1989 Mitsubishi Colt XL "RE"


Back in June, I spotted a rare 1981 Colt, which was the first year for the Colt in Australia. Well, today, I saw a 1989 model at La Trobe University, in Bundoora, which incidentally, was the last model year for the Colt in Australia. This is a base model "XL", which means that it has the smaller 1.4L carburetted engine mated to a 4-speed manual transmission, and an extremely sparse interior with almost no features or conveniences to speak of. Despite not being particularly old, I'm surprised that such a car is still in regular use, because it would almost certainly not have power steering or air conditioning.

The Colt is quite an interesting car, because, although production of this generation ceased in Japan in 1983, it continued to be built in Australia until 1989! In Australia, hatchbacks (only offered in 5 doors) were sold from 1981-1989, while sedans were available from 1984-1989. 

The "RE" Colt was the final iteration of this car, introduced in September 1988 and sold until 1989. From the rear, it was mostly indistinguishable from the early models, aside from a painted bumper (a rare feature in 1989 - as even the Commodore and Falcon did not have painted bumpers at this time!). At the front, there was a new grille.

The Colt was one of the first subcompact cars available in Australia, when it was introduced in 1981. Holden would not introduce the Barina until 1985, while Mazda introduced the 121 in 1987. Toyota and Ford had no offerings in this segment in the 1980s, while the Subaru Justy was never sold in Australia.

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