1983-1989 Plymouth / Chrysler Conquest: sporty rebadged Mitsubishis

The Conquest was introduced in 1983 by a Chrysler Corporation that had yet to bring out its own sports coupe, the Dodge Daytona, and was aimed at the Supra, RX7, or 280ZX.

conquest

The Conquest combined sporty, modern styling with nice trim, and advanced electronics including thermostatic climate control and an electronically controlled transmission. It came with full instrumentation — and buyers could get an optional “technica” digital dashboard.

The Conquest wasn’t exactly brand new, and it certainly wasn’t a Chrysler; it was a modified Mitsubishi Starion two-door, four-seat hatchback, based on the Mitsubishi Galant Lambda / Sapparo (also sold for a time as the Plymouth Sapparo). It was an image car more than a big seller.

The Conquest had a MacPherson strut front suspension and an independent rear suspension; the base engine in Japan was 2 liters, but Americans got a turbocharged 2.6 liter single-overhead-cam engine with throttle-body electronic fuel injection (dual injectors). The car looked like contemporary front wheel drivers, but had rear wheel drive with a front engine.

2.6 engine with turbocharger

Horsepower started at 150; the TSi’s intercooler boosted that to 176. A five-speed manual transmission was standard, with an optional four speed automatic. The 2.6 had hemispherical combustion chambers with center-mounted spark plugs and a third valve in each chamber for better mixing and burning (MCA-JET). Dual balance shafts (engine stabilizers) in the block kept it smooth; a small turbocharger lowered lag.

The shape was appropriate for a truly aerodynamic car, with a drag coefficient (cD) of 0.32, about the same as the later Dodge Neon and quite good for the time.

The Conquest ran until 1989 with few exterior changes (and a move to the Plymouth brand in 1986), by which time the Daytona had its own turbocharger. Mitsubishi replaced it with the Dodge Stealth, a restyled Mitsubishi 3000GT.

1989 chrysler conquest

In 1986, the base engine had dropped a little, to 145 horsepower and 185 lb-feet of torque, getting 19 mpg city, 24 highway, regardless of transmission. Transmissions were a five-speed with 0.856 fifth gear and 3.369 first gear, and a four-speed with 0.68 fourth gear and 2.45 first gear; the high gearing on the four speed hurt performance a bit, but increased gas mileage. The sole axle ratio was 3.545:1; turning diameter was a tight 31.5 feet; and the entire package weighed 2,820 pounds.

The Conquest’s optional air conditioner measured temperature at both the ceiling and the floor, with a photosensor to compensate for sunlight. It had an electronically tuned AM/FM stereo option with a five-band graphic equalizer, cassette, and six speakers, with digital controls (with somewhat less convenience.) Cable-operated remote liftgate and gas-cap releases were standard, with power window controls were in the center console.

conquest car interior

The Technica package included electronic gauges and voice alerts; either dashboard was oriented towards the driver.

teknica dashboard

In 1988, Chrysler published this press release:

Performance highlights include a new 188-horsepower rating under the TSi's sleek hood, an increase of 12 horsepower for the strong 2.6-liter turbocharged, intercooled four-cylinder engine. ... The new beefed-up optional four-speed automatic transmission is now available.

Four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock rear brakes, an anti-theft system, automatic passive restraints and power door locks are just some of the TSi's standard highlights. New sporty five-way adjustable bucket seats, a new leather-wrapped four­spoke steering wheel and a new stainless steel exhaust system are added to a comprehensive list of standard equipment that help make Conquest TSi an outstanding value.

Conquest for 1988 is truly a driver's car featuring curve-taming 16-inch aluminum road wheels that are seven inches wide on the front and eight inches wide on the rear. The optional Performance Handling Package includes eight-inch wide front and nine-inch wide rear wheels with 225/50 (front) and 255/45 (rear) low profile tires and gas adjustable shocks for all-out handling and stability.

Exterior accents on the Conquest's performance check list include concealed halogen headlights, fog lamps in the bumper, a rear spoiler, rear wiper/washer with intermittent wipe feature, a new aerodynamic front air dam, optional pop-up glass sunroof and two new high-impact colors, Bright Yellow and Super Blue.

1988 chrysler conquest

Interior touches include full analog instrumentation, split fold-down contoured rear seats, dual illuminated vanity mirrors, and fabric covered headliner, door trim panels, sun visors, armrests and quarter trim panels. Also among the more than 60 standard features that combine to enhance Conquest's comfort, convenience and value are automatic speed control, power antenna, electrically controlled heated outside mirrors, adjustable steering wheel, a full complement of warning lights, and an electronically tuned AM/FM stereo cassette radio with six speakers and a nine band graphic equalizer sound system.

The Conquest TSi imported for Chrysler is backed by a 3-year/50,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and a 5-year/ 50,000-mile outerbody corrosion warranty. TSi has a 95.9-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 173.2 inches. Width is 68.3 inches and overall height is 50.2 inches.

Featured Chrysler Conquest

One of the rarer cars at the 2008 All-Chrysler Nationals at Carlisle was this clean 1989 Chrysler Conquest TSi belonging to Terry Sturgill of Norton, VA. Terry acquired his car in 2001 when it had 56,000 miles on the odometer. It came with 8-way adjustable shocks and other options. The 2.6 liter single-overhead-cam engine, displaying the Mitsubishi brand on the valve cover, features a turbocharger and throttle-body electronic fuel injection. Terry has added a long list of modifications which he believe boosts horsepower to 375-400 from a typical factory rating of less than 200.

conquest tail

Photos show the car's highly aerodynamic body lines, front and back, and a cockpit for serious driving! But notice those safety belts that follow the opening and closing of the doors. The Mitsubishi version of the Conquest was marketed as the Starion, and, while the Starion evolved after 1989 into the Mitsubishi 3000GT and Mitsubishi Eclipse, the Mopar versions became the Dodge Stealth and Plymouth Laser/Eagle Talon.

1986-1988 Chrysler Conquest specifications

Engine 2.6 liter (156 cid) I-4, intercooled turbo, throttle-body fuel injection
Power 176 hp @ 5,000 rpm; 223 lb-ft @ 2,500
145 hp, 185 lb-ft (1986)
Mileage 18 city, 20/22 highway (automatic/stick); 19.8 gallon tank
Transmissions Five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Weight 1986, 2,820 lb; 1988, 3,031 pounds
Wheelbase 95.9 inches

Length x Width x Height 173.2 x 66.3 x 50.2 (wheelbase, 95.9 / 2436mm)
Cargo capacity 10.3 cubic feet
Head room F/R 36.6 / 35.4
Leg room F/R 40.7 / 29.1
Shoulder room, F/R 52.4 / 51.2
Hip room, F/R 53.1 / 40.6
Track F/R 54.9 / 55.1
Turning diameter 31.5 feet

Gear ratios, five-speed transmission: 3.369, 2.035, 1.360, 1.0, 0.856; reverse, 3.578:1

Gear ratios, four-speed automatic with lockup torque converter: 2.45, 1.45, 1.0, 0.68; reverse, 2.18

1988 dimensions:

dimensions

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