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Captive Mopar Import: 1971 Dodge Colt

In the early 1970s, U.S. automakers took different approaches to fielding subcompact cars. Ford and Chevy went with new designs, AMC took an existing product and modified it, and Dodge decided to rebadge a Japanese import. Such was the case with this 1971 Dodge Colt, which was a Colt Galant manufactured by Mitsubishi, a car they would deploy through 1978. This first-year 2-hardtop looks to be in great condition and has some new parts and pieces. Located in Orange, California, this Japanese Dodge is available here on craigslist for $12,000. This tip is brought to us by Barn Finder “numskal”!

First-generation Colts were built from 1971 to 1973 across a variety of body styles. They were typical of how cars were built in the day with a front-mounted 1.6-liter inline-4 and rear-wheel drive. While a 4-speed manual transmission was standard, an automatic was available and that’s how the seller’s car was built. With a really strange console for the shifter that looks like it was shoehorned after the fact. So, the Colt went to work to take market share away from the American-built Pinto, Vega, and Gremlin, along with the likes of other Japanese-built cars like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.

This Colt has just 61,000 miles, not a lot for a vehicle that’s been around for 52 years. You don’t see many of these around anymore, in part because they were rust-prone and because they didn’t sell in numbers like the Detroit cars. We’re told it runs and drives well and has new tires on Japanese aftermarket rims that add to the stance of the auto.

The orange-like paint may or may not be original, but the vinyl top has just been redone and looks very nice (if you’re into these types of roofs). There’s no reason that we can see why you couldn’t use this as a daily driver or pop into Cars & Coffee from time to time. The seller has provided a video for your further investigation.


  1. doug

    That price is laughable.

    Like 19
  2. angliagt angliagt

    Looks like the same car that’s been featured here three times,
    with some work done on it,& custom wheels,and re-registered in

    Like 4
    • Rumpledoorskin

      They were all this color in 71 and came standard with that bend in the front valance, for extra air flow to the oil cooler. Besides, this one has that atrocious center console that looks totally fact-ree.

      Like 7
  3. Robert Proulx

    I cant believe that console. If it was black at least i’d say ok but can’t believe that Dodge and Mitsu had that color as factory. Vinyl roof i like it don’t look like an eyesore. The carb looks fairly recent but i’d ask if the owner still has the factory air cleamer. Do i see headers ? Cute yes, but 12 G’s is out of the question

    Like 5
    • Ffred

      That console is someone’s imagination gone wild.. with wood and a router. Horrible.

      Like 3
  4. Big C

    Did Mitsu have an engine called a “Saturn?”

    Like 3
    • Marques Dean

      Yes they did. The Saturn engine (also known as the 4G3 was an OHC engine used by Mitsubishi from 1969 to 1999.
      It used a cast-iron block and aluminum head. Early versions used timing chains while later versions used timing belts and balance shafts.
      Displacement ranged from 1.2 to 1.8 liters.(1,239 to 1,755 ccs). It originally started out using a Mikuni built Solex carburetor but later transitioned to central point EFI.

      Like 7

    Neat little car, but I bet it takes 25 seconds to get to 60 with that slushbox. And $12k is about seven grand too much.

    Like 4
  6. Nostromo

    These were positioned well when the first Arab Oil Embargo hit in late-’73. A neighbor two doors down from my family had a Colt in the pre-embargo period. Reedman’s in Langhorne sold them. I would not have given these Colts a second look back then but this example has captured my imagination being such a well-preserved throwback.

    Like 4
  7. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    I remember someone I knew had a 75 Colt 2 headlights and it was red body black interior set up. 1600 engine like this 71 but dual side daft Webers and headers with a cam 4 speed manual. Dual chrome tip. Very fast Colt and loud. The 1600 engine is a good motor and a lot can be done to it . But this 71 being a automatic is a dog. I drove these back in the 70’s and yes they rusted real bad . But if you undercoat it or Zebar it would last a very long time. The center console I never saw that design. But the Automatic did has a console some didn’t. Being a 71 4 headlights this is a $8,000-9,000 car. It’s a fun unique ride. Good luck to the seller. 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 4
  8. CCFisher

    That console is a home-made, wooden unit. I’m surprised nobody has called that out yet.

    Like 4
    • Rumpledoorskin

      I didn’t think anyone would believe me. It is clearly homemade woodwork and hideous.

      Like 3
  9. Davey Boy

    My ex had a 78 in 83 that she had gotten from her mom. I drove that car from S.L.C UT. To 60 miles north of Elko NV. Every weekend for a year and never had a problem with it the whole time. Good gas mileage and drove quite well at 80 mph all the way. Never had a complaint. Good little car.

    Like 8
  10. TomP

    This car was super economical, for the budget-minded consumer. Back in the mid-1980’s my poor sister decided to become a millionaire. She bought this same car (but in yellow) for $200 and drove it for 1 1/2 years while she worked two jobs and saved her money. She also temporarily rented a junky apartment $200 per month. At the end of 1 1/2 years she emptied her bank account and put it all into investments. She retired at 21 years old a millionaire. She’s 65 now and hasn’t worked in thirty-five years. Thanks to the yellow Dodge Colt.

    Like 8
    • Big C

      Buy it for the grandkids. Magic might strike twice!

      Like 1
  11. DON

    My parents had a beautiful lil ’78 till I hit ice and then a steel post and ruined that lil car… while we had it, it was a GREAT car! Great mileage and just enough pep! MITSY knew how to build em!

    Like 2
  12. Jasper

    Thought the console was painted red. Just zoomed in and saw it was actually wood. Looks like someone left a grandfather clock between the seats.

    Love this body style. This, the Manta, Capri, Mazda RXs etc. were really neat little cars. Economy with style and a little pep. Quarter mile be damned, but they’d go around a curve!

    This one pops up every few years. Seems it had a fair amount of rust in the rockers or lower fenders. Didn’t notice if it had been dealt with. Really needs a manual swap.

    Like 2
    • TomP

      Huh? Poor grammar, hard to read.

      Like 2
    • Bailsout

      I had no problem reading your post. Concise and to the point, and good content.

      Like 0
  13. GSP Enthusiast

    Reminds me of the Corolla SR5 (1972) I owned. Talk about a rust bucket!

    Like 0
    • angliagt angliagt

      The SR5 Corolla didn’t come out until ’74.

      Like 0
  14. Bruce

    Sorry, but I think the owner is pissing in the wind regarding the price it’s not as if the vehicle is in concourse condition ,and that consul looks hideous to say the least. If you are asking that sort of price present the vehicle in a detailed fashion .

    Like 1
  15. Bailsout

    I had a ‘72 Datsun 1200 2dr but not a hardtop, had the pillar. But the same lines. Was there a sharing with Datsun? I know most generations of cars show a similar look…

    Like 0
    • nlpnt

      No relation. This was the Mitsubishi Galant, a segment bigger in Japan. It competed with the Datsun 510 and Toyota Corona while the 1200 (Sunny) competed with the Corolla and Mitsu Lancer (sold here later in the ’70s as the Dodge Colt “Mileage-Maker”).

      Like 0

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