21 October 2019

More than an old car #120: Mitsubishi Colt Galant GTO

Japanese cars really took off in the 1970s with revolutionary designs such as the Datsun 240Z and Toyota Celica. Naturally, they continue to be hot favourites among collectors today. However, there are plenty of less popular siblings that fall by the wayside, such as this 1972 Mitsubishi Colt Galant GTO!

The Galant GTO (Gran Touring Omologato) was first introduced as a sporty coupe version of the Colt Galant sedan. "Galant" is French for "brave and brilliant", a sentiment that Mitsubishi wanted to impress on the public. Mitsubishi designer Hiroaki Kamisago, who was studying design in California, took inspiration from contemporary muscle cars such as the Ford Mustang and Pontiac Firebird: it featured a long hood, a raised cut-off ducktail rear and round quad-headlights. Furthermore, the unique reverse-slant nose produced an image of sharp, skillful driving despite its small size. The 3 side-intake outlets and the curves along the base of the window further increased its aerodynamics. It was the second Mitsubishi car to feature roll-down side windows and a pillarless design: you can see that the glass windows are touching each other without anything in between.

The GTO was unveiled to the public in 1969 as the Galant GTX-1, and sales began in 1970. In 1972, the engines were upgraded and a facelift was carried out, most notably a 1-piece slat-style grille and 3-piece rear lights. In 1975, the grille was changed to a honeycomb pattern and the engines were further upgraded. This unit was powered by a 1597 cc 4G32 i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 180 km/h with an acceleration of 10.2 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 4125 mm long and weighed 950 kg.

Production of the Galant GTO ended in 1977 with 95,720 units made. However, only about 150 pre-facelift models are known to exist today, making this an unlikely rarity. Most owners switched over to other Mitsubishi offerings such as the Sigma and those who continued to hold on to them treated it as a hobby, not for daily use. This unit was imported from Thailand and registered in 2018, although I am not sure how much it is being driven currently. Galant GTOs were sold in Singapore back then but they were not popular due to a higher price, compared to the Toyota Celica. Furthermore, they are underappreciated and relatively unknown, thus contributing to their low numbers. It was nice to come across an obscure classic and that someone here actually appreciates it; maybe you'll get to see it soon!

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