When Johan Stander told me he races a Mitsubishi Colt, I assumed a 4X4 bakkie. I guess I was sadly mistaken!
By Joel Silva // Photographed by Darren Townsley
Employed as a full-time mechanic for an avid car collector, Johan Stander blames the Jordaan family for him sliding a Mazda FE engine into his 1969 Mitsubishi 1100 Colt. After watching how Richard Jordaan campaigned his notorious front wheel drive Mazda Rustler bakkie with much success, the FE powerplant was the only choice. The Pretoria link didn’t stop there either because he also selected one of Pretoria’s finest engine builders to build a powerplant of note.
JT Race Engines is owned and run by Janus Terburgh, a passionate fella who has developed a stellar reputation for concocting some really strong motors for some really fast cars. The JT-spec solid lifter head features a proper flow job and porting, 276-degree camshafts, adjustable pulleys and would you believe it, Opel 16V valve springs! The bottom end has forged bits and pieces that are clamped down and fastened together with ARP hardware.
“Look, it’s not a Datsun or another Nissan 1400. I guess a Colt is something you don’t see every day. I wanted something different.” explains Johan, sipping on a Mickey Dee’s cappucino. The labour of love took four long years to complete, and his dad is responsible for straightening the once-skew body and making it driveable. “The bodywork alone took six months to complete, and at times I just wanted to throw in the towel and sell the chassis. But we stuck at it, and I’m really happy that we did”
The body is now as straight as an arrow, and the custom mixed Nardo Grey-esque spray job (courtesy of Stan’s Automotive) highlights a few items that many of our readers will identify. Arches from the VW Mk1 have been fabricated onto each fender, and those headlights and indicators look just as familiar too. The clever pin striping adds contrast, as does the carbon dipped side mirrors that were sourced from ATS Motorsport.
The interior is crammed with a set of Evo race seats that sit in front of a half-cage, which Johan admits, is not enough. “The problem lies in 3rd and 4th gear. Wheel spinning is not an option, and with such a short wheelbase, the car doesn’t give much warning. It comes, and then comes in hard! I can never tell when the car wants to go sideways.” For now though, James Cunningham at Magic Racing has fettled with the suspension to try and lessen the drama.
Weighing only 750kg, the car has managed to run an 11-flat using Toyo R888 rubber, indicating the setup has a lot more to offer. On race day, the GT35 turbocharger (sitting on an HP Performance manifold) happily spins the billet wheel at 1.9-bar, good enough for a dyno figure of around 411kW on MRD’s rollers. But in the modification game, we all know that things will never remain the same for long. Scratching his head while grinding his teeth, Johan explains, “The car is a handful, hey? It still has leaf springs in the front AND the rear? I’ve always battled with attaining the correct ride height, so coilovers is next on my shopping list. Oh, and a twin-pack clutch. And a set of Hoosiers. And maybe some stainless steel valves…”
The list goes on I’m sure. But what is certain is that Johan and family have built a unique, one-of-a-kind street bully that can slap most modern day Playstation hatches. And sideways too. This is the first Mitsubishi Colt to be featured in the history of our publication, and I hope we’ll be shooting more of them in the near future. Johan thanks his Dad, brother Riaan, Toy du Plessis, his wife Michelle, Janus from JT Race Engines, Herman from HP Performance, Johan Minnaar at MRD and James at Magic Racing for their effort, patience and support.