One of the last GT-Rs registered before UK sales ended
In the late 1960s Japan’s car designers were looking in wonder at America, in particular its burgeoning field of muscle cars, and taking inspiration. The result was a flood of muscle car flavoured motors, albeit shrunken down for a more international audience.
One of those was the Mitsubishi Colt Galant GTO. Launched in 1970 it combined some obvious muscle car influences like the pillarless side profile, cut off ducktail rear, quad headlamps and long bonnet into a neat, cohesive design. Like its American cousins there were cooking versions and hot versions, of which the GT-R was the hottest, boasting a 2litre 4cylinder engine with twin carburettors and 123bhp. Today the GT-R is a highly sought after classic in Japan.
Most GTOs remained in the home market but a few, like this one, made it overseas. It was sold in the UK for two years until the end of 1976. This GT-R is believed one of only four left in the UK. The Seller acquired it in 1998 as a non-running project and it has been garaged, unused since. It is usefully complete so would form the basis of a bold restoration or as a handy parts car.
The History And Paperwork
First registered 1st December 1976
V5C in Seller’s name
No paperwork or history with the car
Owner’s manual goes with the car
Bought by the Seller in 1998
Dry stored but garage developed a leak in 2004
One key that turns the ignition barrell and also opens the boot
Complete interior with many neat period touches
Vinyl high back sports seats in aged but reasonable condition
Comprehensive range of dials
Original factory radio
Dashboard and fake wood veneer trim in good condition
Door cards in good condition and complete
The muscle car influence continues inside the GTO, the neatly arranged dials – including readouts for battery, water, fuel, oil pressure and oil temperature – and purposeful Colt deep dish steering wheel all pointing in the direction of Detroit’s road runners. Even the high back, one-piece sports seats seem like a direct lift from a Camaro or Mustang.
The interior appears to be complete and potentially a rich source of parts. It appears to have held up well during 25 years of storage. It looks remarkably original too, right down to the factory fitted radio.
Since this car is essentially a barn find it seems to be missing the point to highlight all of the marks and issues. However in the interior it is worth pointing out that the driver’s seat base is held together with black tape.
Olive green paintwork in need of full restoration
Complete panels but visible deterioration to most areas
GTR specific wheel arch extensions but with one missing
Front offside wing dented
Glass and lights complete
Stylish pillarless design
Complete with front and rear bumpers
Badging appears to be complete
The GTO was a clever design that has aged remarkably well: it is a sort of shrunken version of Detroit muscle car touchstones. The photographs of this car indicate that it will require a full restoration, the olive green paintwork carrying a number of scuffs and dents while the lower half of the car shows signs of significant corrosion.
The corrosion appears to extend to the inner wings and front suspension struts. The underside of the car appears also in poor condition. The one glimmer of light is the boot floor, which looks solid.
The fixtures and fittings appear to be mostly complete. The GT-R wheelarch extensions cover three of the four wheels and the model-specific badging appears to be present. The glass and lights appear to be aged but undamaged as are the bumpers. The driver’s door lock is missing. The car is fitted with a fabric manual folding sunroof.
The Seller states that there is one key that operates the ignition barrel and doors and opens the boot.
The GT-R was a remarkably advanced design, reflecting the Japanese manufacturers’ capabilities with relatively small capacity engines. Its 2litre engine, equipped with twin carburettors, was good for 123bhp. When a humble Cortina could barely muster half that, it was heady stuff for 1976.
The technological innovation continued with the gearbox, a 5spd unit at a time when such things were the preserve of Italian performance cars.
This GT-R was bought by the Seller in 1998 as a non-runner so has spent the majority of its life off the road. This implies that the odometer, which shows 58,746 miles, may well be correct. However, it does mean that a full mechanical restoration is likely inevitable. The photographs show the condition of the engine bay and there is a helpful photograph into the block.
The GTO GT-R is one of those cars beloved in its homeland but little known over here, likely due to a short showroom life with few takers. That’s a shame because it was a technically advanced, rear wheel drive car that shrunk American muscle car culture and repackaged it for a European and Asian audience.
This very rare GT-R has seen better days but appears mostly complete, in particular that stylish interior. It might require some bold thinking to put it back on the road, but with exclusivity on its side and what we know about the classic car community, we would certainly not rule that out. Or it is a source of useful parts for the GT-R community. Whichever route the buyer takes this pretty car in, we wish it well on the next stage of its journey.
Notice to bidders
This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only. Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.
UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Car & Classic are run through an online HPI check. On the HPI report, this vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft. It is currently not covered by a finance agreement.
A non-refundable buyer’s deposit is payable on this item, refer to FAQs and T&Cs for the applicable percentage.
Car & Classic's secure payment system protects buyers and sellers. At the end of the auction, the winning bidder transfers payment into a third-party escrow account. Once the transfer of the vehicle is complete, both parties confirm they are happy with the sale and the money is released to the seller.
NO RESERVE - 1976 Mitsubishi Colt Galant GTO GSR
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