Badge Engineered: 1987 Chrysler Conquest TSi

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

A number of years ago Jesse purchased a first generation Eagle Talon TSi AWD, but the dealer changed the transmission oil and forgot to put the plug back in before sending him off in it. Long story short, it ended up needing a new drivetrain. So we managed to hunt down an engine and transmission from a wrecked Galant VR4 RS for it. I ended up buying it from him, thinking it would be a fun car to repair and drive to high school. Installing the new engine was nothing short of a nightmare, but once we had it back together we discovered what it was like to do 4 wheel burnouts! I promptly sold it, as I feared I’d wreck something with so much power. Ever since, I’ve wanted to own another turbo DSM (Diamond Star Motors), but I prefer to avoid wild torque steer when possible. What I really want is a Starion or it’s Chrysler twin, the Conquest TSi! If I were closer to Colorado, I would already be on my way to pick up this 1987 Conquest I spotted here on eBay in Rifle, Colorado with an asking of $4,100 or best offer.

Unlike the front wheel drive Eagle Talon (Mitsubishi Eclipse or Plymouth Laser, take your pick) the Conquest is a rear wheel drive platform. It was developed to compete with the Toyota Supra, Nissan 300ZX and Mazda RX-7. Power came from either the 2.0 liter 4G63 that can be found in the Eclipse or the 2.6 liter 4G54, both of which were turbocharged. However, for the North American market all Conquests were equipped with the 2.6 liter inline 4. Being a TSi means this Conquest features wider fenders, an intercooler and 197 horsepower. The seller claims to have recently rebuilt the engine from the crank up, but sadly it appears that they did some customization to the turbo system while they were in there.

While the body looks to be in nice condition and the seller claims the engine runs great, the interior is looking a little rough. The maroon seats have not aged well, but hopefully a good cleaning will help make things look a little better. Finding replacement interior parts might be a challenge, as they built less than 40k Conquests and Starions during the last 4 years of production.

This find might not be for everyone, but this is a rather rare car that will only go up in value. Of course, to reach maximum value it will need to be put back to original and cleaned up, but with an asking just over $4k and the option to make an offer, it might just go cheap enough to be worth fixing up. And if your concerns are more about having fun than a return on your investment, these are quite fun to drive with lots of tuning options. If I were going to modify it, I would find a 4G63 with a B16G turbo to swap into it! But that’s just me, what would you do with this badge engineered Chrysler?

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Comments

  1. Jeffro

    This was the hot car to have when I graduated high school. Bold muscular looks with some hp. It’s a good thing it’s to far away!

    3+

  2. Howard A Member

    While I have no particular interest in this car, under the hood gives me the shivers. On the rear view, it sure looks like the gas tank is right there.( it is the tank, looked it up) Now you tell me, how does this differ from the Pinto in a rear-ender?

    2+

    • Brad

      Tons of cars have the tank right there. In fact I would even hazard a guess to say the majority of them. The problem with the Pinto was not the tanks location, but the filler neck and the tank came together when impacted causing a spark. Spark becomes flame, flame becomes explosion. They fixed them by adding a rubber isolater in between.

      13+

      • Howard A Member

        Thanks Brad.

        2+

  3. glen

    I hope the dealer covered Jesse’s expenses.

    2+

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Mortensen Staff

      They actually did, well at least the cost of an engine and transmission. They wouldn’t pay for the installation costs. He also bought a new high performance clutch and flywheel for it, but that actually wasn’t all that expensive. Getting the engine with transmission and transfer case installed was a bear of a job, but man was that thing fast!

      3+

  4. Ben T. Spanner

    Decades ago when I bought used non-runners and made them more or less run, my sales motto was that they were all rare cars which would only go up in value. It ain’t necessarily true.

    IIRK the Pinto’s problems were not just because of tank location, but a piece of hardware would pierce the tank when it was shoved forward. I believe the fix may have been a cheap shield over that item.

    Many US cars had gas tanks mounted at the extreme rear with the filler pipe behind the license plate. After a fillup, the first accelleration produces a stream of gas onto the street. No wonder gas mileage was poor.

    5+

  5. David C

    There are 2 3000GT VR4 AWD for sale around Atlanta right now. Pretty cool cars.

    3+

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Mortensen Staff

      Yeah those are impressive machines and are getting quite rare. I got to drive one a few years back and having driven a few none turbo 3000GTs, I was amazed by home much the twin turbos changed the experience.

      1+

  6. XMA0891

    Weren’t both the Mitsu and the Plymouth models also available with AWD? This foursome was poorly marketed to be sure, but these were great cars. This Conquest looks to have been driven hard and put away wet. Great or not; just not sure this one is worth the effort.

    0

  7. CCFisher

    From the days when Mitsubishi still had a pulse.

    3+

  8. John D.

    I had a couple that I would demo drive from time to time. At 6’1″, I barely fit, but better than in my frat brother’s Ferrari Dino. They do have the looks to attract the wrong kind of attention, so I avoided too much wheel time. They were also quite fun to throttle steer when turning a corner in town, not too much to get into trouble, just enough to get a grin, knowing there was much more power on tap. I was delivering a white one with the red leather and decided this was the one I should buy myself in the future. Alas, I ended up with a wife who had a poor track record with white cars. So no Conquest TSi for John. Also, in the 90s they were inexpensive enough to be easily acquired and hot rodded. Tight quarters but great cars.

    0

  9. Neil (UK)

    I believe in the UK they are called the Mitsubishi Starion. It was on Top Gear up against a BMW 635 and a Jaguar XJ12 as a “buy a coupe for less than ¬£1500”. They also drove them on a cobbled road while transporting a tupperware bowl full of water, which, funnily, didn’t go too well…

    1+

  10. Rx7turboII

    For another $1,500 you could have one in mint condition all original that has no issues, I love these cars but I would pass on this one.

    1+

  11. Vin in NJ

    I always loved how these cars came from the factory with different wheel offsets. The earlier models came with 16×7 up front and 16×8 out back. The later models had a factory option which included 16×8 up front and 16×9 out back.

    1+

    • Turbotimez

      SP designation on the wheels I believe

      0

  12. nessy

    This lazy seller really should have cleaned up the dirt lines running down the rear bumper, wipe the mud away from the tires and wipe down that dirty interior for a better chance of a possible sale. That first rear photo turned me off. As for Starions/Conquests, I had 4 of them in the past and loved everyone. I’m sorry I did not keep them.

    4+

  13. Dave Wright

    There is way too much Mitsubishi in this car to make it viable fo anything but use as a coffee table. I had an old girlfriend that had a new 3000Gt, absolutely lovely design. She didn’t drive much, it would spend months at a time in the shop relegating her to drive the dead reliable pristine 57 Packard that her uncle had left her. Anything I ever got near from Mitsubishi was an engineering nightmare and parts were more expensive than any Mercedes I ever owned. We tried some 2.6 powered K cars, they were the same way. The 2.2 and 2.5 American engined cars were superb. How many of even the sexy 3000GT’s do you see around today? Most have been relegated to the smelter.

    1+

  14. angliagt

    Rifle,Colorado – the only place I’ve seen a Chinese Restaurant
    & a Western gift store in the same building.

    I also noticed that the underhood color
    is different from the exterior.

    2+

  15. Rspcharger

    I was home from college at Christmas, the year was 1989, and I was looking for a car to take back to school (from Seattle to Tucson). My options were a 1986 S-10 Blazer or a 1987 Starion. The Starion was my brother in laws with turbo and I was able to take it for a day to test out. I knew I’d never starve in the Starion as it was a terrific maker of donuts. My girlfriend at the time, my holdover high school sweetheart (which didn’t last as she was at UW and 1900 miles apart is just stoopid for college age kids), was very thrilled at the pull of the turbo. I too was impressed, my only hi-po experience being a 350 powered ’72 Nova that my friend had. I was very excited about this prospect, but in stepped my father and the inevitable buzz kill occurred for the umpteenth time. Had it not been for him I’d of had a ’72 Jeep CJ and a little red convertible as you’d see on The Graduate before graduating high school. So I ended up with the Blazer and as it turned out it was a terrific vehicle for the deserts around Tucson. Got me to some places I’ll never forget. So I guess, thank you dad, may you rest in peace.
    PS – i’m still not sorry for buying that ’69 Charger RT found in a field for a song. That probably shortened your sensible life by a few years, but has greatly improved mine and its still in my garage after 23 years.

    2+

  16. Brian

    I bought one of these from a coworker years ago. It wasn’t in great shape but seemed repairable. It had a boost leak after the turbo which would cause it to sputter under acceleration… plus some other issues like a leaky power steering pump. That was an easy fix. However, it also needed timing chains. That’s right, plural, chains. As I recall, it had a cam chain, a balance shaft chain, and an oil pump chain. So naturally, once you’re in there, you’re changing the oil pump at the same time. After crunching the numbers and considering the value of the car, I decided to sell it. It was a great looking car and had excellent power! Unfortunately, it’s rare enough, odd enough, and cheap enough that it isn’t worth it to maintain unless you REALLY want it.

    0

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