The Mitsubishi Mirage (aka Dodge Colt (aka Plymouth Champ)) has one of the most interesting transmissions ever built, with as many gear ratios as your first big kid and two shift levers poking out of the cabin floor like a split hair. And while this particular example offered for sale in Raleigh, North Carolina, is just a middle-of-the-road trim level that wasn’t particularly interesting back in the day (or arguably, even now), it is incredibly rare, and at 24,000 miles and change, quite mint. There’s gotta be someone out there that wants it, right?
On Mitsubishi Mirages it was called the Super Shift. Dodge called it the Twin-Stick, but the concept was the same: Every gear in the 4-speed transmission ran through a 2-speed transfer case, essentially making it an 8-speed transmission plus two more in reverse!
Of course, it was impossible to go through all the gears in sequence unless you had three hands. What the 2-speed selector did then was let you choose between “economy” and “power” modes. What most drivers ended up doing was leaving it in power mode until you they got to cruising speed.
The funniest thing about the entire situation is that it was a hack job for the purposes of packaging and, crucially, getting the engine to spin in the proper direction, but the fuel saving gimmick was perfect for the post-1973 Oil Crisis fuel-saving mentality. Which makes it even funnier that someone bought a car marketed for its petrol thriftiness, but ended up putting only 24-something thousand miles on it over the course of 31 years.
Well, his loss is your (or someone’s) gain, because what we have here is probably the cleanest 5-door example in the country. The seller says the paint is a “9.99 out of 10” original right down to the red stripe color matched to the dark crimson interior. There are no cracks on the upholstery, dash, or door panels, a rather amazing feat of preservation for a bargain basement vinyl interior.
Somewhere along the way, it also acquired an extra set of brake or rear fog lamps mounted to the rear bumper, and what appears to be a block heater hanging out of the nose, booger-like.
Alas, this is not the Colt GTS, the turbocharged hot hatch that put out an impressive 102hp for its day. Instead, it is probably equipped with the naturally aspirated 1.4L or 1.6L, good for either 70 and 80hp, respectively. Still, the seller claims he’s “clocked 89 mph on the highway” and achieved over 40 mpg, presumably not in the same run.
The ad has been live for about three weeks, an eternity on craigslist. At $5,000 the asking price is somewhat steep, but if a Super Shift is on your must-have list, where are you going to find another one this nice? View the ad here.
Kidney? mmmm…. no. I would give up some toe nail clippings perhaps
spent its life towed behind a motorhome…. note the trailer plug on the frt bumper. and boat trailer lites on the rear bumper… :]
Probably the reason why it’s not stuck with an autotragic.
I had a 1984 Turbo version bought around 1989 – fun car. My girlfriend, now wife, thought at first it was a Pinto.
My brother had a 1985 Mitsubishi Colt with a manual “Overdrive” lever (2 gear ratios for each actual gear, meaning it had two reverse gears!).
We used to tell people it was for the parachute.
So in the old style 18 weelers they were called brownie boxs. Its a pile of shit tranny period. One tranny or box is youe main and the other is called a auxiliary box or tranny. So in this case it would be a 2 on the main and 4 on the Auxiliary hence making it a 8 speed tranny. Upshifting is easy down shifting, well lets just say you get back with me at least on a big truck.
I had a turbo version. It was awesome. A guy taught me how you can shift both levers and how to get the best acceleration by doing so, using one hand.
I had no clue these came in a 5 door version. I likes this!
Back in the day, the Colt GTS was a very competitive rival to the GTI. I almost bought one second hand, but instead, ended up getting the next generation Colt brand new. To think that the current Mirage is a descendent of those cars is very sad indeed. The Mitsubishi group needs to euthanize its automotive arm.
Check out this gem, a 22k-miles 1991 Civic DX…
Nice find! It’s unfortunate that it’s an automatic and it’s also an odd choice for a restoration.
NICE ride, though the $11K price will probably prevent it some selling soon.
I test drove an AT model back in ’89, and honestly, I HATED it. Car was solid and handled very well, but it seemed as though, when you hit the gas, the car thought about it for a couple of moments, THEN went.
It would be nice as an oddity, but price — eeeehhhhhhh………
This Colt has a far better chance of going to someone who had one back when, or their parents did, just based on price. Hopefully to someone who’ll take care of it.
There was a yellow Colt GTS around town when I was in high school that had an OEM sticker at the base of the back window that read “DON”T STEP ON THE GAS UNLESS YOU REALLY MEAN IT” We all knew about the ten-speed tranny
We got a lot of laughs out of that. The early 20’s-ish owner thought it was a hot rod and would race anyone anytime, and lose every time.
I drove one of those as a pizza delivery car in college, it was provided by the pizza place. That car was slow even if I left it in power all the time.
I did get the car to 70 once and I saw my live pass before my eyes.
Haha, that’s funny!
I had a 1979 Champ…it was the only new car I could afford. I went thru brakes every 15k but it went 120K miles without even a clutch adjustment. Great Car for a high school and college kid with limited gas money. Would have bought this one if I had known.