Mitsubishi Colt 1000

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The Mitsubishi Colt was one of their first series of passenger cars produced by Shin Mitsubishi Heavy-Industries, Ltd, one of the companies which would become Mitsubishi Motors.[1] Built from 1963 until 1970, they were available in four bodystyles (2-dr/4-dr sedan, 2-dr van, and 4-dr wagon) and on two different wheelbases, with gradually increasing engine displacements 600, 1000, 1100, 1200, and 1500. After a May 1968 facelift, they were marketed as the "New Colt". Along with the smaller, fastback Colts they formed the mainstay of Mitsubishi's passenger car lineup in the 1960s. With the late 1969 introduction of the new, larger Colt Galant, the outmoded Colt-series soon faded away, replaced by the Mitsubishi Lancer. The dimensions were kept small so as to provide Japanese buyers the ability to purchase a car that complied with Japanese Government dimension regulations and to keep the annual road tax obligation affordable.

Colt (series A20)[edit]

Colt 600[edit]

Mitsubishi Colt 600
Mitsubishi Colt 600.JPG
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors
Production 1962–1965[2]
Assembly Okazaki, Aichi, Japan (Nagoya Plant)
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door sedan
Layout Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 594 cc NE35A, air-cooled OHV Straight-2
Transmission 3-speed manual[2]
Wheelbase 2,065 mm (81.3 in)
Length 3,385 mm (133.3 in)
Width 1,410 mm (56 in)
Height 1,370 mm (54 in)
Curb weight 555 kg (1,224 lb)
Predecessor Mitsubishi 500
Successor Mitsubishi Colt 800

The Mitsubishi Colt 600 is a five-seat, two-door passenger sedan produced by Shin Mitsubishi Heavy-Industries, Ltd - one of the companies which would become Mitsubishi Motors.[3] It was rear-engined and rear wheel drive, powered by an air-cooled 594 cc twin-cylinder OHV engine producing 25 PS (18 kW), and debuted in July 1962 as the successor to the company's Mitsubishi 500 Super Deluxe.[4] The 600 was the first Mitsubishi to bear the "Colt" name.[5] Top speed was 100 km/h (62 mph).[2]

A convertible version—the company's first "show car"— was exhibited at the 9th Tokyo Motor Show, but was never offered for public sale.[4] A replica of that car was used to promote the new Mitsubishi Colt cabriolet at the 75th Geneva Motor Show in 2005.[6][7]

Following the racing success of its predecessor, Mitsubishi entered Colt 600 touring cars in the 1963 Malaysian Grand Prix, where they placed second and third in the under 600 cc class.[8] The following year the Colt 600 managed to take class honors in Malaysia.[9] Production ended in 1965, in favor of the considerably more modern (still two-stroke, but water-cooled) Colt 800 fastback.

A Mitsubishi 600 sedan (centre), flanked by its "500" predecessor in the foreground and a red Colt 600 convertible in the background.

Colt 1000[edit]

Mitsubishi Colt 1000
Mitsubishi Colt1000.jpg
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors
Production 1963–66[10]
Assembly Okazaki, Aichi, Japan (Nagoya Plant)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
2-door wagon (Van)
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 977 cc KE43 OHV I4
Transmission 4-speed manual
3-speed semi-automatic
Wheelbase 2,285 mm (90.0 in)
Length 3,820 mm (150.4 in)
3,905 mm (153.7 in) (Van)
Width 1,490 mm (58.7 in)
Height 1,420 mm (55.9 in)
1,470 mm (57.9 in) (Van)
Curb weight 865–880 kg (1,910–1,940 lb) (Van)

Available as a four-door sedan, with a traditional Panhard layout, the A20 Colt 1000 was powered by a 977 cc engine producing 51 PS (38 kW) at 6,000 rpm. The Colt 1000 was introduced in July 1963.[11] Top speed was 125 km/h (78 mph).[12] Traditional throughout, the Colt 1000 also had a column shifter for its (fully synchronized) four-speed manual transmission. In December 1965, a 3-speed semi-automatic transmission was also added, unfortunately named SCAT (Single Coupling Automatic Transmission).[13] Top speed remained the same. Standard and DeLuxe models were available, for the Van as well as for the sedan.

There was also a two-door wagon, known as the "Van", as is typical in Japan where wagons are traditionally only for commercial purposes, which featured a horizontally divided tailgate and a maximum 400 kg (882 lb) payload (200 kg with 4 passengers).[14] The rear seat had steel backing and when folded down formed a flat loading floor, as per legal requirements for Japanese commercial vehicles. Strapping points were visible in the rearmost side windows. Its top speed is slightly lower, at 122 km/h (76 mph).[15]

In motorsport, Colt 1000-based touring cars took a clean sweep of the podium in their class at the 1964 Japanese Grand Prix,[16] following the successes of the preceding Mitsubishi 500 and Colt 600s.

The 1966 model year Colt 1000s, the last year before being replaced by the 1100, received an upgraded 55 PS (40 kW) engine which later saw service in the smaller, fastback Colt 1000F.[17]

Colt (series A21)[edit]

Mitsubishi Colt 1100
Mitsubishi Colt 1100 Sedan.jpg
Mitsubishi Colt 1100 Sedan
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors
Also called Colt 1100
Production 1966–68
Assembly Okazaki, Aichi, Japan (Nagoya Plant)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
3-door wagon [18]
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 1,088 cc KE44 OHV I4
Transmission 4MT, column or floor
Wheelbase 2,285 mm (90.0 in)
Length 3,855 mm (151.8 in)
Width 1,490 mm (58.7 in)
Height 1,420 mm (55.9 in)

Colt sedan[edit]

The Mitsubishi Colt 1100 succeeded the Colt 1000 from September 1966, receiving the A21 chassis code.[19][20] The 1100 was powered by a four-cylinder pushrod engine of 1,088 cc capacity producing 58 PS (43 kW) at 6,000 rpm, for a top speed of 135 km/h (84 mph).[2]

Along with trim differences, such as a different grille without a dip in the lower middle part, bumper overriders meant that the 1100 was also 35 mm (1.4 in) longer than its predecessor. Somehow the weight dropped by 40 kilos, to 800 kg (1,764 lb).[2] The 1100 was also available with a floor-mounted shifter, unlike the 1000 and later 1200. Originally available in Standard or DeLuxe trims, a Sporty DeLuxe version joined the lineup soon after its introduction. This also formed the basis for the Colt 1500 SS. The Colt 1100 was replaced by the "New Colt" 1200 in 1968.

There was also an 1100 Van, in Standard or deLuxe form. It offered two-doors and a horizontally split tailgate, and a payload of 400 kg (882 lb) (or 200 kg with five occupants). At 3,905 mm (153.7 in), its body was a little longer, otherwise dimensions were the same. The KE44 engine remained the same, but lower gearing meant top speed was down to 125 km/h (78 mph).[21]

Mitsubishi Colt 1100 Sedan (with after-market wheels)

Colt fastback[edit]

Mitsubishi Colt 800/1000F/1100F/11F
Mitsubishi Colt 1100F Fastback.jpg
Mitsubishi Colt 1100F Fastback
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors
Production 1965–71
Assembly Okazaki, Aichi, Japan (Nagoya Plant)
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door fastback
3-door liftback
4-door fastback
3-door wagon/van
2-door coupé utility/pickup
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 843 cc 2-stroke I3
977 cc KE43 OHV I4
1,088 cc KE44 OHV I4
Wheelbase 2,200 mm (86.6 in)
Length 3,620–3,740 mm (142.5–147.2 in)
Width 1,450 mm (57.1 in)
Height 1,365–1,420 mm (53.7–55.9 in)

The Mitsubishi Colt 800 is the first of a series of passenger cars with a fastback/hatchback design produced by Mitsubishi Motors from November 1965.[19] It was introduced as a two-door fastback sedan, the first such design in the Japanese market.[22] The series was discontinued in 1971, after the introduction of the company's Galant sedan but without a real replacement.[23]

Colt 800[edit]

The 800 was powered by a three-cylinder two-stroke engine of 843 cc capacity producing 45 PS (33 kW).[24] Equipped with a four-speed manual gearbox and weighing a scant 750 kg, top speed was 120 km/h (75 mph). While it may have looked like a hatchback, the 800 was never available with a rear hatch. However, both a coupe utility version ("ute" in Australia, where many of these were sold) and a wagon ("Van" in Japanese parlance) were marketed. The Van was clearly based on the ute, with a horizontally split rear tailgate and workmanlike interior.

Production of the two-stroke versions ended in 1968, as customers across the world were beginning to steer away from cars with these types of engines and new stricter emissions standards were looming. The similarly sized and-engined Suzuki Fronte 800 was discontinued without replacement around the same time; these were the last Japanese two-strokes bigger than a Kei car. In general, the 700-800 cc class was dying away in Japan at this time, being replaced by 1,000 cc cars.[25]

Colt 1000F[edit]

In September 1966 the two-stroke 800 engine was complemented by the larger four-stroke 977 cc pushrod powerplant (KE43) from the more traditional Colt 1000.[26] 800 production ended in the last months of 1968, shortly after the introduction of the 1100. The engine in the Colt 1000F, "F" for "Fastback" to set it apart from its stodgier sedan counterpart, produced 55 PS (40 kW). In August 1967, the 1000F finally received the lifting tailgate that the car's design had always promised. The hatchback also had the added benefit of a larger rear window, as it would no longer encroach on the boot opening. There was also a Colt 1000F Van model, with round taillights and the same engine specifications as the sedan. The 1000F remained in production until May 1969, after which only 1.1-liter models were available.


The Colt 1000F became Mitsubishi's first ever rally car.[27] The company which would go on to score multiple World Rally Championships and Dakar Rally wins began with an unexpected class victory, and fourth place overall, in the 1967 Southern Cross Rally in Australia with a 1000F fastback.[24][27]

Colt (series A23)[edit]

Mitsubishi Colt 1200
Mitsubishi New colt1200.jpg
Mitsubishi New Colt 1200 Custom (1968)
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors
Production May 1968–1970
Assembly Okazaki, Aichi, Japan (Nagoya Plant)
Body and chassis
Body style
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 1189 cc KE46 OHV I4
  • 2,285 mm (90.0 in) (3-door wagon)
  • 2,350 mm (93 in)[28]
Length 3,975 mm (156.5 in)[28]
Width 1,490 mm (59 in)[28]
Height 1,410 mm (56 in)[28]
Curb weight 790 kg (1,740 lb)[28]


Along with a May 1968 facelift, whereby the Colt became the "New Colt", the engine was upgraded again: with the long-stroke 1189 cc and 62 PS (46 kW) KE46 it became the Mitsubishi New Colt 1200, chassis code A23. "New Colts" are easily recognized by the large rectangular headlights rather than the earlier round ones, along with a lower front grille and more sloping tip of the hood. On the rear, wide slim rectangular taillamps replaced the earlier round ones. All New Colt sedans were built on the longer body of the Colt 1500, which received the same upgrades simultaneously. Later on, the engine was upgraded to 66 PS (49 kW), which afforded a top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph).[28]

Available as a two-door and four-door sedan, and also as a three-door wagon ("Van", still with the shorter wheelbase), the Colt 1200 could reach 140 km/h (87 mph). An extremely rare five-door wagon, more luxuriously equipped than the Van and with entirely different rear bodywork was added somewhat later, and was aimed at private rather than commercial use. A four-speed, full-synchro, column shifted manual was standard, whether in Standard or Custom equipment levels.[29] The Colt 1200 remained available alongside the new Galant for a brief period in late 1969 and early 1970, but not much customer interest remained.[30]


Colt 1100F/11-F[edit]

Mitsubishi Colt 1100F Sports at the Mitsubishi Motors Museum
Colt 1100F three-door, rear view, showing the larger tailglass

In August 1968, the Colt F received the 58 PS (43 kW) engine from the Colt 1100 sedan and became the Colt 1100F. This also marked the introduction of a four-door version with a fastback styled rear but again without a tailgate. This four-door bodywork was only ever available with the 1.1-litre engine. Top speed was 140 km/h (87 mph) while the 400-meter sprint took 19.7 seconds.[22] A 155 km/h (96 mph), 73 PS (54 kW), twin-carb "Super Sport" version also appeared in October 1968, and was able to go one better than its Colt 1000 sibling: 1100Fs finished third overall (and first and second in class) at the 1968 Southern Cross Rally.[31] In 1968 a Colt 1100F two-door was brought over to the United Kingdom for evaluation, and was also tested by Car Magazine. They praised the revvy engine and the sturdy suspension, but considered the car cramped and said that the ride was bouncy and inclined to pitch. The Colt also had a very quiet engine, with very little road and wind noise.[32] In the end nothing came of it, and Mitsubishi (as the Colt Car Company) stayed out of the UK until 1974.

In May 1969 the lineup was revamped and renamed the Colt 11-F (chassis code A82), as the one-litre models were dropped. The 11-F lost the peculiar top-hinged rear side windows, instead getting a single, large piece which opened by swinging out. The grille was also new. The "cooking" versions (Standard, DeLuxe, Super DeLuxe) came with a 62 PS (46 kW) version of the pushrod KE44 engine, and was available with all five different bodystyles. The 11-F Super Sports (shortened to 11-F SS in October for the 1970 model year, a version which also gained front disc brakes) received the same 73 hp engine as the previous Super Sports, and was available only in the two-door body. There was also a Sports version, featuring most Super Sports options but with the less powerful engine.[33] Top speed of the SS was 155 km/h (96 mph), with the 400-meter sprint time being knocked down to 17.7 seconds.[33] The Colt had drum brakes all around, with the fronts being of the twin-leading design.

The vans and pickups continued in production and received similar updates as did the sedans, albeit usually a couple of months later. The working vehicles did not have the "F" in their name, since they were not fastbacks, and were instead called Colt 11-Van and Colt Truck.[34] The price of the updated Colt 11 Van actually dropped by around one percent, while the pickup's price remained stationary.[35] The commercial models had the same 62 PS engine as did the regular Colts.

Production of the Colt 11-F ended in March 1971 without any true replacement, although the compact Galant FTO can be said to have taken up the Super Sports' mantle. Rallying duties had in any case already been passed to the Colt 1500 Super Sports.

Colt 1500[edit]

Mitsubishi Colt 1500
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors
Production 1965–1969 (1970 for Vans)
Assembly Okazaki, Aichi, Japan (Nagoya Plant)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
2-door sedan (1968-69)
2-door wagon ("Van")
4-door wagon (1968-70)
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine 1498 cc KE45 OHV I4
Wheelbase 2,285–2,350 mm (90.0–92.5 in)
Length 3,910–3,995 mm (153.9–157.3 in)
Width 1,490 mm (58.7 in)
Height 1,395–1,425 mm (54.9–56.1 in)
Successor Mitsubishi Galant

The Mitsubishi Colt 1500 (A25)[36] was a bigger engined version, joining the smaller Colt 1000 in November 1965.[11] The engine was a bored-out, four-cylinder version of the new Debonair's six-cylinder KE64 engine. Unlike its lesser one-liter sibling, the 1500 received four canted headlights and sat on a 65 mm longer wheelbase (2,350 mm or 92.5 in). Originally available as a four-door sedan and two-door wagon, it was powered by a 1,498 cc engine producing 70 PS (51 kW).[20]

The wagon (Colt 1500 Van) had a horizontally divided rear tailgate and used the shorter wheelbase body of the 1100; it was available in either Standard or DeLuxe trim. Equipped with a three-speed column-shifted manual, a four-speed model (Overtop, "OT") was available on sedans. The fourth gear raised the top speed from 140 to 145 km/h (87 to 90 mph). The Van versions, lower geared for more load capacity, could only reach 125 km/h (78 mph). Later, a now extremely rare four-door wagon aiming for private buyers (unlike the Van commercial vehicle) was added, as for the Colt 1200. This was more comfortably equipped than the Van version, sitting on the longer wheelbase, and with unique rear bodywork. The short-lived wagon was replaced by the all-new Mitsubishi Delica in 1968.

Rear view of Colt 1500

Echoing the Sporty DeLuxe version of the 1100, the 1500 Sports Sedan appeared in December 1966, discernible by its blacked-out grille and single headlights. Actually, the 1500 SS used the entire shorter and lighter Colt 1100 body (thus weighing in at 890 kg or 1,962 lb) and its floor-mounted shifter. It also received a close ratio four-speed transmission and front disc brakes. Top speed remained unchanged, with the quartermile sprint requiring 19.0 seconds.[30]

In May 1968 the 1500 became the New Colt, receiving the same body modifications as described in the Colt 1200 section, including the rectangular headlights. The chassis code became A27. New was a two-door sedan bodystyle, unusual in having roll-down rear windows. The three-speed was discontinued, with all standard models now receiving the 3+OT transmission. Top speeds were 145 km/h for the sedan, 135 km/h for the Van (84 and 90 mph respectively).[37] An 85 PS (63 kW), twin-SU carbureted "Super Sports" model was added in August 1968, and was popular in rallying. The Colt 1500 was discontinued in late 1969 upon the introduction of the company's Colt Galant sedan,[26] although the smaller Colt 1200 remained available for a little longer yet. The four-door 1500 Estate Van also remained on sale into 1970, as the new Colt Galant Van had not yet been introduced.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History of Mitsubishi 1960-1969". Mitsubishi Motors Web Museum. Archived from the original on 2008-05-15. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Car Graphic: Car Archives Vol. 1, '60s Japanese/American Cars. Tokyo: Nigensha. 2000. p. 22. ISBN 4-544-09171-3. 
  3. ^ "History of Mitsubishi 1960-1969". Mitsubishi Motors Web Museum. Archived from the original on 2008-05-15. 
  4. ^ a b "Colt 600 / Convertible". Mitsubishi Motors Web Museum. 
  5. ^ "First Look At Mitsubishi Motors History 1961-1970". Mitsubishi Motors South Africa. 
  6. ^ "Mitsubishi Lineup at 75th Geneva International Motor Show" (Press release). Mitsubishi Motors. March 1, 2005. 
  7. ^ "First Look At The New Mitsubishi Colt Coupe-Cabriolet". 12 February 2005. 
  8. ^ "Colt 600". A Glorious Heritage: Chronological History of Mitsubishi Motor Sports Activities. Mitsubishi Motors Web Museum. 
  9. ^ "Mitsubishi Colt: Sporty and Compact". Mitsubishi Motors South Africa. Archived from the original on 2005-03-19. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  10. ^ "First Look At Mitsubishi Motors History 1961-1970". Mitsubishi Motors South Africa. Archived from the original on 2005-03-19. 
  11. ^ a b "Facts & Figures 2010: Products Over the Years (Japan)" (PDF). Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. p. 28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-06-16. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  12. ^ Car Graphic: Car Archives Vol. 1, '60s Japanese/American Cars. Tokyo: Nigensha. 2000. p. 23. ISBN 978-4-544-09171-7. 
  13. ^ New Model: Colt 1000 SCAT (brochure), no. 11.660.01.20642. Mitsubishi Motors, Dec. 1965.
  14. ^ Mitsubishi Vehicles (三菱の自動車), brochure, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. 1965. Unnumbered ninth page.
  15. ^ コルト1000バーン [Colt 1000 Van] (brochure) (in Japanese), Mitsubishi Motor Corporation, p. 4, 
  16. ^ "Colt 1000". A Glorious Heritage: Chronological History of Mitsubishi Motor Sports Activities. Mitsubishi Motors Web Museum. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  17. ^ Koichi Inouye (1987). World Class Cars Volume 30: Mitsubishi, Daihatsu & Suzuki (in Japanese). Tokyo: Hoikusha. pp. 138–139. ISBN 4-586-53330-7. 
  18. ^ 1968 Mitsubishi Colt 1100 Van (A21-series) all versions specifications and performance data, Retrieved on 21 September 2014
  19. ^ a b "History of Mitsubishi 1960–1969". Mitsubishi Motors Web Museum. Archived from the original on 2008-05-15. 
  20. ^ a b "First Look At Mitsubishi Motors History 1961-1970". Mitsubishi Motors South Africa. Archived from the original on 2005-03-19. 
  21. ^ New Model: Colt 1100 Van (brochure), no., Mitsubishi Motors.
  22. ^ a b "Mitsubishi Colt 1100F 3-door Sports". Mitsubishi Motors Web Museum. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  23. ^ Long, Brian (2007). Mitsubishi Lancer Evo: The Road Car & WRC Story. Dorchester: Veloce Publishing Ltd. p. 12. ISBN 1-84584-055-0. 
  24. ^ a b "First Look At Mitsubishi Motors History 1961–1970". Mitsubishi Motors South Africa. Archived from the original on 2005-03-19. 
  25. ^ Ikeda, Eizo; Sonobe, Hiroshi (June 1974). "Road Test: Datsun 100A". Motor Magazine International. 
  26. ^ a b Long, Brian (2007). Mitsubishi Lancer Evo: The Road Car & WRC Story. Dorchester: Veloce Publishing Ltd. p. 12. ISBN 1-84584-055-0. 
  27. ^ a b "Colt 1000F". A Glorious Heritage: Chronological History of Mitsubishi Motor Sports Activities. Mitsubishi Motors Web Museum. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f 三菱の乗用車 [Mitsubishi passenger cars] (brochure) (in Japanese), Mitsubishi Motor Corporation, October 1969, p. 4, 
  29. ^ Car Graphic: Car Archives Vol. 5, '70s Japanese Cars. Tokyo: Nigensha. 2007. p. 74. ISBN 978-4-544-09175-5. 
  30. ^ a b "Great Car Pavilion: '67 Mitsubishi Colt 1500 Sports Sedan". Toyota Motor Corporation. Archived from the original on 2010-10-01. 
  31. ^ "Mitsubishi Colt 1100". Unique Cars and Parts. 
  32. ^ Daniels, Jeff (December 1968). "Some Orientals Analysed". Car Magazine: 26–27. 
  33. ^ a b Colt 11-F (brochure) (in Japanese), Mitsubishi Motor Corporation, March 1970, p. 4, 
  34. ^ "'69 商業車: ニューモデル" ['69 commercial vehicles: New models]. 月刊自動車 [The Motor Monthly] (in Japanese). 11 (8): 120. August 1969. 3439. 
  35. ^ The Motor Monthly (August 1969), p. 121
  36. ^ Shimizu, Ryouichi (清水亮一) (June 2009). Masuda, Mitsuru (増田 満), ed. 旧車縁 [Old Car Affinity: Type & Variation Special]. Nostalgic Hero (in Japanese). Tokyo: Geibunsha Publishing. 133 (6): 61. 07311-06. 
  37. ^ Mitsubishi New Colt 1500 and Mitsubishi New Colt 1500 Van brochures, nos. and Mitsubishi Motors, 1968.
  38. ^ 三菱の乗用車 1970 [Mitsubishi passenger cars], p. 5