By on June 11, 2018

1998 Eagle Talon in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWhile assembling my website pages with links to every Eagle and Mitsubishi car I have ever photographed in wrecking yards, I learned something troubling: I had never shot an Eagle Talon. Sure, there was this Plymouth Laser Turbo and this much never Mitsubishi Eclipse, but no examples of the Eagle Division’s most beloved — well, only— sports coupe.

I resolved that I’d shoot the next Talon I spotted in a wrecking yard; that car turned out to be this one in Denver, from the final model year of Eagle.

1998 Eagle Talon in Colorado wrecking yard, gearshift - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsIt’s a front-wheel-drive, naturally-aspirated model, but at least there’s no slushbox to ruin all the fun.

1998 Eagle Talon in Colorado wrecking yard, speedometer - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars164,899 miles is an acceptable final figure for a 1990s Mitsubishi product. The interior is rough and the exterior has suffered from a key-scratching attack, so cosmetic issues may have doomed this car.

1998 Eagle Talon in Colorado wrecking yard, Little Trees - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsEven with the windows open on a cool Denver day, the musty interior smell was strong. A half-dozen Vanillaroma Car-Freshner Little Trees couldn’t hide the odor. So it’s possible, even likely, that this Talon was a runner when it took its final ride to the car graveyard.

1998 Eagle Talon in Colorado wrecking yard, hood emblem - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
I checked the VIN and it was born a Talon. Maybe someone glued a Mitsubishi badge here, or perhaps some body parts have been transplanted. Either way, this is one of the very last cars to bear the Eagle name; if we are to believe Wikipedia, only 4,308 Talons were sold in 1998.

The turbocharged all-wheel-drive Talons really could haul the mail, while this version was more of a zippy-looking commuter. With 140 horses and a five-speed, though, it didn’t crush drivers’ spirits in Tercel-ish fashion.


Chrysler had such optimism for the Eagle brand at first.

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28 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1998 Eagle Talon...”


  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Back in the early aughts when I had a (355 powered) ’86 Monte Carlo SS project car, I test drove a used Eagle Talon to use as a daily. First time I ever drove a turbocharged car – and the first time I experienced boost lag.

    I was thinking: No power, no power… woah!!!! There’s the power!

    I ended up getting a ’91 Buick Park Avenue instead (hallowed be the 3800) since it would pull family hauling duties better than the coupe backseat shuffle.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      I actually enjoyed the “No power, no power… woah!!!! There’s the power!” in my ’84 Chrysler Laser Turbo. At least I could tell that the turbo was actually making a difference when the power finally arrived! I was actually somewhat disappointed in my ’89 Toyota Supra Turbo that the power was more evenly distributed; though a faster car, it just didn’t have the same kick in the pants feeling.

      I always liked the Talon/Eclipse turbos, but found them to be too small inside when I test drove them.

      • 0 avatar
        MoDo

        A Fiat 500 Abarth actually has very similar turbo lag and the rush of acceleration as a stock DSM, if you were feeling nostalgic. It was enough for me to pull the trigger on one.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    A red ’98 Talon TSi AWD was my first brand new car purchase when I landed my first high tech job. It was a weird spec left over on the local Jeep/Eagle dealer lot, fully loaded except for roll up windows and funky cloth seats….mosty TSi AWDs had power windows and leather seats, which the other one on the lot did have but it was that ’90s Hunter green. I much preferred the red with black top….looked really sharp, and I got a killer deal due to the odd options. But yeah, it could really move although turbo lag was brutal until it spooled up and then the power came all at once. I loved that car, drove it for seven years through Canadian winters, was a little mountain goat with AWD, a good set of snows and a light foot. The only thing that I didn’t like was the weird wrap around spoiler on the hatch(looks like the car pictured had it’s wing ripped off). My goal was to source the much lower profile Eclipse spoiler but I never got around to it.

    • 0 avatar
      jh26036

      That’s pretty cool to know there was a poverty spec AWD Eclipse. I would have loved it that way! Baby EVO RS.

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      I had a black 93 Tsi AWD 5-speed. It had cloth seats, power windows and no sun roof. I bought the car in 2002 already on a fully rebuilt engine with 147,000kms. Man was I a sucker for punishment with that car, it literally broke something every 2 weeks. Would fry alternators on a sometimes weekly basis, sticky brake calipers, cooling system issues, major transmission shifting issues. I remember seeing a BMW 3series finance deal at the time and it would have been cheaper to buy one of those than continue repairing the dying DSM.

      I drove it until it would drive no more when it self destructed on start up in a friends driveway in 2007.

      It then sat in a field for another 7 years and I gave it to a kid who actually got it running before sending it off to the big junk yard in the sky due to frame rot from its field stay.

      The weirdest thing was when I replaced it with an Infiniti G20 back in 2007 and it feeling “weird” how I could actually rely on that car unlike I ever could with the Talon.

      Hindsight being 20/20 – I should have dumped that Talon within 6 months of getting it for something more reliable back then. Quirky unreliable junk does not bode well with broke 20-somethings.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Yes, but with good rubber, it was the fastest thing on the road in first and second gear for about the first 1/8 mile- even though drag racing it would probably break something else.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I always appreciated these and the Eclipse. My preference was for the Mitsu, it seemed my female associates preferred the Talon.

    The closest I got to one of these was in a 2000 Chrysler Sebring Coupe I owned for less than a year. Folks who didn’t realize they were related would recognize a lot of similarities in the interior of the two.

    Time has not been kind to this generation Eclalon. They were hugely popular with the Super Street and then the Fast and Furious sets. Very few clean ones made it through the early 2000s unscathed.

    I’m pretty sure that’s a 95-96 Eclipse front bumper.

    • 0 avatar
      RSF

      My wife had a 98 Eclipse GST back in the day. She loved that thing, and it was fairly cool way back then I suppose. Turbos have come a long way since then..

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I had a 96 GS-T… and loved it. Mine was fully loaded, tan leather, green exterior, sunroof, huge rear OEM wing, fog lights, etc. Really had a Dr Jekyll / Mr Hyde personality due to the nature of boost. Got the mileage of the Civic but once it spooled up and the boost kicked it (yo!) would leave V8 Mustangs behind. I also remember it had a really wide turning circle compared to size. The bulge on the hood is not the turbo, it just to clear the timing chain cover. While it was fast it suffered from cheap leather and it burned a quart of oil every 500 miles. Thankfully mine was leased so I was able to turn it back before it blew up. Twice it lost compression in the #3 cylinder so I’m pretty sure something really bad would have happened long term.

      The Dodge Avenger Coupe was also the same DSM car. I remember the first time I realized this as I parked next to one and noticed the doors were exactly like the ones my Eclipse.

    • 0 avatar
      DrSandman

      @LandArk — Truth!

      I owned a ’97 Chrysler Sebring Coupe with a stick. It was basically this generation car with a stretched back seat. It was the first new car my wife and I bought. I still miss it. It was a great car for us and a great value — real-world mileage of 24mpg city/38mpg highway, stable in all sorts of bad weather, cheap to maintain. Paid $16k new, and we drove it 100k miles, before I gave it to my parents.

      Man, I wish I had kept that car…

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        I was a huge fan of the Sebring coupe. In college I ordered the promotional material from Chrysler and hung the fold out in my dorm. Some guys had Ferraris and Lambos…

        A friend of mine who had just graduated college came to me asking about a new car. He seemed stuck on getting an Audi TT but I pointed him to the Sebring. He wound up buying an LXi in black with a gray interior. He drove it until 2006 when he approached me about buying since I was so infatuated with it. I bought it and did some minor work to it like lightly tinting the windows and repairing some scrapes he’d applied to the plastic cladding on the driver’s side. It looked great.

        What wasn’t so great was that it seemed to demand premium otherwise it would sound like an old taxi rattling down the road. Also, I’m pretty sure the wheels (which I thought were beautiful) were made out of aluminum foil because they bent so easily. There were many times I could go out to it and the tire would be flat – only at the most inconvenient times.

        It was a great looking car but it had some problems and I let it go to a new home. I get excited whenever I see one still on the road. Though it has become an increasingly rare site.

        • 0 avatar
          DrSandman

          Ha. Chrysler build quality….

          We had the LXi (V6) decals and emblems on our LX car from the factory, but it was most assuredly the 2.0 DOHC Neon engine with a 5-speed stick. Made for a very interesting conversation with friends about “poseurs” and the like.

          The driver’s side decal said 16V DOHC, and the passenger’s side said V6. I told everyone it actually had a narrow-V 5-cylinder.

          The 2.0 had to make significantly more than the official 140hp. I always ran low 7 second 0-60mph, and mid 15’s in the 1/4 mile at about 90mph. The DrWife and I used the car for 9 years during grad school and beyond, and it was treated royally…

          Now that I have sufficient money, if I ever found the car again, I would pay cash to bring it home again. I still have the Monroney from buying it new.

          We only stumbled onto it because we were shopping for an Eagle Talon with a stick (she demanded stick and 2-door, so I married her!) and the salesman had a turd manual tranny Sebring Coupe on the lot for 10 months with a total of 42 miles on the clock.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            I thought of the Neon’s engine as part of a sort of “awakening” from the malaise era. The 3.3L made Mopar family haulers really move without as much apparent effort as the 3.0 and the 2.2/2.5 engines, especially when they put it in the LH cars. Then the Neon and it’s engines came along and it was like whuuuuht?!? Even the *base* engine on the entry-level car is fast!

            Then you had the Mitsu clones, the Stealth with its ridiculously powerful engine and these Eagles, like the baby brother of the Stealth and almost as fast.

            It was a fun time to be a car fan and a Mopar fan.

  • avatar

    Had experience with two of these. A friend wanted one…I suggested the trim above, in that there was a base engine, SOHC, then this engine, then the blown version of this engine.

    They took my advice, and the Eagle gave them good service and was fun to drive in DOHC/stick/sport suspension trim. They sold it when his business took off and they moved up the ladder.

    Another was the Eagle AWD turbo. My first experience with AWD performance, I actually though it dull to drive, mistaking “fight” for “handling”. Now, I’ve converted to all wheels helping out…..

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Brings back memories of my ‘98 Eclipse, that car was a blast. Front-wheel drive and naturally aspirated would have been a drag though, I didn’t even know they made those. Did they make the Eagle Vision in front-wheel drive?

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      The Eagle Vision LX platform shared with the Chrysler Concorde and Dodge Intreprid were only offered as FWD even though the engine was mounted longitudinal.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    A friend of mine had a bare bones eclipse RS of this vintage, no turbo. It was obviously a base model from a mile away without a spoiler, but it was fun around town. The manual transmission badly needed a higher gear for speeds above 65.

  • avatar
    agent534

    The 97-98 Talon had a pretty aggressive front bumper cover compared to the Eclipse one on this car.
    Having had to replace one, it was hard to find years ago, it would probably be almost impossible to get now. I suspect that is why this one has the Eclipse one on it.

  • avatar
    Matt Posky

    This was the Junkyard Find I have been waiting my whole life for.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    These were hot cars when they came out, but it really seems like they had a short shelf life.

    Had a few friends that owned them, really fell apart. I had always had a high opinion of anything “japanese” must be good quality but these made me reconsider. I’m sure Chryslers partnership didn’t help.

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    A classmate had a base one of these from this generation in auto mechanics school in 2007. Much to both of our surprise during a good-natured competition when leaving class on the main drag, we discovered that my base 100 hp 2 door Mk2 Jetta would pull on it 7 ways from Sunday in second and third gear. I don’t know whether it was just his example (although he was much lower mileage than my VW), but I’d get off the gas, let him catch up, and pull away all over again.

  • avatar
    saturnotaku

    #DSMLife

  • avatar
    cantankerous

    I was addicted to the turbo kick of my 1992 Eclipse GSX. It was also the easiest car to handle at the limits of cornering adhesion of any car I have ever driven. I literally drove the wheels off of it — the front left strut disintegrated — after 16 years and 200,000 miles. Man, I miss that car!

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