Digestible Collectible: 1990 Eagle Talon TSi

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn

For me, certain car brands evoke strong emotions. Nissan is certainly one that will always get the benefit of great memories, even if some of their current products are less than memorable. Conversely, I have reservations with Ford. As much as I enjoyed the Fusion I drove last month, the Focus I owned at the turn of the century had so many failures and recalls that I struggle to consider the Blue Oval without shivers.

Mitsubishi, on the other hand, doesn’t really register with me. There were at least two of them in the household as I was growing up — a 3000GT and an Eclipse Spyder — but I never drove them, and never bonded with them like the other sports cars to grace our garage. Perhaps the cheap prices and seemingly-disposable nature of the cars effectively blocked them from my memories.

I wonder if the DSM triplets — as the Mitsubishi Eclipse, Plymouth Laser, and Eagle Talon are often referred to by enthusiasts — might have made a bigger impact had they been sold only under one nameplate. I suppose the benefit of multiple dealerships selling the same car could be useful, but I’d imagine it created more competition and lowered selling prices.

Take today’s 1990 Eagle Talon TSi, sold at Jeep/Eagle dealers. If I recall, most Jeep/Eagle stores around here were quite close to their Chrysler/Plymouth counterparts, with some even sharing a roof.

Yeah, I know that $12,000 is insane for this car, especially considering the recently-replaced engine. I just can’t seem to find any of the high spec, all-wheel-drive turbo DSM cars anymore that aren’t modified to oblivion, so when I spotted this one I knew it deserved mention. Assuming the engine replacement isn’t due to poor maintenance, and the sheetmetal is straight and original, I could see $6,500 for this Eagle.

Speaking of modifications, these tended to be bought cheaply second-hand and tuned for drag racing, so the drivetrain will need thorough inspection.

Of course, there is always the danger to manifold that inexplicably causes floor pan detachment. Mitsubishi has much to answer for.

Chris Tonn is a broke classic car enthusiast that writes about old cars, since he can’t afford to buy them. Commiserate with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Chris Tonn
Chris Tonn

Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.

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  • RallySputnik RallySputnik on Feb 09, 2016

    I have a 91 Talon TSi (AWD version) that friends and I built into a rally car in 2014. There is definitely not much room inside to start - particularly when you're 6'3" - and even less when you cage it and put a helmet and HANS on, but it works. Rust is a killer for these things; well that and attrition from being inexpensive enough for inexperienced drivers to buy them and quick enough to make small mistakes bigger. Mine was horribly rusty to start but for the $700 purchase price we worked through it; in retrospect having a less rusty starting point would have been better, but...

  • White Shadow White Shadow on Feb 09, 2016

    I had that exact 1990 red Talon, but in AWD. I purchased it new in 1990 after trading in my 1987 Mustang GT. All of my friends had 5.0 Mustangs and I decided that I wanted to be different. The little turbo 4-banger would scoot off the line hard with a 6000 rpm clutch drop, causing immediate panic from any of my Mustang friends lined up next to me. The result was instant wheelspin and they could never catch up by the time they stopped spinning. It was always a good time watching Mustangs smoking tires in my rear view mirror. And quite honestly, my Talon was a great match for a new Mustang even from a roll. But a neat little trick to add a bunch of power was to pull a small vacuum line that will bleed off the waste gate and increase boost pressure greatly. Free HP is always fun. It wasn't long before I modded the Talon with a full array of HKS mods, including intake, exhaust, and an EVC (electronic boost controller) to really up the power. Such a fun car and it took an absolute beating without breaking. The car used to launch so hard that the windshield wipers turned on. I have pics of my car launching at the drag strip with the wipers at mid stroke. Funny stuff....

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