1970s Dodge Colt: The subcompact budget cars from Chrysler

1970s Dodge Colt cars

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Making its debut back for the 1971 model year, the first generation Colt was available as a couple, a 2-door hardtop, a 4-door sedan, and a 5-door wagon (aka a 4-door sedan with a hatchback).

The main marketing angle was that Chrysler’s then-new little Colt was a budget-friendly subcompact car. While, yes, it was considered affordable to buy, just as important was how the Colt was fuel-efficient — a major selling point for vehicles during the 1970s oil crisis.

Especially compared to the gas guzzlers and sports cars that were common at the time, the Colt’s small size and low weight made it much more efficient to drive.

In addition to its fuel efficiency and affordability, the Colt was also marketed as a reliable car that required minimal maintenance — of particular concern when a lot of famous old American car brands were having major quality issues. (Just one example: The Ford Pinto was prone to bursting into flames when rear-ended.)

For thousands of drivers, the Dodge Colt checked all the boxes for car buyers looking for a nice little efficient and reliable car for commuting, taking the kids to school, and running errands around town.

Dodge Colt: It gives you a lot to drive (1972)

Dodge Colt Two-Door Coupe: You’re looking at Colt’s lowest-priced model. Even with its mini price, you get the maxi list of features.

Dodge Colt Two-Door Hardtop: Many people think this sporty Colt is our best-looking number. And like all Colts, it’s loaded with standard features.

Dodge Colt Four-Door Sedan: This is the one to choose if you’re looking for lots of room. The family-sized Colt fits a family-sized budget.

Dodge Colt Station Wagon: This wagon, like all Colt models, offers options like air conditioning, automatic transmission, and radio at extra cost.

ALSO SEE: The classic Chevy Chevette entry-level subcompact car was a big seller

Dodge Colt cars (1972)

Dodge Colt Wagons (1972)

The five-door economy wagon for the man with a family. Features: Front disc brakes – Adjustable steering column – Reclining seats – Flow-through ventilation – Four on the floor – Hemi engine

Dodge Colt Wagons (1972)

1973 Dodge Colt wagon

1973 Dodge Colt wagon

How did Dodge Colt put so much in such a little car? (1975)

Introducing the ’75 Dodge Colt Carousel hardtop. (2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, 4-door wagon and the Colt GT)

MORE: Ford Pinto: The bestselling sub-compact economy car from the ’70s & ’80s (and its fatal flaw)

1975 Dodge Colt cars

1976 Dodge Colt Carousel & GTs features

Introducing the ’76 Dodge Colt Carousel (left) and Colt GT (right). With five-speed manual transmissions and 1600 cc engines they both got 37 MPG on the highway, 24 MPG in the city. And Colts come in three other models, too: Coupe, 4-door Sedan and 4-door Wagon. Prices start at $3,175. (Base sticker price for a 1976 Colt Coupe. Not including taxes, destination charges, license and title fees and optional equipment. California prices slightly higher.)

Cars featured: tinted glass – carpeting – reclining bucket seats – adjustable steering column – Bumper guards (front and rear) – Power brakes – Silent Shaft Engine – 5-speed transmission – Locking gas cap – Front disc brakes

1976 Dodge Colt cars

The new $2984 Colt. It’s a lot of little Dodge. (1977)

Isn’t a Datsun. Isn’t a Toyota. It’s a lot of little Dodge.

The new Dodge Colt is such a lot of car, it’s got Mr D and Mr T confused. Because Colt offers you the value you’d expect from this import, plus Dodge Colt sales and service coast-to-coast.

The new Colt a lot of little Dodge (1977)

The ’79 Dodge Colts, imported from Japan

Imported Dodge Colts (1978)

79 Dodge Colt hatchback: A frisky new Colt in our stable

A SPANKING NEW THOROUGHBRED. New Dodge Colt Hatchback. An import with front-wheel drive, a whole slew of standard features, and an exclusive new “Twin Stick” transmission. But best of all, it hails from the same stable that produces our Colt coupe, sedan, and wagon. So you know darn well it’s a thoroughbred.

EASY ON THE OATS. One of the nicest things about all our Colts is what they don’t do. Like spend a lot of your bread on oats.

A TALENTED FILLY. And our brand new Colt Hatchback has some special talents you should know about. Like an exclusive new four-speed manual “Twin Stick” trans-mission. It has a second lever that allows you to set the transmission for maximum performance or maximum economy. Colt Hatchback also has front-wheel drive. So you can count on it to be just as surefooted in the hills as on the plain.

A PROUD BREED. Of course, Colt Hatchback owes a lot to its forebears. All our Dodge Colts are mighty generous with standard features. The coupe, sedan, and wagon all have reclining front bucket seats, an adjustable steering column, an electric rear window defroster, and more. All standard. And Colt wagon’s a workhorse that can haul over 59 cubic feet of just about all the gear you’d have a mind to.

SADDLE UP AT YOUR DODGE COLT DEALER. One final point. For not a whole lot of money, you can buy or lease the ’79 Colt of your liking. Just saddle up at your nearest Dodge Colt Dealer’s stable. And ride ’em cowperson.


79 Dodge Colts

DON’T MISS: See vintage Dodge Omni cars from the 1970s & 1980s

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Comments on this story

One Response

  1. Imagine a time when tinted windows, tilt steering wheels and reclining bucket seats were major car selling points! Also locking gas caps; during the gasoline shortages of the 1970s, stealing gas by siphoning it out of cars had become a serious problem.

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