Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5k: 1984 Dodge Colt GTS

The Dodge Colt was a USDM version of Mitsubishi Japanese market cars - originally the rear-wheel-drive Galant and later the front-wheel-drive Mirage.  The Colt was a subcompact with a cheap entry price and basic features that makes for an excellent winter beater or cheap car to thrash around.  This 1984 Dodge Colt GTS Turbo comes with the novel "Twin-Stick" manual transmission and is for sale on ebay currently bidding at $2,800 with 5 days left to go (thanks to tip from Andy L).

The Dodge Colt wasn't a particularly good car in any sense of the word.  It was poorly assembled, under engineered and cheap.  But it excelled at providing bang-for-buck hot-hatch excitement for the unwashed masses.  Automotively, it is the exact opposite of the Mercedes 500E we featured yesterday.  The 500E was autobahn fast, well built, serene at speed and isolates its owners from the outside world; this hatch is slow, built by drunks, twitchy in parking lot maneuvers and will share with its driver every type of understeer, bump and engine noise. If the Mercedes is a proud German Shorthaired Pointer Best of Show winner at the Westminster Kennel Club - this Dodge is your Uncle Louie's half-Chihuahua half-Shepard mutt that is always humping your leg and pissing on the furniture.

The heart of the Colt is a 1.6 liter Mitsubishi 4G32 inline 4 turbocharged and intercooled gasoline engine putting out 102 horsepower.  It used a unique 8 speed manual transmission - actually a 4 speed trans mated to a 2 speed transfer case.  This power is put down to the front wheels and isn't enough to really induce General Motors levels of inside wheel spin - and the car is light enough to feel 'peppy' and fun when pushed.

The inside of this Colt is free of "tears, bad smells, stains, or cracks" according to the seller and we hope its true because we don't like any of those things in our cars.  Especially - crack is not allowed in our cars; dash, cocaine, plumbers or other.

Somehow the builders of the Colt decided a giant turbo emblem would cover up the fact that this car was slow, ugly and generally unreliable...which we sort of agree with.  The feel of a good turbo kicking in is enough to forgive many faults, but we still think the Colt needs to be put to pasture.

See another glue factory candidate?  email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. This got me thinking about my friend's Omni GLH and wondering: Did Dodge sell the Colt and the Omni at the same time? Wikipedia says: Colt 1971-1994, Omni 1978-1990. What would a same year, same condition GLH be priced at?

    1. I don't think the Turbo Colt here with the 2x4 speed transmission was available any year besides 1984. The Dodge Omni GLH Turbo was sold in 1985 and 1986. In 1986 and 1987 the Omni GLH-S Shelby turbo model was available. I would imagine that an Omni GLH Turbo 85-86 would probably be comparable in value to the 84 Colt turbo, but a little cheaper. The GLH-S is much more collectable and in it's own category price-wise. I owned an 85 Omni GLH Turbo in high school, and it was flimsy, but it was also reliable and very fast. All of these 80's turbo dodge hatchbacks have a small cult following, and I would love to own another one someday.

    2. You're right. I had a '84 GTS Turbo and it was a one-year only car.

      1984 was the first year for the turbo, and the last year for the champ/colt bodystyle and the 4x2 transmission.

      There were parts on national back order back in 1989, I shutter to think where to find some drivetrain parts today.

  2. Seeing one of these in operating condition is AWESOME. I always loved the "twin shift"/turbo combo - weird and twitchy with lots of moving parts to break! But not Zombie Proof. Definitely NOT Zombie Proof...


  3. Not usually the kind of car I'd get excited about, but I totally understand the bidding enthusiasm for this one. Low mileage, good condition, uncommon, and most importantly, previously owned by a known and admired auto journalist (who assuredly maintained it to a very high standard). I know I'm going against the grain on this one, but I think it's cool. (Not the kind of cool where I'd bid on it, but cool nonetheless.)

  4. I owned one. I loved it. One of the finest cars I have ever owned. You snobs can take your review and shove it where it belongs.


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