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Mitsubishi Colt Lancer (1974 - 1979)

Last updated 24 February 2014

Now-cool 1970s Japanese styling, reliable, and fun to drive on smooth roads
Poor body protection, harsh ride, and cramped for tall drivers
were produced
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The A70-generation Lancer was first launched in Japan in February 1973, and was a hugely important car in the development of its maker, filling the gap between the Minica and Galant. In its home market, it proved a capable rival to the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sunny, two cars it was inevitably compared with in the UK when it arrived on our shores two years later. It was a conventionally engineered rear-wheel drive saloon, that majored on equipment, good value and reliability - and was a major factor in establishing the Colt name in the UK. It siffered from confused identity globally, too - it was also sold as the Chrysler Valiant Lancer, Dodge Colt, Dodge Lancer, and Plymouth Colt.

The Colt Lancer was offered in three body styles, two- and four-door saloons and a five-door estate version, introduced six months after the saloons. The smooth overhead valive 1.2-litre Neptune 4G42, an overhead cam 1.4-litre Saturn 4G33 and 1.6-litre 4G32 were offered - all were lusty for their size, and earned the Lancer a reputation for sparkling performance. Steering was light, handling was sharp, ride was choppy, and equipment and build quality were class-leading. Sadly, the rustproofing wasn't up to the same standard - accounting for the abysmal survival rate today.