This little Colt isn’t what it appears to be. Under the hood lives a 2.6-liter turbocharged engine from a 1989 Mitsubishi Starion, which the seller says has been fitted with a larger turbo and a few other performance goodies. The result? A quick little cruiser that can surprise more modern imports, all while looking like an unassuming early ’70s econocar.
Dodge imported the Colt starting in 1971. It was built by Mitsubishi and aimed at the Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega. But in reality, it was a better competitor to other Japanese imports from Mazda, Toyota, and Datsun. And it had the added bonus of being badged by one of the big three, which undoubtedly helped sales in the U.S.
The only exterior tip-off to this car’s modifications are the super skinny front wheels and fatter rears, which look a lot like what you’d see on drag cars of the period. Otherwise, this thing is box-stock in appearance, even down to the original tan paint. The seller says it’s rust-free.
Under the hood, the 2.6-liter engine installation was a clean one — this isn’t a hack job, but rather a complete swap, including the Starion’s 5-speed manual transmission. A 3-stage pressure plate was used, along with a bronze clutch.
Originally a California car (and still on California plates), this Colt appears to be in great shape. Car people have come to expect Plain-Jane mainstream Novas and Mustangs to be packing unexpected surprises under their hoods. This thing will almost certainly fly under their radar. See the listing here.