When you think of a classic car probably you picture an MG or perhaps a polished well-treasured Jaguar, but it’s unlikely that the Mitsubishi Colt will be foremost on your mental list. However, at close to 50 years old the Colts you can get new these days are the result of half a century of enhanced, clever design and style, causing them to be an unseen modern day classic.
The very first Colt models were first shown at the 9th Tokyo Motorshow in 1962.The 5-seat, 2 door Mitsubishi Colt 600 was driven by an air-cooled 594 cc twin cylinder OHV engine along with a top speed of 62mph. Produced in Mitsubishi’s Okazaki manufacturing facility the passenger sedan, a successor to the well-known Mitsubishi 500 Super Deluxe, placed second and third in the under 600 cc class of the 1963 Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Colt 600’s clever stream-lined design was born from the requirement to exploit local Japanese tax and insurance regulations, and in most countryside regions it was exempted from the necessity to certify that satisfactory parking was available for the car.
Following the popularity of the 600 design the larger compact Colt 1000 was created in 1963, followed by the Colt 800 and Colt 1500 in 1965, and also the Colt 1100 in 1966. As Mitsubishi Motors started to expand globally the English were initially treated to an altogether different meaning of the Colt brand, as all Mitsubishis were sold under that marque in the United Kingdom by the freshly established Colt Car Company.It wasn’t until 1984 that this naming protocol was eliminated, bringing Mitsubishi firmly as a brand name into the UK.
In the Seventies Japan was hit by a petrol crisis and many car makers responded with economical revisions to their lines. Mitsubishi’s solution was the 3-door front wheel drive Mirage with innovative ‘Supershift’ transmission and a distinct large-windowed design. While not called a Colt in Japan the range was released in the United States as the Dodge Colt and Plymouth Champ and the innovative Colt specifications scooped the highest United States Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy rating that year. In Britain the Mirage again fell within the marque of the Colt and was distinguished from other models by engine size, with the names Colt 1200 and Colt 1400.
This is just the start of the story, a tale which carries on today with the contemporary Colt models, such as the innovative MiEV along with the intelligently developed Colt Cleartec, giving everyone the means to drive a classic piece of history which is leading the way in to the future.