Road impressions

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The Colt Galant 2000 GL

The Mitsubishi Colt name offered to the British public on a range of conventionally engineered motor cars is still comparatively new to most of the British public. So far as the UK is concerned the parent company is the same strong source of finance as expanded BMW operations in this country.

The Colt 1600 Lancer is assured of a place in motorsport annals because of a victory by Joginder Singh in last year’s East African Safari Rally, but the model tested here appears to be a Marina powered by a lusty single overhead camshaft engine, and usefully offering a slick five-speed gearbox as normal production equipment.

The conventionally laid out Galant 2000 GL begins its sober specification with strut front suspension locating onto a wide base lower wishbone, coupled to a stark leaf-sprung live back axle. A disc/drum servo-assisted braking system was quite capable of retarding our red 2,200 lb. four door saloon.

The five bearing engine delivers 115 b.h.p. at 6,000 r.p.m. The engine is one of a family of varying capacity Mitsubishi motors fitted to the Galant series, offering power output from 92 to 125 b.h.p. in ultimate twin Stromberg carburated production form. The test car’s 1995 c.c. unit measures 84 m.m. bore by 90 m.m. stroke and develops a maximum of 123 lb. ft. torque at a highish 4,000 r.p.m. In this penultimate power trim a single twin choke Stromberg 30-32 DIDTA is fitted.

The excellent five-speed gearbox is well suited for UK driving conditions, offering 33 m.p.h. in first, 54 in second, 78 in third and about 105 m.p.h. in fourth and much the same speed, but more quietly, in fifth. Final drive ratio is 3.889:1, providing 17.8 m.p.h. per 1,000 r.p.m.

In action at our test track the Colt proved an able, if rather noisy performer. From rest to 30 m.p.h. occupied 3.8s; 0-40, 5.7s; 0-50, 8.5s; 0-60, 12.0s; 0-70, 17.1s and 0-80, 24.5s. The nearest comparison one can make in the British market was the old RS 2000 (still being sold at large discounts by some Ford dealers), but the Ford is rather quicker 0-60 in 9 seconds or so, over 110 m.p.h.: and far more sporting in handling and ride, while the Galant is much better fitted to the role of comprehensively equipped saloon.

The Mitsubishi GL is a classic example of extreme understeer built into a conventional saloon on the basis that undetsteer is safe. In the proportions offered in the GL the fallacy of this theory can be seen as the car is prone to run wide of a bend more easily than many front wheel drive machines. Since the Galant has some sporting pretensions about the specification, the handling comes as even more of a disappointment, especially as the recirculating ball steering is similarly inert in its response to the driver’s requests.

Inside is a plain wood-like dash housing a large clock, speedometer, and combined large water temperature/fuel gauge. The seats have some kind of nylon fabric finish and the interior suffers only mildly from outbursts of Japanese ornate stitching and chromework.

Complete with tinted glass, push button radio, 165 by 13 SR radials and locking filler cap, the Colt Galant 2000 GL sells for £2,229 in Britain. At that price an enthusiast might well sort out the simple suspension and engine, to provide some entertaining transport that can easily double up for business use. Even without the enthusiast changes, the Galant promises sturdy service and complete equipment at a sensible prate; a rare virtue today! -J.W.

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