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Chrysler and the Colt, Captive Economical Import Time (Half VII) - Pak Auto Services
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Chrysler and the Colt, Captive Economical Import Time (Half VII)

Chrysler and the Colt, Captive Economical Import Time (Half VII)

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We arrive on the finish of our Dodge Colt journey at this time. Colt began in 1971 as a cooperative program to offer Mitsubishi with a gross sales outlet in North America, and Chrysler with a compact and fuel-efficient automotive it didn’t should design or construct. Through the years the Colt developed with the wants of the buyer and branched out into a number of completely different physique kinds.

Ultimately, the tides shifted. Mitsubishi established their very own dealerships in the USA (however not Canada) and began promoting equivalent vehicles as had been on Dodge/Plymouth vendor tons. Then, as Eagle got here into being it additionally wanted product to promote. Chrysler turned Eagle into its de facto outlet for imports and Mitsubishi cooperative merchandise: Colts of standard and wagon persuasion turned Eagles referred to as Vista and Summit, along with their Dodge and Plymouth twins.

Final time we left our story it was the daybreak of 1993, and Colts had been badged at Eagle sellers as a brand new technology of Summit. The Vista Wagon title was useless, now referred to as Summit Wagon. Dodge, Plymouth, and Eagle sellers had an thrilling new Colt as effectively! Nevertheless it didn’t final lengthy.

The seventh-generation Dodge Colt and firm had been badge reworks of the fourth-generation Mitsubishi Mirage (or Colt, Lancer, or Libero) as they had been in previous generations. The fourth-generation Mirage grew way more fashionable wanting, and in some variations mimicked Peugeot styling a bit. Mirage entered manufacturing in October of 1991 for the 1992 mannequin 12 months. In most markets, it was out there in a number of completely different physique kinds. The smallest was two doorways like a coupe or three doorways as a capacious hatchback. There have been additionally two completely different sedans (oddly): The sportier sedan had 4 aspect home windows, whereas the extra formal one had six.

Like earlier than, the Mirage was front-wheel drive with non-obligatory four-wheel drive (in Mitsubishi’s custom of constructing very succesful small automobiles.) Engines diverse by market and ranged from a tiny naturally aspirated 1.3-liter inline-four by way of a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four. There have been additionally a few turbodiesel engines. Transmissions diverse from a torpid three-speed computerized to a four-speed auto, in addition to four- and five-speed manuals. Colts and Colt-Summit sedans and coupes in North America had been front-drive solely.

Mitsubishi supplied two wheelbases on the Mirage, the identical technique it used with the Expo and Expo LRV. The Mirage wagon was branded individually because the Libero, to separate it from Mirage heritage. Libero was bought solely within the Japanese market and was launched a 12 months after the opposite physique kinds. A standalone, the wagon was long-lived and a preferred automobile: It existed in its 1992 format by way of 2012 in Japan.

There have been quite a few manufacturing areas for the Mirage, which remained in its fourth technology guise from 1991 by way of 1995. Main Japanese manufacturing in Okazaki was supplemented by factories in New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, and even in the USA. Colts and Summits for North America had been constructed on the DSM manufacturing facility in Regular, Illinois alongside the Eclipse, Talon, and the like.

At Dodge, Plymouth, and Eagle sellers, the brand new seventh-gen Summit was a little bit of a divergence from its prior self. Whereas the Colt had lengthy been out there as a sedan or hatchback (and typically a wagon), its new 1993 guise noticed it out there as a sporty two-door coupe, or extra sedate four-door sedan. It was the six-window sedan model, the four-window was not imported to North America.

There have been two engine choices in 1993, a 1.5-liter 4G15, or a 1.8-liter 4G93. The 1.5 was a carryover from the prior technology and was part of the Astron engine sequence that debuted within the Colt in 1977. The 4G93 mill was a more moderen design, with 16 valves, twin overhead cams, and gasoline injection. Patrons of the bottom 1.5 had 92 horsepower at their proper foot, whereas the 1.8-liter supplied 113. Three- and four-speed automatics had been supplied in North America, however the one guide out there was the five-speed.

For its debut 12 months in 1993, the one strategy to get the 1.8-liter engine was with 4 doorways. In distinction, the sporty ES trim was eradicated from the Colt sedan however was introduced again for the coupe. It arrived in 1994 and was the one strategy to order the 1.8-liter engine in a two-door Colt.

Colt grew fairly a bit bigger in its seventh technology. Wheelbase elevated from a uniform 93.9 inches within the outgoing technology, into the aforementioned two-wheelbase setup. New Colts in two-door type had a 96.1-inch wheelbase. As a sedan, the wheelbase stretched to 98.4 inches. In different markets, the coupe and hatchback had been on the shorter wheelbase, whereas sedan and wagon had been the longest.

Total size elevated significantly as Colt grew extra fashionable: The tidy 158.7-inch measurement of 1992’s Colt sedan grew to 174 inches in 1993. Likewise, the coupe was a bigger automotive at 171 inches. The width elevated from 65.5 inches to 66.1. Curiously, the ES trim of the brand new Colt was a bit wider, at 66.5 inches due to its physique package. Top decreased marginally within the seventh technology, from 52 inches all the way down to 51.4 inches on the sedan, and 51.6 inches for the coupe.

Stylistically, the brand new Colt had little in frequent with its predecessor. Mitsubishi directed the Mirage away from its prior Galant-like styling and went for a form all its personal. Headlamps had been extra aerodynamic and had been paired with wraparound nook markers. The grille was nearly nonexistent on the brand new model, relegated to a skinny slat underneath the hood. The entrance finish appears to be like diverged for the primary time, because the coupe was a bit extra aero-focused and aggressive than the sedan.

The outside of each variations was extra curvaceous than earlier than and featured restricted trim that was body-colored as a substitute of black. Total, the look was very early-mid Nineties econobox, with each nook and element rounded or oval-shaped. The rear ends of each physique kinds had been way more swept again than earlier than and lacked the “small upright sedan” look of the outgoing Colt. Although the Colt/Summit sedan and coupe had been bought alongside the Colt Vista / Summit Wagon at sellers, that they had little to do with each other, appeared fully completely different, and had been out there solely in front-wheel drive.

And that is the place the story of the Colt concludes. The ultimate technology Colts and Summits had been an train to purchase time till the primary occasion occurred: Neon. On the finish of the 1994 mannequin 12 months, the usual Colts had been shortly dismissed from all sellers, as Neons began to reach for ’95. The Neon was extra fashionable, higher wanting, match into Chrysler’s styling, and was way more interesting to the common compact-car buyer.

The Neon was marketed as cool, contemporary, and younger, and mentioned advertising and marketing completely labored. Dodge and Plymouth sellers obtained the identical Neon with completely different trims (keep in mind Expresso?). The Dodge Colt Vista and Plymouth Vista continued on sale at their respective shops by way of 1996, just a little the rest of the Colt title.

Apparently, Eagle sellers continued of their full-on Colt love a bit longer: All three Summit variations remained on sale by way of 1996. One should marvel if there was any consideration given to an Eagle model of the Neon; maybe name it the Hatchling. In Summit world, for 1995 a passenger-side airbag was added to all Summit fashions to complement the motive force’s aspect bag that arrived in 1994. ES trims had been renamed to ESi. In contrast to Colts, the Summit was out there in ES/ESi trim on each the sedan and coupe. After 1996, the smallest factor Eagle supplied was the Talon.

The 1996 Summit lineup was really the epitome of Colt. That they had essentially the most security options, the nicest trim, and essentially the most fashionable styling. Costs that ultimate 12 months ranged from $10,625 ($19,523 adj.) for a DL coupe to $11,689 ($21,478 adj.) for an ESi Coupe. The sedan began in LX trim at $13,072 ($24,020 adj.), and was $12,869 ($23,647 adj.) as an ESi. Summit Wagon was bought as DL for $15,034 ($27,625 adj.), LX at $16,272 ($29,900 adj.), and in AWD trim at $16,909 ($31,070 adj.). Humorous, that $637 distinction ($1,170 adj.) is a bit lower than the $2,000+ charged in a contemporary crossover for all-wheel drive.

And so it was that 1996 had been the final traces of Colt in North America. Over on Mitsubishi tons (nonetheless not in Canada), a brand new Mirage arrived for 1997 that was a dimension class up because it graduated from subcompact to compact. A few years later Mitsubishi would sever ties with the Colt branding completely when it modified the Mirage title out for a way more profitable one: Lancer.

[Images: Chrysler]

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