Never Modded Survivor: 1988 Chrysler Conquest TSI

This 1988 Chrysler Conquest TSI is one of the few surviving examples that hasn’t been modified or otherwise abused by a teenaged driver. In fact, it has been in the care of just one mature owner since new, and today shows a tick over 51,000 original miles. Obviously, with the current seller, it’s no longer a “true” one-owner example, but it’s likely as close as you’re going to get. The Conquest and its Mitsubishi-badged twin, the Starion, are enjoying an uptick in values as younger collectors jump into the fray. These have been too cheap for a while, so it’s not a surprise to see the strong bids thus far. You’ll find the Conquest listed here on eBay with bids to $8,600 and no reserve.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Patrick S. for the find. It’s always curious to me to see some sports cars seemingly cherished since new, and others slide down a path of abuse that usually leaves them broken in just a short while. You can find plenty of perfectly preserved Fox body Mustangs, but Starions and Conquests simply don’t show up in this sort of condition all that often. To this day, the “Starquests” don’t garner the same type of love as its contemporaries in both the muscle car and Japanese sports car camps do, but some auction results – though outliers at the moment – have shown that collectors are waking up to these highly capable machines.

 

The cars came well equipped from the factory, both from a technical and creature comfort perspective. The engines were turbocharged and intercooled, the fender flared, and the sharp allow wheels staggered if you opted for the Sport Handling package. Speaking of handling, the Starquest twins were quite competent on the track, and came standard with fully independent suspension and a limited slip differential. The interior was another high point, as the cars came standard with thickly-bolstered bucket seats and the seat belts were emblazoned with “Turbo” lettering, a fitting tribute for the era in which the two cars were made. The seller notes everything works perfectly, from the air conditioning to the power antenna.

This is a rare sight: a stock engine bay in a car that practically invites abuse. Turning up the boost was a cheap and easy way to extract more power from the 2.6L SOHC engine, but thankfully, this is one of the few that hasn’t been modified. The seller notes that belts and fluids were proactively changed, and that the previous owner installed a new set of tires that retain plenty of tread. With no outstanding issues and the major box checked of having zero modifications, this looks like an heirloom-quality example of a car that is most often found blown up or in the process of being modified in the worst ways possible. Find a better one, and if you do, buy it.

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Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    I loved everything about these, EXCEPT for the “mechanical mouse” seatbelts! This one appears to be a real beauty, and the color is sharp! GLWTA! :-)

    Like 15
  2. DualJetfire

    A friend of mine vowed never to buy another one of these. The heads crack on every one. That’s why they are rare. Heads are unobtainium.

    Like 9
    • Fred W

      Probably more of a museum piece anyway. Buy it and drive sparingly. I like the look of these both inside and out- doesn’t have the severe boxy look of most 80’s sporty cars.

      Like 1
      • Walter

        Rarely drive mine but it is a fun car when I roll it out. Was fortunate to be able to buy all of the factory diagnostic equipment from a dealership years ago.

    • Vince Z

      Ive owned one of these since new, my current 88 has well over 200k miles. Never an issue with the head. They do require you treat them right but mine can sit all winter and fires right up. Heads are easy to find and there are even ‘improved’ version without jetvalves available.

      Like 8
    • Dave

      Mine used to burn a gallon of water every two days. No smoke?!?. Replaced cracked head and away we went

      Like 2
    • bone

      Yep ,the infamous 2.6 Mitsubishi got put in all sorts of cars and all shared that same fate ; even when you could buy the heads they were very expensive so most ended up in the boneyard

      Like 3
    • Brad

      Heads are unobtainium? No way. Clearwater heads in Florida still makes them, $400 and they are better castings then OEM. These are great cars. Internet rumors have killed the value for years. Over the last twenty years there has always been at least one in my driveway.

      Like 18
      • Walter

        I’ve had mine for about 12 years.

        Like 3
    • JCA

      What? The heads are easy to find and cheap

      Like 2
  3. XMA0891

    A real beauty, with no less than three pedals! Always thought these to be sharp! It has been a long time since I’ve seen one – Great find!

    Like 1
  4. jerry z

    I remember when these first hit the showroom floors. The body style to me is timeless. Just was never interested since it only came with a 4 cup engine. Over the years these are harder to find in nice shape. Always wanted to drop in a V8.

    Like 1
    • Robert Cummins

      Put in a Hell Cat V8 Motor Turbo and Super Charged the motor and watch it fly.

  5. Gord

    odd on the heads… had a sapporo (challenger) with same 2.6… it was ubiquitous
    on all mitsu AND mopars of that era (the 2.6 was an option on many k-cars and derivatives). So… odd they are hard to find but.. it has been a number of years since those engines were in either. just saying there are more than one source for the head.
    GLTWS!
    and yes, i hate those seatbelts… wish there was a way to make them permanently in one spot a la standard 3pt setup

  6. Spanky

    “and the sharp allow wheels”

    Like 2
  7. Willie

    Worked at a CPD dealer when these came out. They ran good but I hated working on them. Electronics were a nightmare. Very little diagnostic info available from Chrysler. But the road tests were fun!

  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    At the current bid of $10,500, someone must be feeling nostalgic, seems like too much money.

    The dealer will sell it to you for $16,700 – such a “deal”.

    Like 3
  9. jeffro

    As a young man fresh out of high school in summer of 1988, I was going to purchase one of these. Was all good till I found out what my insurance was going to be. Insurance payment was almost twice what my car payment was going to be.

    Like 1
  10. MoparMatt

    I almost purchased one of these in about 1998 in the exact same color as this one, but it had an automatic. I always loved the way these looked from 1987-1989 with the flared wheel fenders. I eventually bought an Eagle Talon and I am glad I did. I actually talked to the guy that did buy the Conquest, and it needed something like $5000 worth of work on a car they wanted $3,000 for!

    Like 1
  11. John Mele

    I bought one of these off my brother for $5500 with 40K miles on it ,in the 80’s ,standard shift super fun to drive .Maxed out at around 104-105 miles per hour
    but got there really quickly ,greatest acceleration was in 4th gear from 60 to 100
    Here’s the kicker I paid $5500 but Ins wanted $4500 for full coverage
    I was iiving in the bad old Bronx at the time (was a bronx firefighter)
    For the price of insurance they wanted I didnt take the collision and theft
    Put on the stearing lock (remeber them) and disconected the distributer
    The one night I didnt and it got stolen. Guy at the firehouse gave me a Mercury Zepher beater (maybe worst car I ever had)
    was heded home and saw my Conquest parked on a side streeet . Knocked on the door asked owner of house it was in front of what they new. They said
    some kid was using it daily> Turns out he puched out the door lock and made a key out of sheet metal

    Like 2
  12. Walter

    A better one… in my garage. One previous owner, started life as Christmas present from C/P/D/ dealer to his wife. 35K miles, 1987 original black paint w/ black leather and 5sp. Louvers, 83 hood, N.O.S. HKS exhaust and airbox. Looked for 2 years to find this one…

    • Oregon_Guy78 Member

      But modified……

  13. G Lo

    I always loved the ridiculously large fuel tank. The black box ignition system was always a bit of a problem on mine but if you gave it a sharp tap it would work. Great handling and looks and pretty good fuel mileage if you kept your foot out of it.

  14. Superdessucke

    Beautiful car, wow. I’ve never seen one in this colour. Most were white, black or silver. The burgundy definitely works.

    I always loved the style of these. Great to see one unmodified, as hot rodders destroyed many of them.

    Like 1
  15. Marty Bartels

    Love my ’86 with 5 speed and louvers. 49K original. Am original owner. Always starts right up after winter storage. Black. Get comments wherever I go. Fun car that you don’t see very often.

    Like 1
  16. Miguel

    I never thought these cars would ever approach 5 digits in price.

    For the record, I like the first version without the cheesy widened fenders.

  17. chrlsful

    is this the 1 massarati or one of them put their motor in. Caddy sent over a short car (later?), these guys sent this 1, no? ford got the DeTomasso (earlier)? May B it wuz the LeBaron?…

  18. Brisco

    I bought one new in 88. I drive it sparingly. It just rolled over 12,000 miles. Car is as it came from the factory, other than the battery, oil, & filter (that I kept) right down to the original tires it still runs on. Red, black interior. So the car listed is not the lowest miled or mint condition car on the planet :-)

    • Zcharger

      You’re right about lowest milage. A buddy of mine has been trying to pry a Fiji blue SHP conquest with a little over 5k miles from its original owner. No luck so far, but hopeful. Same guy has a 3000 Spyder with similar milage.

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