Pocket Rocket Project: 1985 Dodge Colt GTS Turbo

Pocket Rocket is a term that almost seems to have been invented for this 1985 Dodge Colt GTS Turbo. Or, pocket rocket project maybe, although that doesn’t roll off of the tongue quite as well. This little project pocket rocket can be found here on Craigslist in Merriam, Kansas, just southwest of one of the great cities in the U.S. – Kansas City. The seller is asking $3,500 and they say that the “price is slightly adjustable”. Thanks to Roger for sending in this Colt GTS Turbo tip!

The seller talks about having seven Dodge Colts, which is cool, but I always wonder why anyone sells a vehicle if they like it. I have loved the vehicles that I have sold in the last couple of years, but time had just run its course on dumping too many thousands of dollars into them and being way upside down on value. I don’t know if that’s the case here, but $3,500 seems like all of the money and then some for a Colt in this condition, even a rare GTS Turbo. You can see the bumpers are missing both front and rear in the photos, but they do come with the car. You’ll have to check out the Craigslist ad, there is a list of good and bad items and it’s a pretty extensive list for both counts. Unfortunately, for as much writing as there is, there are only four lone photos, ugh.

The steering wheel looks perfect as does everything that I can see here on the interior, other than a missing cover plate/clock (?) in the dash to the right of the heater controls. This is a twin-stick model and even the boot looks good as do the tiny portions of the front seats that we can see and the carpet. As always, I want to see more, more, MORE photos! Showing only four photos in 2018 is verging on unforgivable, in 2019 it should be illegal. The seller’s opening paragraph talks about their seven Colts, and that “this car had been stored in an old garage that was sealed for most of its life i paid very little money for the car and got it running the car has 85,540 miles and purrs like a kitten i WOULD NOT drive it until some serious work is done to it”. That’s a bummer to hear. Hopefully, it can be reliably driven again without a ton of work and money spent on it.

The engine should be Mitsubishi’s 4G32 turbo, a 1.6L powerhouse with 102 hp. I know, 102 hp, whoopie! Really, if you get a chance to try one of these things, I’m guessing that even the most jaded of you would be a convert, or at least would have to honestly admit that it’s a super fun car to drive. Here is a MotorWeek review of a 1984 Colt GTS Turbo on YouTube. The seller says that this car “weighs a little under 1500 lbs”, but they actually weighed just under 2,000 pounds. Still, that’s a light car and it’s a fun car to drive. If a person can check off a few things from the “bad” list for not much money, this would be a fun little project.



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  1. Miguel

    The last year for this body style was 1984.

    If you haven0t read the write up on Craigslist, you should. It is really funny, and sad at the same time.

    Like 1
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      You are correct, sir. That’s a typo from too much spiked egg nog or something. I absolutely knew that and I remember thinking: don’t forget to change the date, don’t forget to change the date, don’t forget to change the date. My apologies.

      Like 2
      • Miguel

        I wish I could find another Colt or Champ in good condition.

        They just don’t seem to be around anymore.

        Like 1
  2. DayDreamBeliever Member

    Yep, ’84.
    What is sad is that for a guy who has a bunch of Colts, he either doesn’t know very much about them, or he likes to tell tall ones to potential buyers. ALL of this generation Turbo models had the 8-speed Twin Stick. ALL of them. In ’85, they did go to a 5-speed, but again, this is from ’84.

    Scotty has done his homework on this posting, indeed the cars scale in the 1900 pounds range somewhere, but without the bumpers, at the bottom of that range. Unfortunately, the #1 killer of this body style was rust, and that is fairly certain to be an issue with this Colt. One of the maddening things about my ’83 GTS was that the bumpers had defective steel. They’d rust no matter how you tried to stop it. Might be why they are not in these photos. There was a few of this body which had an aluminum bumper set; finding those would be tough now, but maybe, just maybe….

    There was one mechanical fault which tended to show up in the Turbo cars at about this mileage. A friend who had one said it involved a retainer clip in the transmission which would wear thin and then break, therefore disconnecting the internals in such a way that no power would be sent to the wheels.

    As for the assertion that there were only 200 “black edition” cars made, I don’t have a way to verify that. Two of my friends in N. Ohio/S. Michigan had black ones, and two had gray ones. One of the guys was a mechanic. He adapted an intercooler from a Fuego, and increased the fuel flow. It was fast.

    Like 3
    • Miguel

      DayDreamBeliever, this is something I don’t think I would ever put in an ad.

      “i paid very little money for the car and got it running”

      Or this

      “there is no specific reason i’m selling this i’m just getting frustrated with this car”

      He doesn’t list the missing bumpers as a bad.

      I don’t think an official black edition ever existed.

      I am sure my “Orange Edition” 1979 Colt would be worth a ton of money today.

      Like 5
  3. Billy1

    I remember these when they first came out. I was looking at a Starion and the salesman told me he had one of these on the highway a few days earlier. He had it to the floor and a state trooper clocked him at 122 mph. He said the trooper was pi$$ed as hell for driving that fast.But salesman insisted to the trooper that it was a 1.6 econobox, and there was no way it could even top a 100. The trooper let him go with a warning.

    Like 5
  4. LAB3

    If this car is considered a rocket then maybe I should start paying attention to those websites that claim we never landed on the moon.

    Like 3
    • Dave

      You gotta remember that this car was from an era when computers had a turbo button on them. Everything was relative.

      Like 1
  5. CanuckCarGuy

    The era of the econobox sleeper was among the best…it served to kick-start the manufacturers’ interest in horsepower once again. Ultimately, allowing us to climb out of the fuel economy abyss and into a world of speed and handling.

    Like 1
  6. Todd Fitch Staff

    Hey Scotty, nice find and write-up! I had one of these, an ’84 I bought “as-is” for $700 in nearly perfect condition except I suspected it had a stripped timing belt. Luckily not an interference motor and one $35 timing belt later it was rocking and rolling. My wife put 30,000 miles on it in one year. It ran brilliantly. With its original cheap tires it would smoke one tire all the way through first and again when the boost came on *before* you shifted into third. Another bonus = nearly any repair can be accomplished with a 10mm wrench. I used to joke about the “Mitsubishi Toolkit,” a 10mm wrench in a velvet-lined box. Thanks for the memories!

    Like 11
  7. h5mind

    Very fun cars to drive- when the turbo kicked in the steering wheel would twitch enthusiastically from the torque steer.

    Like 1
  8. Dustin

    So he claims this is a ‘Black Edition’ and there were only 200 made. I’m assuming the ‘Black Edition’ was just a GTS with black paint and gold trim? If that’s the case, I’m curious about what appears to be blue paint (door, fender, and hood) peeking out from under what I’m assuming was a black repaint that wasn’t prepped properly and therefore chipped/peeled off.

  9. 433jeff

    I wonder what is rarer, to find one of these in nice shape, or someone interested enough to pay the 3500$. I do however respect the power to weight ratio

    Like 3
  10. Gunner

    I was a professional mechanic for over 20 years and had seen my fair share of these cars in the NW. I remember them having computer problems and not being able to source any at a reasonable price, and that was @ about 100k and the cost on computer was worth more than the car

  11. Bill Clark

    I have 3. White, Red and Silver. The black one is one I wanted. The rear window louvers were an add on. I used to autocross the white one for years in the 1980s. My son started sutocrossing the same car in 2013 or so. Still s fun car in class.

    They had non-water cooled turbos that rarely lasted over 75k miles. I used Redline or Mobil 1 oil in mine but had to change it out at about 80k miles. I replaced it with the 1995 water cooled version. It is still going.

    The twin stick “8” speed made the perfect autocross car. You could shift about a half a year with the twin stick. You could always find the right hear for the course. The short wheelbase made it easy to get around the cones. The suspension was way too soft and it was always on 3 wheels in a corner.

    They made intercoolers for them that used the other side of the grill for the intercooler since the radiator only took up half. I always wanted to do that.

    Fun cars. Find me a nice black and gold one.

    Like 1
  12. DayDreamBeliever Member

    And this guy thinks he has an ’87 model, LOL


    But look, it has the bright bumpers, either chrome or polished aluminum!

  13. Bryan W Cohn

    We raced against these in SSB in ’87 & ’88 with our Peugeot 505 Turbo. On short, tight tracks like Blackhawk Farms north of Rockford, IL the Colt turbo was a fast little car, very capable. On longer courses they were toast, simply could not keep up power wise. At a track like road America it was over before the green flag ever fell.

    We looked hard at the Colt/Mirage Turbo that followed this car in ’89 (I think). That car was a whole different story using a 1600cc DOHC engine with turbo and intercooler. It was bloody quick and won the SCCA Runoffs in ’90 I think.

    I’m liking this and its 30 miles from home……..

    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Likely that you raced against the generation between the listing subject and the one-year ’89 model. Those cars would have been sold in model years 1985 – 1988. Mitsubishi Mirage pictured.
      The year the ’89 DOHC 1.6L ’89 car won was 1991, Gerald Alaimo driving a Mitsubishi Mirage version, at Road Atlanta. He was kind enough to speak with me on the phone a couple of times, as I had just gotten one of the Colts, and was autocrossing it. I still have that car, plus another Colt for parts, and a Mirage which may run again someday…. Those cars are not intercooled as you recall, just a water-cooled turbo. The weak spot on the ’89 car when raced is the front hub bearings, particularly the left side. Gerry told me that he took three uprights with fresh bearings to every race, and made a swap after practice and qualifying, starting fresh for the race. After the checkered flag, the bearings would be shot! I can confirm, after just once running my car at Waterford Hills. Grease was streaming out of the LF bearing within a couple of laps, so I never tracked the car again.

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