Two For One: Pair Of 1988 Mitsubishi Starions

As Generation X and Millennials age, the hot cars of their youths naturally become more desirable to collectors. Since we are talking about the Eighties and Nineties, though, these are often not Chryslers, Fords, or Chevys, but rather Toyotas, Nissans, and Hondas. Out on the edge of Salt Lake City rests not one, but two examples of one of the most interesting Japanese offerings of the Eighties: the Mitsubishi Starion. Listed here on Facebook Marketplace, you can have both for only $2,000.

As a model, the Mitsubishi Starion provides interesting window into the partnership between Mitsubishi and Chrysler that stretched from the Seventies to the Nineties and found its ultimate expression in the formation of Diamond-Star Motors. While the Starion is not itself a DSM product, it was badge-engineered and sold by Chrysler as the Conquest. U.S. versions of the car under either marque received a turbocharged 2.6L SOHC four-cylinder. Reports on horsepower vary, but the 1988 Mitsubishi model was advertised at 188, with 234 ft-lbs. or torque– all delivered to the rear wheels, as God intended. This pushes the car to 60 in under 7 seconds, and provides a reported top speed of 142 mph.

While we don’t see the interiors of the cars and the ad is sparse on details, most of the US models were manual gearboxes. Since you’re getting two, the odds are definitely in your favor here. The five-lug hubs visible on the white car indicate that it might have been fitted with the Sports Handling Package. Only offered in the ’88 and ’89, this package included wider wheels with eight-way adjustable shocks and struts. To be perfectly honest, although the white car is advertised as a donor, unless the interior is an absolute wreck, it might be on the edge of being too nice to break up. Fortunately, as a more recent Japanese vehicle with so many Chrysler clones, parts shouldn’t be too hard to track down if you decided to rebuild both.

Several articles have been written recently on these cars, most noting while folks seem to be snapping up Supras, S2000s, and late model Z cars, the Starion has been sadly overlooked. In terms of stock performance, it’s hard to beat for the price. If you’re a fan of late 80’s style and performance, you have to take the good with the bad. On the positive side, these are very affordable to get into, are reliable in the way only Japanese sports cars can claim to be, and box flares look awesome. On the bad side, you’ll have to deal with the robotic garrotes… I mean, the automatic seat belts. Really, it’s a small price to pay to watch the red LED gauges jump as the turbo hits. I can almost hear the synthesizer track now.

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Comments

  1. Dave in Arlington, TX

    When a Mitsu Tech, working on a Starion was like working on something from another planet. Very different from the average Eclipse or 3000GT.

    Like 3
  2. JCA

    The standard & SHP both had 5 lug wheels. And they both had the same style rims. The SHP rear wheels were just a little bit wider so it’s hard to tell by seeing exterior pics alone. Would need to check the door tag to confirm if it has SHP. Also, the ad states “Automatic” under trans but who knows with these lazy sellers who can’t be bothered to take an interior pic. Maybe one is a manual. Either way, a nice find for the price.

    Like 4
  3. DayDreamBeliever Member

    I am glad they are automatics, and far, far from me….

    Otherwise, the orphans might find their way to my house.

    Like 5
  4. Skorzeny

    I have owned and loved many a car from Japan. To me, the styling on these is perfect, and the wheels, the best ever on a Japanese car. Mitsubishi has sure fallen off a cliff, but I will always love these. (I will not get too much into robotic garrotes here, but we are responsible for our vehicular safety, not a government)

  5. JBD

    These were awesome and under- rated cars. The DSM cars were often tough to repair clutches and 4WD systems didn’t help. Good find for someone who wants to rebuild one or both.

    Like 1
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      These are not Diamond Star Motors cars, and weren’t ever produced in any drive configuration other than RWD.

      Although sold with Chrysler Conquest badging and some cosmetic differences, they were Mitsubishi products, and I think all imported from Japan?

      The DSM cars were Eagle Talon, Mitsubishi Eclipse, (FWD and AWD) and for a short while Plymouth Laser(FWD only).
      Assembled in Normal, IL.

  6. Mark

    Very easy 340 swap in this car… Lot of room under the hood. I had one with the intent of putting a 340 in it and some stopped at my garage I couldn’t refuse.

  7. Mike Dietz

    I was working at a Chrysler dealership when these came out. We had a lot of weird offerings in those days. We had Shelby turbocharged versions of everything from a shadow to a charger but these were by far the fastest thing on the lot until the Viper showed up. I thought they were overpriced at the time but if a customer drove 1 you could not talk them out of buying it if you wanted to. Handling was excellent I believe they had four-wheel steering or an early version of it and would definitely Burn Rubber like nobody’s business

  8. Rant Winters

    Bet ya half a dollar one, if not both have a broken axle. Great cars running. But by godddes in heaven these things were fragile. I’ve known 6 starions personally in my life (although I have not owned one personally) and they ALL broke an axel at some point! Two of these were then abandoned (one in front of my Property, one at a friend’s) so yah. With my personal experience, I’d guess the parts car has dire suspen issues

    Like 1
  9. t-bone BOB

    Located in West Valley City, UT

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