While Ford and GM both slapped Detroit badges on various captive imports and overseas-division products, neither came close to matching Chrysler of the early 1970s for sheer weird variety of off-brand imports showing up in American showrooms.
During this era, car shoppers could drop into their local Chrysler/Plymouth dealership and drive off in a Dodge-badged Mitsubishi Colt Galant, a French-built Simca 1204 with Chrysler emblems or--get this!--a Hillman Avenger with Plymouth badges.
The folks at Allpar have done their usual excellent job on the Cricket's history
, so head over there for the complete story.
With Ford and GM coming out with the Pinto and Vega, respectively, Chrysler execs were sweating over their lack of a subcompact offering. Rather than design their own, they went to Japan, Britain, and France.
You still see quite a few first-gen Dodge Colts and it's even possible to find a Simca 1204 hiding out in North America these days.
However, the Avenger-based Cricket appears to have gone just about completely extinct (some Colts were sold in Canada as Plymouth Crickets, Chrysler apparently figuring that nobody would notice the changeover from a Mitsubishi to a Rootes Group product). I've been searching for a true Cricket for quite a while and haven't yet found a single example for sale.
Why would anyone want a car that was so terrible that not a single one
appears to have survived? If you have to ask...
Oh, sure, I could find an Avenger in the UK and have it shipped over, then hope to find proper Cricket emblems for it, but the first car I bring over from Britain is going to be a Humber Sceptre
Ideally, my Guilty Pleasure garage would have one apiece 1970 Cricket, 1970 Colt, and 1970 1204. Then I'd have to add a (Simca-derived) Omni and a (Mitsubishi Forte-based) Plymouth Arrow pickup.