Unrestored Narrow Body: 1984 Dodge Conquest

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Among the legions of cars from the 1980s that are likely appealing to children of that same era, the Chrysler Conquest and Mitsubishi Starion twins are obvious candidates for experiencing a surge in values. Rare in stock condition and hard to find with the ideal combo of a stick and unabused, this early Dodge Conquest sports the rare narrow bodystyle that preceded its flared-out sibling. Find this survivor here on eBay with a $12,900 Buy-It-Now.

These early cars didn’t even wear badging from Mopar on the car, as words like “Turbo” were more useful for selling customers on the hot hatch from Japan. Prone to both rust and overboosting by teenager drivers, searching for a stock Conquest/Starion example is likely an exercise in frustration. We’ve seen the occasional stock automatic pop up for sale, but that defeats the purpose of these Japanese-built Mitsubishi Galant Lambda sport coupes.

This one is likely among the earliest examples imported, as those cars came with what’s called a “narrow body” since they didn’t have the same flared fenders that graced the later examples. With just over 60,000 miles from new, condition is excellent and the factory sport seats remain in impressive condition. The rear seat appears unused and the carpets are quite clean. The seller notes that the A/C also still blows cold, and this is a desirable 5-speed example.

Details are completely and typically 80s, with unnecessary complexity like this center-stack control panel. Despite the Japanese’s knack for logical design, vehicles from the likes of Mitsubishi and Subaru sometimes veered off into odd arrangements that aimed to be futuristic rather than functional. Nevertheless, this Starion is said to be have no major flaws and the seller is open to best offers. One this nice isn’t likely to come along again any time soon.

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Comments

  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

    Jeff, my mom and uncle owned three of these (all narrow body) when they were current; a used 85 Conquest automatic, new 87 Conquest 5-speed (but fitted erroneously with a Starion front emblem from new) and a used 86 Starion 5-speed when an idiot totaled the 87 while mom was driving. Loved all three, but fought constant battles with two things: Keeping the two fuel injectors sealed against the intake manifold and keeping the oil line to the turbo from coking up. Would love to have a TSI now…

    2+

    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      Wow – she must have liked them! I could never get a clear read on whether they were mostly reliable or mostly troublesome. I’ve always heard they’ve had issues (what project car doesn’t?) but they never struck me as a “Do not buy.” Agree/disagree? Were the issues your mom experienced enough to turn you off?

      1+

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        LOTS of electronics, but pretty much reliable ones. Most of the issues for me were those two things…over and over. The fancy interiors and all the power features wouldn’t have responded well to beating them up, but both my uncle and mom cherished their cars.

        We did run into an intermittent issue with the Starion with what I think was a loose connection going into the ECU, but she traded both it and the 85 Conquest in on a 2000 Hyundai Tiburon that she was also very happy with. It might be that my mom just loved manual transmission sporty coupes and never abused cars 🙂

        As a side note, I absolutely love the seats in these. Very comfortable! I’m serious–someday I’d like to own an unabused TSI (I love boxy flares). However, finding one that hasn’t been hammered on and modified too much has proven to be difficult.

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  2. nessy

    Love it. The Starion first came out in late 82 as an 83 model to compete with the Supra, Datsun Z car, the RX7 and a host of other sports cars both American and Import. The Conquest came out a year later in 84 and was sold at both Dodge and Plymouth dealerships. The first year 83 Starion had a one year only hood scoop design which today is very hard to find. Many fans of these cars look for the 83 hoods to swap onto their later models. A good condition 83 hood can sell for 1000 today, if you can find one. I had 3 of these cars in the past, a first year 83, an 85 that had more digital electronics than any other car I have seen, it even played a 30 second song for you as you opened the door and I had a final year 89 widebody. All were 5 speeds. Fast cars that handled great. I sold them all but they were all trouble free. Nobody knew what the cars were when they first came out but they were a big hit. I really wish I had that first year 83 back.

    8+

  3. Miguel

    WOW, are they really worth that much?

    I have one I am looking at which is white and it is a 1984 Mits Starion stick.

    I can get it for around $2000.00

    It might be worth it.

    2+

  4. Car Guy

    I miss gold wheels……guess that makes me old.

    1+

  5. Kent Morris

    StarQuests are wonderful cars to own. I have two ’87 and two ’88 currently. Parts are somewhat scarce but most engine components interchange with the large cache of Mitsubishi engines supplied to Chrysler over the decades of their partnership.

    Reliability issues center around the fusible links, power steering box, overheating due to lack of cooling system maintenance and infamous head problems related to poor oil circulation at the top.

    Each can be addressed with decent money and some patience. The payoff is a great, comfortable car that starts conversations wherever it goes.

    The SQ community has the rare parts needed to keep the cars on the road. Accepted mods include the ’83 hood, early or Euro taillights, SHP wheels on non-SHP cars and MPI in place of the two injectors.

    Prices are certainly rising and this early flatty is in great shape.

    6+

    • BMW4RunninTundra Member

      Had a friend who had the “wide body” back in HS!! Yeah, his Mother gave him everything!!! It was that magnificent Mits Blue!!!! Had the opportunity to drive it a few times!!! Bad a$$ car!!! Even though I am a C3 lover and still want to buy one, yours is awesome!!! If I could come across one like yours, I would probably be willing to let go my E46 convertible, modified, mint condition BMW!!! Oh, well, all in time…………………

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      • Kent Morris

        Ha! Fiji Blue – probably the best SQ color. They really are well composed cars and the community support is pretty amazing for a vehicle powered by what is essentially a forklift motor.

        You should grab one that catches your eye.

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  6. Rustytech

    I remember several things of note about these cars. They were fast! They ate turbo’s ( We corrected this by fabricating a replacement oil feed tube routed to increase distance from exhaust manifold. ) What electrical issues I remember were minor. They were far cheaper on the used car market than either the Supra or the Datsun Z cars. This is the first decent one I’ve seen in years. Given the rarity of these, I would think this is a very reasonable price.

    1+

  7. Randy

    I bought an 88 Conquest new. I drive it now and then and it just turned over 12,000 miles. I have had zero issues with it. Still riding on the factory rubber. It has spent it’s life maintained and kept in a heated garage. Probably 25 of those years unlicensed. Definitely fun to drive. You either know the cars, or you don’t. I could go on . . . . 🙂

    4+

  8. Kevin

    The new millennial version of a vintage collector car, how sad, lol

    0

  9. John D.

    A sales manager at another dealership boasted how he and one of his salesmen drove one to a meeting in the next city at over 120 mph. And they switched seats while maintaining that speed. Given the many stories at the time of the sales staff totaling these things out (some including multiple deaths) I am surprised there are any left. Another salesman added a cam and a chip to his and reportedly ruled the local drag strip.

    I would also point out, I have found, sales people tend to stretch the truth at times, especially when enjoying free cocktails.

    1+

  10. Flyingdrumstick

    I worked on wide body Starquests for a west coast race prep shop. We ran them in several series. Really straight forward cars, and for the day great performance. Always seemed torque strong and really responded to extra boost. The last ones were my favorite, particularly in yellow.

    They were very successful in IMSA and SCCA. One of the mechanics had previously worked for Dave Wolin and his top notch Starions. We got one of Wolin’s old cars eventually. Fabulously built car, with creative rules interpretation. The Wolin mechanic had mentioned when Mitsu switched to the wide body, while ultimately faster through the corners and better breaking, were noticeably slower in a straight line due to inferior aerodynamics.

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  11. DVS

    My favorite Starion story is the one about when the spokesman for Mitsubishi announced the name of their new sports car with his thick Japanese accent, a lot of the journalists covering the event thought the car was to be named the “Stallion”.

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  12. PRA4SNW

    This car has now been relisted twice on EBay. It went from 12900 to 8500 to 6500 and still no takers.
    I guess the seller has had a taste of reality.

    0

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