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[I don’t know why I like this picture of the 1980s Mitsubishi Space Wagon so much, but I do. Photo: Mitsubishi]

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Contact the author at raphael@jalopnik.com.

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DISCUSSION

A female friend of mine had one of these back in the day. Once she called me depressed because her car was “falling apart” because the car had lost not only the just of 5th gear but also the speedo cable was broken. When I told her that a) both these items were related and b) the fix would be cheap she would not believe me. Turns out that the ’85 - ’86 Mirage/Colt and Vista/Space Wagon had a transmission that was really the old twin-stick transmission where gears 1-4 were 1L though 4L and 5th was 4H activated by a solenoid that sensed that a) the shifter was in the 5th gear position and b) the car was traveling at least 5 mph. When the speedo cable broke the speed sensor would get no signal and suddenly there was no 5th gear! They started using a real 5-speed in 1987 but the 1986 Space Wagon had this odd failure mode!

I had a Mirage Turbo at the time and hot-wired the solenoid so that a button on the shift knob activated the high/low switch giving me an 8-speed :-).