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Lonsdale YD41 and YD45 (1982 - 1984)

Last updated 26 August 2013

Simple, rugged, rear-wheel drive saloon, available with toquey big-displacement four-cylinder engine
A sales disaster, and probably extinct in the UK
were produced
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The Lonsdale YD41 and YD45 are two of the more obscure mid-market challengers to hit the UK during the 1980s. They were badge-engineered Mistsubishi Sigmas, which were Austrlian-market versions of the Galant (which was also sold in the UK under the Colt banner). These cars were cars sold under the made-up brand name in order to try and sell Japanese cars in the UK as Australian products. Why? Because Japanese cars were subject to an 11 per cent cap on UK market share, limiting how many products could be offered in UK dealers. But as Australian cars were't subject to the same controls, there was no limit to the number of YD41s and 45s imported from the Adelaide factory...

The Colt Car Company's parent, Mitsubishi, figured that these conservatively engineered Sigmas would appeal to UK buyers to such an extent that it needed to set up the Lonsdale plan in order to deal with the rush. Sadly, that demand for these attractive cars - which included the four-cylinder 2.6-litre YD45 - simply didn't transpire. Contemporary press reports were underwhelming, citing vague steering and underpowered engines as being the main complaints, which bargain pricing did little to allay. But the Lonsdale's major rival was the Colt Galant - a car that had been production since 1976, having received a single facelift along the way, There were minor cosmetic differences between the Lonsdale and Colt, but not enough to successfully differentiate the two. Following the much ballyhooed introduction in 1982, the operation was quietly euthenised less than two years later - and all remaining stock sold as Colts.