The Mitsubishi Colt 1000

1963

Mitsubishi Colt 1000 History

1963 saw the introduction of the Mitsubishi Colt 1000, Mitsubishi's first mass-production four-door sedan.

The chassis Mitsubishi developed after the Colt 600 was the Colt 1000. The new Colt, which differed greatly from the Mitsubishi 500 and 600 in that it was not RR (rear-engine, rear wheel drive) as the previous two models had been, but was now FR (front-engine, rear wheel drive) and had a four-door sedan body.

Like the Colt 600, it had a column shifter for its fully synchronised four-speed manual transmission. In 1965 a 3-speed semi-automatic transmission was also added to the line-up.

A two-door wagon (van) version was also produced, which featured a horizontally dividing tailgate and a maximum 400kg (882lb) payload (200kg with 4 passengers). The rear seat had steel backing, which when folded down, formed the flat loading floor as per legal requirements for Japanese commercial vehicles. Strapping points were visible in the rearmost side windows. Its top speed was 122 km/h (76 mph).

Mitsubishi Colt 1000 Engine

The Colt 1000 was powered by the KE43 engine, a 4-cylinder, 977cc unit with a power output of 55ps which provided the Colt 1000 with a top-end speed of 125km/h. In 1964, only a year after its introduction, the Colt 1000 was driven to victory in the 1964 Japan Grand Prix.

The capacity of the engine had been greatly increased to 977cc and produced 52.2 horsepower, which made it the world’s most powerful engine in its class. Because of the powerful engine, ram manifold, and other newly developed technical advances, the Colt 1000 was used widely in motorsport activities.

Mitsubishi Colt 1000 Motorsport Wins

1964 saw the 2nd Japan Grand Prix run by JAF and official recognition by the FIA. It drew a crowd of 2,400,000, which gives an idea of the importance of the race at that time. Most car manufacturers entered factory teams, and the Colts were entered by Sohei Kato in the 700 - 1,000cc (T3) class. The resulting 1-2-3 placements in class, proved beyond a shadow of doubt how technically advanced the car was. Nevertheless, Mitsubishi ceased factory competition in touring cars and started to concentrate its efforts on the open-wheel 'formula car' categories from the following year, 1966.