When Chrysler sold a Toyota Supra fighter.
The first thing you might be thinking is that the Chrysler Conquest looks awfully like the equally old Mitsubishi Starion. That's because they're the same car. The Conquest was a product of badge engineering and like the Starion, it was a fine sports car for its time. While you might be more familiar with the Dodge-Mitsubishi tie-up that resulted in the 3000GT-based Dodge Stealth, the two automakers were no strangers. The Mitsubishi Starion debuted in 1982 as an '83 model and remained on the market until 1989. It was part of a new generation of Japanese grand tourers, which included the Mazda RX-7, Subaru XT, Nissan 300ZX and, of course, the A60 Toyota Supra.
Both the Starion and Conquest TSi were sold in the US at the same time and, save for minor details such as brand emblems, they were nearly identical. The Starion had the classic front-engine/rear-wheel-drive layout that's becoming increasingly rare. Even the Chevrolet Corvette famously ditched it this year.
Power came from a 2.6-liter turbocharged inline-four good for 145 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque paired to either a five-speed manual or four-speed slushbox. The Starion featured both narrow and widebody configurations, though the latter has typically been more popular. In fact, the narrow body was aimed at ensuring the car complied with Japanese market dimension regulations.
Beginning in 1986, only the widebody was offered in the US, but it was also that year when another and more significant upgrade occurred. The Chrysler Conquest TSi and Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R premiered, both featuring not only new and edgy widebody panels above the wheel arches but also some more punch under the hood. That same engine was upgraded to 176 hp and 223 lb-ft of torque thanks to some design improvements and the addition of an intercooler. The 16-inch alloy wheels not only look great on the car, but they're also classic 80s styling.
The same can be said of the interior, which is dominated by lots of buttons, a four-spoke steering wheel, and those annoying electronic seat belts. But at least the TSi and ESI-R models had leather seats.
Although there are many still out there, we doubt few are in the same high condition as this 1988 Chrysler Conquest TSi, which is currently up for grabs on Bring A Trailer. This Rio Red over black example has clocked just 75,000 miles and even comes with the original owner's manual. It comes with the optional four-speed automatic, pop-up glass sunroof, integrated rear spoiler, and a Mitsubishi cassette radio with a nine-band equalizer.
This car recently had the driver-side door and front fender refinished and the original factory wheels do have a few blemishes, but that's to be expected from a 32-year-old car. As of this writing, the highest bid was only $3,000 but there are still a few days left until the auction ends.
They may not have achieved the fame of the Toyota Supra, but the Chrysler Conquest TSi/Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R still represents an era of great Japanese sports cars.