Stored For 31 Years: 1976 Dodge Colt Wagon

Looking literally like a captive instead of just a captive import, this 1976 Dodge Colt wagon is a barn find according to the seller. It has been parked since 1989 and that 31 years of being out of the elements has preserved it in much better cosmetic condition than if it would have been in use for all those years. They have it listed here on craigslist in the Healdsburg/Windsor, California area, and are asking $3,000. Thanks to Pat L. for sending in this tip!

It cleaned up pretty well, no? Fantastic! It’s rare to find a Dodge Colt of any vintage looking this solid let alone one from the mid-70s. It does look like a little time capsule. This is a one-owner car which is even more amazing. The second-generation Colt was made for four years, from 1974 to 1977 and they were based on the Mitsubishi Galant.

This car is incredibly tempting so far for me. The bumpers are an unfortunate government safety requirement but I bet that smaller bumpers from another market could be sourced. I might keep it the way it looks now, though, just for the historic factor of seeing one in original condition. The seller says that it’s rust-free, my absolute two favorite words on the planet when it comes to vintage cars.

The seller rates the exterior as a 9 out of 10 and I agree. They also rate the interior as a 9 out of 10 and it’s hard to argue with that. I really don’t see a flaw in this car so far, at least one that would worry me about buying it sight unseen. The 5-speed manual is a nice touch. The seats look like new both in the front and in the rear and the rear cargo area also looks great. What’s not to like about this car?

Ok, maybe this is why. This is Mitsubishi’s 4G52, a 2.0L inline-four with around 90 hp. The seller says that it doesn’t run and needs to be rebuilt. That’s all the detail that they go into but it puts a new light on the killer deal $3,000 price. The engine is small and light enough that most folks could rebuild it without too much problem. I rebuilt a 1.2L Toyota four-cylinder in an unheated one-car garage 39 years ago and if I can do it, anyone can. Can this car be saved?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    I thought these were some of the best Asian cars. I find it hard to believe it needs TO BE rebuilt. In northern climates, these ran forever. The only thing I can think of, is in Cal. it must have overheated. Rust was the kiss of death for so many, and some of these motors became early APU’s for semi’s. Not sure where you’d find another motor today, or parts for that matter. As is, in the real world, maybe a $500 car, tops. And the “title in hand”, must be a Cal. thing. I never hear anyone else saying that.

    Like 5
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      “Title in hand” is common around the area of the South where I live. When pressed, it usually comes out that the seller is in contact with the owner of the car who will find paper at the last minute in their file cabinet at home. Or, the seller hasn’t gone to any trouble legally putting the car in their name (required in TN). “Title in hand” is almost as common as “ran when parked” or “needs restored” in Craigslist ads around here. :)

  2. DayDreamBeliever Member

    To heck with the rebuild.

    Pull the engine and keep it for the next guy, and put another drivetrain in it. 4G63 at least. It would fly…. (yea, do brakes and suspension too.)

    Like 4
  3. Rex Kahrs Member

    The world needs more yellow cars these days.

    Like 18
  4. Stevieg

    I looked on car-part.com & a yard in New York has a 49,000 mile engine for this car for $525.00. I like the idea of leaving it stock because you just don’t see them anymore, and when you do, they are lowered & “riced out”, as my son calls it. This is just too nice to do that too.
    So, the seller is down to $2,500 now, $525 for the engine, figure $1,200 to ship the car to Milwaukee, $300 to ship the engine to Milwaukee, $1,000 for brake lines, fuel lines, tires, rubber components, so on (incidentals), additional $100 for pizza and beer. I would have about $6,000 into it. Wish I could do it, but I can’t at this point. I hope it goes to a great home.

    Like 9
    • Jimbo

      Only $100 for beer? You should budget at least $500. Just in case you find something else wrong with it.

      Like 10
      • Stevieg

        Lol very true.

        Like 2
  5. Jim C

    Love this! Wish it were nearer to me. Change the bumpers? No way. I’d fix it up the way it is. What a rare find!!!

    Like 10
  6. swm

    I am getting old. I remember when Mitsubishi was considered among the elite of Japanese Auto manufacturers.

    Like 8
  7. Wayne

    These are really strong little cars. I would be tempted to install a 2.6 from a Fire Arrow if I could find one. But even without the “big engine” it would look like a rally car with big driving and fog lights if I bought it? I just can’t look at a rwd Colt and not think rally car. I guess it’s just in my blood. Even if it’s a wagon.
    Hmmm, only about a 4.5 to 5 hour drive for me. Maybe………
    Damn, I really don’t NEED another project at this time.
    Good luck to who ever buys it. I hope it’s one of us so we can be kept informed on its progress.

    Like 4
  8. Steve R

    Drifting is very popular in that area, they love old rear wheel drive imports like this. I can picture one of them buying this wagon when the price comes down a bit further and doing an engine/transmission swap with a late model driver train, lowered a few inches and with some Mini-lites or dish mags. This would make a perfect support vehicle, it could carry several people and a spare set of tires, some chairs and a cooler.

    Someone will step up at some point and buy this car, it has too much potential, whoever acts first, decides it’s fate.

    Steve R

    Like 1
  9. Luke Fitzgerald

    That is a buy – someone go get it

    Like 3
  10. Herman

    Back in the day, MOPAR Performance offered a kit in the catalog to convert these to a small block v-8. Think about this with a 340? Done out of their catalog.

    Like 3
  11. Jerry

    Killer deal at $3,000!!??
    In RUNNING condition, thats worth about “maybe” $1,200….ho hum car….NOTHING special at all about it, only plus I see is the manual trans…..and to a lot of drivers thats a minus!
    “Everything” old isnt valuable.

    Like 1
    • KARL

      I guess its a nostalgia thing , they were tinny , under powered little cars. and the only thing they had going for them was good gas mileage . These cars didn’t last long on the East Coast at all. That being said ,its probably one of the few left in original condition from that era , and as a survivor it would be nice to see it brought back to life.

  12. Mountainwoodie

    I’m drawing the line at this one.

  13. Chris Londish Member

    Here in Australia these were a Chrysler Galant with a 1.6 litre motor with the 5spd or automatic transmission a great little car, also available as a 4 dr sedan and 2 dr coupe

    Like 1
  14. chrlsful

    nutting needed for me but a battery, key and some eather. I got the rest.
    Wish it wuzz auto as I’d daily it. Luv CL cars, hate fleeBay’n FB Mrkt Pl.

    Wagons this size up to ‘intermediates’ (60s/70s) were mine for 50 yrs (falcon, dart, wolwo, K car, fox, subie, wagavan). All ways wanted an mpv (’80s – the pre-mini vans Eagel, Stanza, Muitsu).

    Like 2
  15. WH

    I always wanted a 2dr GT model with the 5spd. I doubt there are any around.
    The asian cars from that era were so much more fun to drive and better looking.

    Like 1
  16. djkenny

    $3000, Though? This will need about $2000 to be at Okay. $1300, “maybe”.

  17. ramblergarage

    I sold my 79 Colt red and white edition last year for $3300. and the body wasnt near as nice as that one.

    Like 2
  18. Rob

    Funny how this is almost a twin for the 1971 Datsun 510 I had, about the same color too, at first I thought the ad title was wrong. Mine was a 4 sp. 4 cyl, is that a
    “slant 4”? looks odd. I have a pic of mine, but can’t send it here?

    Like 1
  19. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    I hope that a Barn Finds reader snagged this great looking Colt?!
    Here is the original craigslist ad.

    Like 1
    • Rob

      Yeah, I think Nisson was producing this car, it’s pretty much a twin to the 1971 Datsun 510 I had, and my brother had the 4 door sedan.

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