Looking around the showroom, the “Mirage” Space Star, made us ponder the history of the Mitsubishi Colt. Afterall, for a name that has existed since 1962, there should be quite a rich history behind the name. An immediate Japanese rival: The Honda Civic, did not exist until ten years later…
The Colt began life as the name for a line of small cars sold predominantly in Japan, but it was not just cars that carried the Colt badging. The Mitsubishi Galant, L200 pickup truck as well as the Delica also carried Colt badging at some point in time. Strange, but true.
But as far as we can remember from the back of our hand, the Colt has always been a nippy and fun hatchback. Known as the Mirage in Japan, the Colt name was used in export markets such as Europe and Australia.
There have been five generations of Mirage-based Colt. These Mirages were sold in various forms as the Mitsubishi Lancer in many markets, with the Colt name used in Europe for hatchback variants. Most sedans and station wagons carried the Lancer name.
The fourth generation Colt saw a complete a e s t h e t i c makeover, mostly geared to appeal to the European market, unlike the edgy looking predecessor which was “far ahead of its time.” It was highly praised at being brisk, responsive and fun to drive.
This was the car that caught the eye of Proton, which acquired the rights to use the platform in 1997. The result was the Proton Satria, in a 3-door version, and as the Proton Wira in both sedan and “aerodeck” styles. If anything, the massive number of modified Wiras still running around in Malaysia today, is testament to the over-engineered Japanese chassis design
It is quite a shame that despite all the great qualities in this car, it never really outshone the Honda Civic in the tuning scene. However, to those faithful to the Three Diamonds, know that the right modifications can turn this comfortable hatch into a Civic-beater.
With an uncanny resemblance to the Evo3 halo-model, there are plenty of ways to eke out every last horse from the car. Opting to boost the handling precision, the chassis receives struts for both the front and rear, with a room bar inside the cabin to reduce the body flex.
To sharpen up the steering feel, a lower toe bar as well as an adjustable rear toe kit were installed to complement the coilover installation which gave the car a healthy two-inch drop from stock. To lighten the unsprung weight and offer a tad more adjustability are Moog lower arms and rear arms from a Satria GTi.
The joys of owning a Lancer, are the variety of bolt on parts that can be sourced from the Evolution. Evo 3 front and rear brakes, knuckles as well as the brake master cylinder found their way into the suspension setup and are finished off in drop dead gorgeous 15 inch SSR Type-C wheels.
Unlike the Evo3 however, the power comes from a single cam 4G92 engine – which was touted to be a fuel saving move for Mitsubishi. But, despite the economy moniker, one can still dig out a bit more power by tinkering with the cam timings as well as a more free-flowing intake which aids in releasing some of the growly noises. The battery was relocated to the rear of the car, which also hides the one-of-a-kind electrical DIY project designed to deliver regulated power to the entire car.
For a car that has been around for over 20 years, this Colt still carries itself with dignity. It runs like ERP and doesn’t break down like MRT. Although some areas of the interior look as if they have seen way better days, the crucial driver contact points are painstakingly kept in immaculate condition.
One may still argue that the Civic will be a better choice for enthusiasts, and it does have a few advantages over the Colt. However, when it comes to rarity, nothing else will say you’re a hardcore car enthusiast better that a Colt that time forgot!
Adjustable cam gear
Original Apexi Power Intake
Spal radiator fan
Custom battery relocation and wiring work
Ultra racing front and rear struts
Ultra racing room bar & lower toe bar
Hard race Adjustable Rear toe kit
15 inch SSR Type-C with SSR Metal valves
Dunlop Direzza Z2 Star Spec
Evo 3 front and rear brakes
Evo 3 knuckles
Evo 3 Brake master cylinder
Moog lower arms
Satria GTi rear arms
Defi Triple Din gauge
Recaro front seats with Planted seat mount
Momo steering wheel
Pioneer single din head unit
Cyborg inspired design