The story behind this time capsule 1977 Dodge Colt has the makings for a great one liner joke. Did you hear the one about the Mitsubishi Lancer, the late seventies, a Dodge, and the used car salesman wearing a 10-gallon hat while riding a dog named spot – that was really an elephant? We didn’t either. The punchline is 100% original custom paint job on this otherwise all stock captive import survivor. The custom stripes are not vinyl, but rather genuine seventies paint. Legend goes that the van-style stripes were laid down with seventies hues at Cal Worthington in South Gate, California. Proud owner Lou Bircheff is going to leave the Colt as is, having picked up the car just a short time before the Colt’s reintroduction into the Mitsubishi Lancer Dodge Colt space-time continuum at the 2010 Japanese Classic Car Show.
The Dodge Colt was sold here in the USA as a rebranded Mitsubishi Lancer. This Colt was parked in a garage sometime around 1983 after a fairly short time on the road, where it racked up all of 36 thousand miles. For reasons unknown, the original owner parked the Dodge by Mitsubishi in the garage from that day in 1983 until he left this mortal coil and the Colt behind. The guy Lou purchased the Colt from picked it up from the original owner’s neighbor. Attempts were made by this neighbor to buy the Colt for many years while the original owner was alive, but were only successful after the estate sale sign went up. Neither of the owners before Lou registered the Colt, but Lou did – making him the second registered owner of this custom yellow beauty. Lou’s son Alex first saw the car at the Pomona Swap Meet and pointed it out to his Dad. That was that.
“Wow, Man. This thing is cool!”, said Lou upon seeing the custom Colt.
Lou knows what he’s looking for, having restored countless vintage military vehicles, and in possession of a few first generation Camaros, along with a Plymouth Signet convertible with the original 273 V8. No one is really sure who painted the stripes on the car. The working theory is that they were added to rope in a Colt buying customer. Drawing in buyers is a tactic Cal Worthington probably knows better than anybody. This is a man that rides elephants and wrestles with bears to sell cars after all. We would like to think it was Cal himself that ordered the Colt into the custom paint shop for a stripe job to add up to a quick sale. The custom painted Colt is well-preserved throwback to a time when Japan was making half-size rear-wheel drive versions of muscle cars as the American muscle car era drifted into malaise. The Colt stands as a perfect collision of America and Japan by way of the late seventies.