Introduced in 1970 as a 1971 model, the Dodge Colt was Dodge’s response to the AMC Gremlin, Chevrolet Vega, and Ford Pinto. Based on the first-generation Mitsubishi Colt Galant, it was one of the first captive imports and offered the Mitsubishi brand its first federalized product to be sold in the United States. The Dodge Colt never received the attention it deserved, being overshadowed by Dodge’s muscle car lineup consisting of Coronets, Chargers, Challengers, Monacos, Polaras, and Darts.
The Dodge Colt was available in four different body configurations, a two-door pillared coupe, two-door hardtop coupe, four-door sedan, and a five-door station wagon. The Colt featured a traditional unibody layout, front-engine, and rear-wheel drive with MacPherson struts in front and a live rear axle. With a tiny 95-inch wheelbase, the Colt produced had a racing pedigree on the international stage with a number of victories in Japan and an international win at the 1972 Southern Cross Rally.
This 1973 Dodge Colt 1600 Custom is headed to cross the auction block this Thursday, October 7th, at the Mecum Las Vegas event. It is one of only a handful of 1600 Custom models that were imported to North America. This particular vehicle was purchased new for a Dodge dealer in Vancouver, British Columbia back in November 1973 as a display car.
This cold is a particular special model was optioned as a 1 of 1 coupe with white vinyl top, white deluxe interior, and in the hardtop-exclusive 055 paint code also known as “Bright Red”. The car’s interior has been restored to its original specification with the factory white bucket seats, white rear bench seat, black dash, and “1600” door panels. Even the original 4-speed shifter is there with the factory black-styled knob shifter.
Under the hood, there is a 1.6-liter 1,597cc (97.5 cubic-inch) four-cylinder also known as the “Saturn” series engine delivering a blistering 83 horsepower@ 5,600 rpm and 89 ft.-lb. of torque @ 3,600 rpm. The 164.3-inch long Colt had a top speed of 99 mph and has a base curb weight of 2,055 lbs.
As we said, this car comes with a 4-speed manual transmission and 0 to 60 mph in 11.2-seconds and the 1/4-mile in 18.2-seconds according to the original Dodge information booklets.
The car comes equipped with a brand-new set of custom 14-inch Panasport wheels with period-correct BFGoodrich radial T/A tires.
At the time, the Colt with the 1.6-liter engine was rated for 21.4 mpg (9.1 L/100 km) city and 25.7 mpg (11 L/100 km) highway. That may not seem like much in today’s world, but when you had big 7.2-liter (440 cubic-inch) MAGNUM V8s and 7.0-liter (426 cubic-inch) HEMI V8s sucking down fuel in the single digits, it was a huge improvement for the time.
Right about the time that this car arrived in North America, in October 1973 members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries led by Saudi Arabia proclaimed an oil embargo. It led to the first fuel crisis and pretty much an end to the muscle car era, which had already be on the decline due to extreme insurance premiums.
With gas prices on the rise today, the first fuel crisis had regular gasoline prices rise more than 43% between May 1973 (38.5¢/gallon) to June 1974 (55.1¢/gallon) in the United States.
For more information on how to bid on this car, you can visit the Mecum auction website and look at LOT# T162.
1973 Dodge Colt 1600 Custom Image Gallery: