1972 Dodge Colt wagon looks "a little like the crate it was shipped in"

By the early 70s a variety of Japanese cars had begun to hit the American shores, including the 1972 Dodge Colt wagon featured in this vintage Car and Track road test. While re-badging the Mitsubishi as a Dodge may have been an attempt to endear American car buyers to the small car, it certainly didn't work on Car and Track host Bud Lindemann.


It is pretty clear from the very beginning of this Car and Track road test the Dodge Colt was not well received by Car and Track or it's host Bud Lindemann. While the car is briefly praised for its braking, visibility and handling, this road test is largely made up of amusing complaints about the little car. "If you are looking for a sleek aerodynamic profile," Lindemann made it clear the Colt "won't pull your chain." The host blamed the Colt's nearly 20 second 0-60 time on the 100 horsepower inline 4 cylinder overhead cam engine, pointing out the engine was responsible for everything that "does and doesn't happen when you climb on the throttle.

While the Colt could serve "as a good excuse for getting home late" according to Lindemann, its poor performance was somewhat surprisingly not balanced out by good fuel economy. The host is quick to point out the Colt averaged 19mpg while it was in Car and Track's possession. We wouldn't be surprised if the Colt was capable of better mileage when it wasn't flying around a track.

At the beginning of this road test Bud Lindemann points out "If you want a little car because it's the 'in thing', well this one might be your choice, but if you're going the mini route because it's cheap, well, you may want to look around." Despite this sentiment, It seems unlikely the host would endorse buying the car even for trend following purposes. Lindemann advises potential Colt buyers at the very end of this test to "try and get the dealer to throw in a trip to Tokyo during cherry blossom time, it will sweeten the deal."



This is why I enjoy these old C&T tests. It is really interesting to see what has and hasn't changed over time regarding perceptions of automotive goodness. Forty years ago small cars were considered by many the province of tightwads and people in big cities on the east and west coasts.

I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide if that attitude has or hasn't changed since then, given the rampant popularity of SUVs and full-sized trucks until just recently and the disdain expressed by many on this site and elsewhere for hybrids and their owners.

To get some insight into Bud's thinking, I would suggest reading the article from the February 1953 issue of Popular Mechanics titled "American Engineers Look at Foreign Cars" (page 121) that I have linked below on Google Books. Those guys are mystified why anyone, other than some sort of crackpot, would want a small car when all that Detroit goodness is available...

[books.google.com] href="http://jalopnik.com/v/">#v=onepage&q&f=false