[ The Mitsubishi 500 and the Colt 600 ]
The Mitsubishi 500 was the first passenger car produced after the Second World War by Shin Mitsubishi Heavy-Industries, Ltd, one of the companies which later became Mitsubishi Motors. It was built from 1960 until 1962 and formed the basis for Mitsubishi’s next model, the Colt 600. It was exported in small numbers.
[ History ]
First shown at the 1959 Tokyo Motor Show, it became available in 1960 at a cost of ¥390,000. It was powered by a rear mounted, air-cooled 493 cc 2-cylinder engine with a single downdraught carburettor producing 21 metric horsepower (15 kW) at 5,000 rpm, driving the rear wheels through a 3-speed manual transmission. The body was a monococque, in order to be light and strong enough to reach the goal of seating four people and reaching 100 kph with such a small engine. The chassis code was A10, later A11.
[ The 500 Super Deluxe ]
Due to its sales success, it was given an enlarged 25 metric horsepower (18 kW) 594 cc engine (NE35A) in August 1961 for improved acceleration and durability. This model was known as the Mitsubishi 500 Super DeLuxe. The succeeding Colt 600 used a great deal of the 500 Super DeLuxe’s underpinnings, including the engine and layout.
The Mitsubishi 500 wasn’t a Kei car, Kei regulations at the time of introduction mandated an engine no larger than 360 cc, which remained the limit until it was raised to 550 cc on January 1st, 1976. They are mentioned here as they are under the 660cc of the current regulations and of interest to us.
Mitsubishi’s first “homologation specials” were Super DeLuxe-based touring cars which the company prepared for the 1962 Macau Grand Prix. In an auspicious debut Kazuo Togawa took class honours in the under 750cc class, the diminutive sedans also took the top four places in the same category.
[ The Mitsubishi Colt 600 ]
The Mitsubishi Colt 600 (series A20) is a 5-seat, 2-door passenger sedan, it was rear-engined and rear wheel drive, powered by an air-cooled 594 cc twin-cylinder OHV engine producing 25 PS (18 kW), and debuted in July 1962 as the successor to the company’s Mitsubishi 500 Super Deluxe. It was built at the Nagoya Plant at Okazaki in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. The 600 was the first Mitsubishi to bear the ‘Colt’ name. Top speed was 100 km/h (62 mph).
A convertible version the company’s first “show car” was exhibited at the 9th Tokyo Motor Show, but was never offered for public sale. A replica of that car was used to promote the new Mitsubishi Colt cabriolet at the 75th Geneva Motor Show in 2005.
Following the racing success of its predecessor, Mitsubishi entered Colt 600 touring cars in the 1963 Malaysian Grand Prix, where they were placed 2nd and 3rd in the under 600 cc class. In Malaysia the following year the Colt 600 took class honours. Production ended in 1965, in favour of the considerably more modern, still 2-stroke but now water-cooled, Colt 800 fastback.