Rare Rides: The 1988 Chrysler Conquest - an American Sports Coupe
Quick badge swaps between Chrysler and Mitsubishi were common throughout the Eighties. Mostly a one-way affair, Chrysler rebranded Mitsubishi products as Colts, Plymouths, and Dodges. These captive imports generated revenue via Chrysler’s brand recognition while cheaply filling gaps in the domestic company’s lineup.
Today marks our first Chrysler-branded Mitsubishi, and it’s certainly the sportiest rebadge we’ve seen here. Presenting the Chrysler Conquest, from 1988.
Digestible Collectible: 1988 Mitsubishi Starion ESi-R
I try not to repeat manufacturers too quickly in this series of digestible crapwagons, save for last September’s Wolfsburg Week. I know I get bored writing about the same OEM, as I’m sure you like the variety. However, when I finally find a clean example of a car that has been on my wish list, I can’t help but feature it, no matter how recently we’ve seen the badge.
I never expected Mitsubishi to be the quickly-repeated marque.
Junkyard Find: 1984 Mitsubishi Starion LE
Many of us laugh at the Starion now, but it was considered genuinely badass by me and my high-school peers back in 1983 or 1984. It looked fast and mean and had the magical-in-the-1980s word “TURBO” on every possible surface.
Of course, it was also a flaky, breakdown-prone money pit, but it took a few years for that to become clear to everyone. Still, Starions show up in self-service wrecking yards to this day. Here’s a battered ’84 that I saw in the San Francisco Bay Area a while back.
Junkyard Find: 1988 Dodge Conquest TSi
The Mitsubishi Starion and its badge-engineered Dodge Conquest TSi twin were more quintessentially 1980s than neon-colored leg warmers and regulatory fiascos, combined. You had your gloriously ridiculous Japanese-macho lines, bright red interior, and TURBO emblems everywhere you looked. The Starion/Conquest was quick, too, with a big turbocharged Astron four-cylinder engine. Only problem was, the Starion/Conquest was a finicky, fragile machine, best known for maddeningly undiagnosable fuel-system problems, weird electrical-system woes, and general flakiness. Many are tempted by Starion projects, but eventually most of those MitsuDodges sitting under tarps in driveways will end up in The Crusher’s waiting room, as this Denver example has done.