1973 Dodge Colt Hardtop Coupe

Ah, the Dodge Colt. This was from the height of the fuel crises of the 1970s that American auto makers just couldn't cope with. But since the Japanese already had a grip on well-made compact fuel-efficient cars, American consumers, especially in California, were turning to them fast. Dodge, ever crafty, made a deal with Mitsubishi to sell their models as Dodges in the U.S. Poof! All of a sudden, American cars were small, reliable, and fuel efficient. Except they weren't really American.

All that aside, consumers would rather have had the Colt than not, even if it was cloaked as a Dodge.

The first generation Mitsubishi/Dodge Colt was introduced in 1970 as a model year 1971 and lasted until 1973. These were extremely simple and basic cars, but they were enlivened by two things: a body design that, in 2-door form, was unusually tidy and cool looking, and a rear-wheel drive layout. The engine was a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that initially produced just 100 horsepower, but was later lowered due to stricter emissions regulations.

This is the rarer 2-door hardtop coupe, which lacks a b-pillar. It features a 4-speed manual transmission.

The sellers says they've been working on this car for a few years, and have given it a new coat of "stock" yellow paint, and welded some rust spots. Inside, they say it is original but re-upholstered the seats at a cost of $500.

Mechanically they say it runs but the cam chain makes noise, and the transmission may need a new mount.

These were sold briefly and many have already succumbed to usage and rust. They are hits on the JDM show circuit and still draw looks and people try to identify them. Honestly, with the original paint already gone, this could be ripe for a larger engine swap to make it a decent highway cruiser. Either way, it's a rare and nifty little car from an odd chapter in auto history.

Available here on ebay in Whittier, California.

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