 (and lasting until 1991), this car was also marketed as the Eagle Vista in Canada.

The Colt Wagon, while never available with the turbocharged engine, did receive a more powerful 1,755 cc engine in the four-wheel drive version. Unlike the FWD version, the DL 4x4 was not available with an automatic transmission.[7] While the Hatchback Colts were replaced for 1989, the Colt Wagon continued to be available until the 1991 introduction of the Mitsubishi RVR-based Colt Wagon, which also replaced the Colt Vista. This car was also marketed as the Eagle Vista Wagon in Canada.

Sixth generation

Sixth generation
Sixth generation Dodge Colt 3-door
Also called Mitsubishi Mirage/Lancer
Plymouth Colt
Eagle Summit
Production 1989–1992
Assembly Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan (Hatchback)
Normal, Illinois (Sedans)
Body style 3-door hatchback
4-door sedan
Layout FF layout
Engine 1.5 L 4G15 I4
1.6 L 4G61 I4
1.6 L 4G61T turbo I4
Transmission 3-speed automatic
4-speed manual
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 93.9 in (2,385 mm)
Length 158.7 in (4,031 mm)
Width 65.5 in (1,664 mm)
Height 52.0 in (1,321 mm)

In 1989, the Eagle Summit joined the array of nameplates describing the Mitsubishi Mirage.

Since the demise of the Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon in 1990, the Colt was the only subcompact in the Dodge and Plymouth lineups. The Colt sedan was not sold in the United States for the sixth generation (though it was sold in Canada), as it would be replaced by the Dodge Shadow/Plymouth Sundance liftbacks for 1989 (along with the Canada-only Eagle Vista, a carrover model that replaced the Colt sedan), when the Colt underwent a redesign. The Dodge/Plymouth Colt sedans returned for 1993-94 as a variant of the Eagle Summit. The Dodge/Plymouth Colt, Eagle Summit, and Mitsubishi Mirage of this generation used a 1.5 or 1.6-litre inline-four engine.

A model powered by the 1.6-litre 4G61T 135 hp (101 kW) turbocharged four-cylinder was produced for the 1989 model year only. There are a rumored 1500 of these special editions to have been produced. The engine was only offered in the Mirage and the Colt GT Turbo, which were distinguished by their ground effects and spoilers (although these parts were also available for a price as add-ons to other model ranges) and by their extra features not normally found on base model ranges such as power seats, power windows, power locks, and power mirrors, special colored interior and seats, as well as a 150 mph/9000 rpm gauge cluster. The Turbo Colt/Mirage Turbo was one of Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best for 1989. A naturally aspirated version of this engine was available for the following years Colt GT, with power down to 113 hp.

Sixth generation Plymouth Colt 3-door

Power of the 1.5-litre 4G15 was up to 82 hp (61 kW) thanks to multi-point fuel injection. Top speed was 160 km/h (99 mph).[8]

The Colt Wagon was redesigned in 1991, now based on the RVR, and continued in production until the 1996 model year.

Seventh generation

Seventh generation
Plymouth Colt sedan
Also called Mitsubishi Mirage
Plymouth Colt
Eagle Summit
Production 1993–1994
Body style 4-door sedan
2-door coupe
3-door van (see Mitsubishi RVR)
Layout FF layout

1.5L 92 hp (69 kW) I4

1.8L 113 hp (84 kW) I4
Transmission 3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase Sedan: 98.4 in (2,499 mm)
Coupe: 96.1 in (2,441 mm)
Length Sedan: 174.0 in (4,420 mm)
Coupe: 171.1 in (4,346 mm)
Width Base: 66.1 in (1,679 mm)
ES: 66.5 in (1,689 mm)
Height Sedan: 51.4 in (1,306 mm)
Coupe: 51.6 in (1,311 mm)
Related Mitsubishi Lancer
Plymouth Colt GL coupe


Not unlike the related Mirage, the Colt and other similar vehicles were well utilized in rallying, both in the United States and abroad. The Colt was the most widely utilized of these variants, appearing in events through the 1970s and 1980s. A Colt was run to a third-place finish in the first ever Sno*Drift rally in 1973, and repeated the feat the following year, as well as a third time in 1982.

Related versions

The Plymouth Cricket nameplate was used (rather than Dodge Colt) on Galants sold in Canada between 1973 and 1975, after Chrysler stopped using the Plymouth Cricket name for a rebadged Hillman Avenger-based model sourced from the United Kingdom (and sold across North America between 1971 and 1973).

The Plymouth Arrow was offered from 1976 to 1980 as a rebadged version of the Mitsubishi Lancer Celeste, not to be confused with the rebadged Mitsubishi truck sold as the Plymouth Arrow starting in 1979.


  1. ^ James M. Flammang (1994). Standard Catalog of Imported Cars, 1946-1990. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc.. p. 192. ISBN 0-87341-158-7. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Lilienthal, Andy (2009-08-17). "Nostalgic Subcompact: Dodge Colt, Mitsubishi Mirage, and its other Eagle and Plymouth cousins". Subcompact Culture. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  4. ^ a b Flammang, Standard Catalog of Imported Cars, p. 193
  5. ^ a b c Flammang, Standard Catalog of Imported Cars, pp. 194-195
  6. ^ Flammang, Standard Catalog of Imported Cars, pp. 503-504
  7. ^ a b Mastrostefano, Raffaele, ed (1990) (in Italian). Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1990. Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. p. 186. 
  8. ^ Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1990, p. 185

External links

Media related to Dodge Colt at Wikimedia Commons Media related to Plymouth Colt at Wikimedia Commons

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