1988 Chrysler Conquest TSi

I’ll go ahead and date myself here, but the Chrysler Conquest/Mitsubishi Starion was the car when I was in high school… that is, if you didn’t lust after domestic iron like a Camaro or Mustang.  With its wildly flared wheel arches and steamroller tires, the Conquest had a presence that not many late 80s cars had.

That presence was generally backed up by 197 horses powering the rear wheels.  Combined with a fairly light sub-3000 pound curb weight, the Conquest outperformed other contemporary imports such as the Mazda RX-7 and the overweight Nissan 300ZX.

Much grief is expressed regarding “badge-engineered” vehicles in the automotive press – those cars that are variants of others, only distinguished by simple trim changes or minor aesthetic tweaks – in this case, I don’t think too many people are complaining.  At that time, as now, Mitsubishi – who sold the Starion version of this badge-engineered twin, was a niche player in a market dominated by Toyota and Honda.  The Chrysler version, while not a massive seller, did get more exposure and was really the forerunner to the Dodge Stealth (also a Mitsu twin) and the the in-house designed (and certainly not badge-engineered) Dodge Viper.

So the next time you think of how awesome the V10 brute Viper is, thank this Japanese turbo 4 cylinder for spurring it’s creation.

Today’s ebay example is an ’88 model TSi – the turbo version, and looks to be in pretty good shape, although that shiny new paintjob may hid a multitude of sins.  Without a complete inspection, it is hard to say.  What is pretty clear is that shiny red paint is layered on a fine example of an entirely different era in car design.  Crisp edge dominate on all surfaces – not a soft bulge or lump to be seen.  It is an aggressive-looking and, I think, very attractive car.  Unfortunate is the transmission – yet another good looking car let down by a slushbox.  Oh well – when looking for a car of this type, to find one in good condition can be hard – beggars can’t necessarily be choosers.

So put on your Ray Bans and mind the automatic seatbelt, slide the Motley Crue tape in the stereo and hit the streets for less than six grand.  You’ll be reliving those high school memories in no time.

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5 responses to “1988 Chrysler Conquest TSi”

  1. Michael says :

    What never made sense was that at this point Chrysler, who had recently lost Lee Iacocca as it’s CEO was trying to also market the Dodge Daytona/Chrylser Laser

    Chrysler had the Omni/Horizon combo for small cars so it doesn’t make sense that Mitsubishi would force them to sell it in order to get their small cars.

    Guess it’s another question in the questionable operation of Chrysler in the last 25 years.

    • uteking says :

      That’s true – there does seem to be a lot of overlap between the two lines, but when you consider at about this time, both Ford and Chevy, as well as the Japanese makes, had multiple “sporty” coupes.

      Ford had the Mustang and Probe, Chevy the Camaro and Beretta, Toyota had the Supra and Celica. It was a different time – people seemed to gravitate toward small, fun cars instead of big, fun (in a different way) SUVs.

      That said, the abysmal quality of Chrysler products, along with indifferent product planning, certainly helped relegate them to third place among the Americans for quite some time.

  2. needthatcar says :

    I love the Conquest. It’s so sexy-hot. It looks like Def Leppard should be driving it..to MTV!

    I pretty much like all of the Dodge/Mitsubishi/Plymouth/Chrysler rebadges of this era. I once owned a Plymouth Sapporo. It netted me zero dates, but it was sweet.

    • uteking says :

      It is sexy, innit? Looks like an origami car. I actually think that the design has aged well, but I have some admittedly odd taste in cars.

      As far as the Sapporo – you may want to keep that to yourself.

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