In the 1980s, the Chrysler Corporation was in the middle of a resurgence after nearly being eliminated by bankruptcy in 1979. Thanks to the actions of then Chrysler CEO, Lee Iacocca, the automaker secured a loan guarantee from the United States government to invest in a more efficient small front-wheel-drive (FWD) architecture which would spawn the highly-successful “K” car and minivan portfolio of vehicles.
It wouldn’t take long after the success of the K-car architecture, that Chrysler realized it needed to enhance its performance image. Looking for a quick answer, Chrysler tapped Japanese automaker Mitsubishi for a solution.
At the time, Chrysler had a successful relationship with Mitsubishi. In 1970, Chrysler purchased a 15% stake in the Japanese automaker and began distributing compact fuel-efficient Mitsubishi models (like the Dodge Colt) in North America. By 1982, Chrysler was importing more than 110,000 Mitsubishis annually, so it made sense that Mitsubishi’s new front-engined, rear-wheel-drive (RWD) Starion grand tourer (GT) coupe could be a suitable answer.
The Mitsubishi Starion competed against the likes of the Mazda RX-7, Toyota Supra, and Nissan Z in Japan.
Rebranded as the “Conquest” for both the Dodge and Plymouth brands from 1984 to 1986, and Chrysler brand from 1987 to 1989, the Conquest featured a toned-down version of the Starion’s bodywork which first appeared in the North American market in 1983. The models built for Chrysler Corporation, ditched the Starion’s ram-air styled hood and front bumper with intregrated front license plate bracket. The toned-down look gave the car a much sleeker look, so much so, that Mitsubishi adapted the Starion to follow suit.
Under the hood of the Conquest, was a turbocharged 2.6-liter inline-four-cylinder engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission or 4-speed automatic transmission. The Mitsubishi 4G54 engine used a TD05-12A Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) turbocharger and delivered 145 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm and 185 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2,500 rpm without an intercooler on LE and Technica models.
Those who opted for a 1986 Conquest TSi wide-bodied model, received an intercooler and thus achieved 173 horsepower and 223 lb.-ft. of torque.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, people bought up various Conquest models and would ditch the Mitsubishi powertrain to V8 swap the lightweight RWD chassis. Unfortunately, it is becoming harder and harder to find clean examples of the cars still in their stock form.
When surfing the popular online auction site “Bring A Trailer”, we stubbled across this 1986 Dodge Conquest TSi. With only 62,000 miles on the odometer, the Mexican Red-colored coupe appears to be in great shape and looks to retain its stock turbo 2.6-liter engine. According to auction, the car was acquired by the selling dealer in August 2019, and subsequent work included refinishing the wheels, driver’s door, and front spoiler, a tune-up, as well as replacement of the slave cylinder, spark plugs, and fuel filter.
The car is currently being offered in Fort Meyers, Florida. To see more, you check out the “Bring A Trailer” auction which appears to be active for the next 6 days (until Dec. 12th).
1986 Dodge Conquest TSi Image Gallery: