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When Chrysler's Best Compact Was a Turbo Mitsubishi

Máté Petrány
Photo credit: Máté Petrány

From Road & Track

Before we'd get into what Motorweek thought of a pre-production Plymouth Colt Turbo Premier after an "illuminating afternoon" at Long Island's old Bridgehampton Race Circuit, let me just share that the other day, I actually ran into a Colt Turbo Premier on my way to the office. And talk about exciting! Euro-plates, yet an Imported for Plymouth badge, as well as a luggage rack? The rarest of badge-engineered wonders, this really is:

Photo credit: Máté Petrány
Photo credit: Máté Petrány
Photo credit: Máté Petrány

As far as small four-door sedans went, the 1984 Dodge/Plymouth Colt wasn't half bad. But for 1985, Mitsubishi threw in the big guns, starting with a longer, 93.7-inch wheelbase, a turbocharged 1.6-liter producing 102 horsepower, and more crucially, a new suspension and tire package.

For the range-topping Premier, hard-working Americans had to pay at least $8400, and for that kind of money, the Japanese still wouldn't produce a car for what Motorweek termed"the rocket ship class." In fact, with the added luxury's weight and just 122 lb-ft on tap, the Colt needed 18.8 seconds to reach sixty miles per hour. Yet the revised suspension, good brakes and its 25 mpg economy made the fifth-generation Colt a better all-rounder than before.

Inside, Mitsubishi aimed for more futuristic lines with plenty of show-car elements, including ambitious design misses such as the "horsey" wiper knobs and the "spiffy" steering wheel. Still, a boost gauge was standard, and this "more than a generous amount of high-tech" was paired with great supportive seats at the front, and a rather luxurious bench at the rear. And what was great for a Mitsubishi wasn't bad for a Chrysler either, as long as it was re-badged as a Dodge, or a Plymouth.

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