Vintage Japanese car fans, and captive-import fans, here’s a 1982 Plymouth Champ and it’s on craigslist with the price dropping faster than the temperature in Minnesota. The ad lists several prices from $1,700 or best offer, down to $1,000 firm, and then at the end they say $1,000 or best offer. They mention that they want to trade it for a camper so if you have a spare one lying around in Midland, Michigan, there ya go.
The ol’ taking-photos-of-your-car-at-night trick (in my best Don Adams voice). That’s always a head-scratcher for me, but it is what it is with this one. The Plymouth Champ was, as you all probably know, a sister car to the Dodge Colt and they were both really a Mitsubishi Mirage under the Dodge and Plymouth badging and a few details. 1982 was the last year for the Champ name and in 1983 they were renamed Plymouth Colt, just to further confuse things.
You can see some rust here, which is unfortunate. If this were a Midland, Texas instead of a Midland, Michigan car it would most likely be in much nicer shape. Michigan winters wreak havoc on thin metal such as on these cars, or really on any vehicle. The body of this car looks pretty straight but I’m worried at what’s lurking just beneath the surface. Just get it up in the air, treat the existing rust which hopefully will at least slow it down to a crawl and drive this one. It would be a good commuter car if you have a long, lonely commute on a deserted road and you aren’t driving among semi-trucks on the freeway the whole time. We all know that there isn’t much crash protection on these tiny cars from this era.
The interior is another story, it looks fantastic! And, even though this isn’t the coveted twin-stick, at least it’s not an automatic. It’s a standard 4-speed manual which would do nicely with just 64 hp on tap. Speaking of that, there are no engine photos but it should be a Mitsubishi 1.4L inline-four with around 64 hp, and it should look something like this. The 1.6L had a whopping 72 hp but it was only available with the automatic. And, the famous 1.6L turbo arrived in 1983, that would be the one to have. But, this interior saves this car for me. The exterior may be a scary, lurking monster under your bed of potential rust, but the interior is great. The dash looks as perfect as the back seat does as the front seats do! Nice. If you’re looking for a well-kept little commuter car that has had an oil change every 3,000 miles, and just needs new tires, and also needs to have new brake parts put on that are in the hatchback for the next owner, for $1,000 or less this would be hard to beat.