Of the myriad documents found in The Carchive, a big percentage were collected as I grew up, many were harvested secondhand from autojumbles and the like, and a good few have come from generous benefactors – some of whom might be reading this right now. The considerable balance, though, have been purloined from eBay. This is one of those.
There’s a considerable risk, though, in buying something you’ve only seen portrayed in a few small photos. When you’re looking at a brochure, unless it’s properly described it’s tricky to identify whether you’re looking at a catalogue or a pamphlet. Will there be pages to leaf through, or merely a single double sided sheet to glance at? In the case of this one, I had no idea it measured approximately 3″x9″ until it fluttered through the mail slot in a tiny envelope.
Don’t strain your eyes! Click the images with your pointing device to make them bigger.
“Mitsubishi Motors, A name that stands for technology, reliability and a tradition of excellence”
Fortunately, irrespective of its rather slim profile, this slender document contains a fair wealth of information, and fills a gap in The Carchive – previously the Mitsubishi brand – or Colt as it was named in the UK – was only represented back to 1979. This is from 1977.
It opens with bit of background that speaks of all the great things the Japanese company had done since 1917 – most of which was never shared with us in Britain. Next it goes into technical advances, not least the Astron 80 balance-shaft engine which had been rolled out two years prior. Apparently it was “as quiet and smooth as much larger 6 or 8-cylinder engine”. I’m guessing these things are all relative.
“Exciting but practical, and sure to please”
So they said of the Colt Lancer, and I’m guessing that the 1200 Super, 1400EL and 1600GSR we saw in the UK were a fair way removed from those versions that won the Southern Cross and Safari Rallies.
Front end styling was remarkably American – I’m thinking Ford Maverick or Dodge Aspen – while the rear three quarter styling was typically Japanese, although the light clusters would still have been acceptable in the ’80s. The dashboard shot shows a dizzying array of blanking panels where British buyers were denied the various gadgets that models from other markets were blessed with.
“A very distinctive kind of car for a very distinctive kind of driver”
Next up is the Colt Celeste, a car we’ve seen before in The Carchive, except then it was the original ’75 launch model. The lineup in ’77 was the 1600ST, GSR and 2000GT, all of which were powered by the Astron 80. Beneath the surface, it was mostly Lancer, but then, beneath the surface of the Ford Capri it was a blend of Cortina and Escort.
The Celeste – also sold in the USA as the Plymouth Arrow (or the Fire Arrow when the monster 2.6-litre engine was fitted) was quite a neat car, and one that the questionably reliable howmanyleft.com reckons fewer than ten examples survive. I’m inclined to agree – I have no idea when I last saw one, and I can’t guarantee that I ever have.
“And here you’ll find just about everything you’ve ever wanted in a car”
The Colt Sigma, represented in this brochure by the Σ symbol, just as on the badges on the car, was the poshest car in the ’77 UK range. And I’m gonna say it was an extremely handsome machine, especially at the front end. That quad-headlamp face, soon to be obliterated in a 1980 facelift, is the kind of thing that could inspire a retro pastiche today.
There were certain features, too, such as adjustable rear seats in later models, that few European cars could equal – yet in the UK the Sigma never really broke into the mainstream, although strict import quota restrictions rather ham-strung Mitsubishi’s efforts – and led to later imports under the Lonsdale name.
“A hard-working gadabout: The Galant Estate”
This was a bit of an oddity in the ’77 Colt range. The 2nd Generation “A114” Lancer range lived on, but only in its station wagon form in the UK. Here it was afforded just a single image that represented the single 1600DL model we were granted.
It wasn’t an especially exciting car, but it did have one special attraction that the image above amply shows. You see it?
Yes. A band of woodgrain ‘applique’. Pure damned exotica, right there.
(All images are of original manufacturer publicity material, photographed by me. Copyright remains property of Mitusbishi Motors who should know that we want a new Starion and a new Sapporo, right now.)