Live Auctions

1978 Dodge Colt Needs to Come in from the Cold

Uh-oh, someone’s getting kicked to the curb, and it’s this appealing little 1978 Dodge Colt, being sold from Minneapolis. The listing is here on eBay and is above $3600 with the reserve not met. Larry D is the eagle eye who found this one for us.

What was a Dodge Colt? A rebadged Mitsubishi Lancer brought stateside and sold as a Dodge or Plymouth vehicle. This happened starting in 1971, and by 1978, the car/nameplate was in its third generation. At that point, the Colt was available as a two-door or four-door, plus as a small station wagon. The latter was built not on the Lancer platform, but was a rebadged Galant Sigma. For contemporary buyers of this car, note that the 1978 vintage might make for an issue with importation to California or some other “smog” states, so do your homework before raising the bidder’s paddle.

So why would you want this tiny gem? It’s apparently low mileage, though in need of some TLC, including fixing some upholstery tears and replacing two tires (a cheap enough fix that the seller should just do it rather than having to talk about it). The driver’s seat has seen a lot of wear, putting the as-shown 43,167 miles perhaps up for some doubt. Barnfinders of great expertise in this model might also weigh in on whether the car has AC—it looks like a dealer-installed blower rests under the dash, but maybe those are just the heater vents. Not so cool: that wide brake pedal that goes along with the fact that there’s no clutch pedal, but rather an automatic transmission that makes this a bit more of a grocery getter than a pocket rocket. Not that the car would scare you with acceleration from its 1.6-liter engine pumping out a massive 77 horsepower.

And then we visit the body/potential rust or rust repair question. Am I the only one who sees a Minnesota license plate and wonders what road salt has done to the car wearing it? Now, this problem in this case might be mitigated by three factors. First, there’s obvious rather heavy black undercoating on the underside of the floors. Second, there’s evidence of a notebook of gas consumption that comes with the car. Call me obsessive, but I do that too, and I believe that we notebookers are people who take care of our cars, so I’m extending the logic of that to say this wasn’t given any salt baths. This is also evidenced by the third factor I see here, which is the indication that the car is stored in the winter, made by referencing the fact that the car “traditionally . . . starts right up at the beginning of the season.” The beginning of the season is now over, but it might be fun to lodge this little car over the winter and prepare it for re-entry into the world in the show season of 2023.

 

Comments

  1. Brad460 Member

    While I havent had a colt, I did own a 78 Plymouth arrow back in the day and mine had the same 1.6L/auto combination as this car. Same dash too and those vents were also present in mine, even without ac. The stripe package typically signified the car as the slightly upscale GS version. Cheap, dependable transportation but dont expect to get anywhere fast. Acceleration is glacial and 70mph taxed the powertrain plenty.

    I’d seriously doubt this has spent much road time in the winter as these rusted very badly when exposed to salt. Neat little car though and definitely not something you see at car shows very often.

    Like 5
  2. Michelle H Rand Staff

    This car has virtues. Orig owner’s manual, nice trim, good color. Has a triple-A sticker on the bumper which is often a sign of a careful owner. Underside has cobwebs, which says “storage” to me. Seats were cheap in these so I could believe this one broke due to time, not miles. I love it. Clean the engine bay up so it shines, fix the seat, treat it to four new tires, and go to Cars ‘N Coffee!

    Like 4
  3. Bob C.

    I didn’t know the Lancer name was around that long for Mitsubishi. I used to think they borrowed it from Dodge because of their partnership.

    Like 1
  4. Psychofish2

    One of my friends hand an identical one. He’d picked it up as an old lady special and not long after traded it for a new ’84 Honda Civic hatch.

    Nice car.

    Like 2
  5. chrlsful

    2 more yrs or so later gets the double shifters?

    One model there abouts (Vista?) joined the pre mini van craze brought on by the chrysler. Honda RT, Toyota 4 W or AWD, Stanza, Mutsu and Eagle Summit, etc. May B the last of them (standing alone) was the Mazda 6 (rd/curb side sliders). The dodge colt vista cruiser (correct name?) was also 1 of ‘the car guys’, click’n clack (Magliozzi) – Tom’s anyway – fav cars. Like possibly the 1st, the ’56/67 Multipla – an econo box (w/box the operable word) of great utility and economy.
    Stretch it a bit, raise the roof a bit – but not so bad as to over weigh the-less-than-2L motors.

  6. bone

    Wow, really rare to see one of these around ! We always thought of Mitsubishi as having the lowest quality of the Aisian imports back then , they really rusted away quickly here on the East Coast and didnt take much abuse compared to the Toyotas , Datsuns and Hondas. They were basically all gone by the early to mid 1980s while their Asian counterparts were still chugging along

    Like 1
    • Emel

      Mitsubishi was still going in the 1990’s. They had a really nice sports car, the 3000 GT and they had a Sedan, the Galant…and a Sport Utility, Montero.
      And they sold quite a few Eclipses, which was like a Ford Probe. as far as size category.

      Like 3
      • bone

        Yes, Mitsu was, but their Colts were not, while the same vintage Corollas , etc. lived on

      • joenywf64

        Hard to believe Mitz is still around today, with all those cars gone.

  7. Emel

    77 HP. lol. I think my old Toro riding mower had more hp.

    Remember getting stuck behind these sometimes going up the mountains on the PA. Turnpike or other hilly areas in Western PA.

    Like 1
  8. John Traylor

    Bought a Dodge Colt as a second car back then and I friend my wife said “I’m glad you bought an American car”. Our other car was a Honda.

  9. Mitchell

    The father of a friend back then had one. A four door. After it
    a Galant. Very solid cars. No worries within ten years of daily
    usage. Nothing.
    He parked them dry but outside. After ten years he bet 100.-
    cash whether even i could fine one screw has rust.
    No rust found. Nothing.
    Good care kept them rustfree. Much better as the most
    German comparable cars of this era: Golf 1, Audi 80,
    BMW model 114, VW Passat, VW bug, mostly VW crap
    or crispy U.K.cars

  10. Mitchell

    The father of a friend back then had one. A four door. After it
    a Galant. Very solid cars. No worries within ten years of daily
    usage. Nothing.
    He parked them dry but outside. After ten years he bet 100.-
    cash whether even i could fine one screw has rust.
    No rust found. Nothing.
    Good care kept them rustfree. Much better as the most
    German comparable cars of this era: Golf 1, Audi 80,
    BMW model 114, VW Passat, VW bug, mostly VW crap
    or crispy U.K.cars
    Silent. Powerful. Mitsubishi

    • karl

      You must have lived where the only water around was in a bottle. These were serious rusters

  11. Mitchell

    The father of a friend back then had one. A four door. After it
    a Galant. Very solid cars. No worries within ten years of daily
    usage. Nothing.
    He parked them dry but outside. After ten years he bet 100.-
    cash whether even i could fine one screw has rust.
    No rust found. Nothing.
    Good care kept them rustfree. Much better as the most
    German comparable cars of this era: Golf 1, Audi 80,
    BMW model 114, E7 and E9, VW Passat, VW bug,
    mostly VW crap or crispy U.K.cars
    Silent. Powerful. Mitsubishi

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