The Guide to the Chrysler Conquest/Mitsubishi Starion. Is a Dodge Conquest by any other name still a Dodge Conquest? Yes, it turns out. The famous three-door coupe was a mainstay sports vehicle during the 1980s, branded as a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth Conquest or a Mitsubishi/Colt Starion. It had small displacement turbocharged engines, rear wheel drive, and the most 1980s body package ever made. It had pop-up headlights, a huge rear window hatchback, boxy angles, and a long snout.
Conquests/Starions are identifiable when they pass by, even though they are rare to see on the road today. The initial manufacturing run lasted eight years, from 1982 to 1989, when it was replaced by a variety of Mitsubishi and Chrysler vehicles. It was the forefather of some of the most sought-after tuner vehicles of the 1990s. Its echoes can still be heard today in tiny displacement turbocharged sport coupes.
History of Mitsubishi Starion and Chrysler Conquest
To learn about the Starquest, we must go back to the period of the Ancient Greeks. Not precisely, but that is where the name Starion (“Star of Arion”) derives from, which signifies a fabled and speedy horse in Greek mythology. Moving forward in time, 1982 was the year Mitsbushi began manufacturing the Starion from their design in Japan. Mitsubishi developed the Starion to compete with other JDM sports cars of the time. Mazda RX-7, Toyota Supra, Nissan 280zx/300zx, and Honda Prelude were among them.
Due to an existing relationship, Chrysler began selling the Starion in North America under its own brand names; Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth; as the Conquest, where it competed alongside the Mitsubishi branded Starion, beginning in 1983. Mitsubishi sold the Starion in the United Kingdom under the Colt name.
The Starion/Conquest was originally only available in a narrowbody configuration, but starting in 1985, it was also available in a widebody configuration. The narrowbody design was influenced in part by Japanese legislation that taxed larger automobiles, making it more affordable. Until 1987, the Japanese market also received the lesser of the available engines, the 2.0 L inline-4 turbo, rather than the 2.6 L inline-4 turbo offered in the North American market.
The ESI-R badge was assigned to the Starion’s highest performance variants, whereas the TSi badge was assigned to the Conquests. The Chrysler Conquests and Mitsubishi Starions were produced until 1989, when they were dropped from the lines. Today, it’s unusual to see any Starions or Conquests on the street. Most years’ manufacturing numbers were significantly under 20,000, making these automobiles rare to find in good condition.
The Starquest and the Group B Rally
The Mitsubishi Starion was a notable motorsports competitor during its lifespan, which may surprise some. It competed in both Group A and Group N events and was a long-time endurance racing champion. Mitsubishi even built a prototype of the Starion that intended to participate in the Group B rally class. They presented it at the 1983 Tokyo Motor Show with a slightly bored 2.1 L G63B and 4WD.
The modified Starion weighed slightly more than 2,100 pounds and had the engine slanted 6 degrees backward to accommodate a 4WD front differential. The engine also had custom cam timing to improve low-end throttle responsiveness and torque. The engine was apparently tuned to produce 335 horsepower and 325 ft-lbs of torque. This would have been a significant improvement over the 145 horsepower offered in production vehicles at the time.
Unfortunately, Group B Rally ceased before the Starion had an opportunity to compete, making it one of rally history’s big what ifs. It was primarily inspired by the Audi Quattro, the pinnacle of Group B rallying.
Diamond Star Automobiles
In the 1990s, Chrysler and Mitsubishi collaborated on the Mitsubishi GTO-3000GT/Dodge Stealth, Plymouth Laser/Eagle Talon/Mitsubishi Eclipse to replace the Starion and Conquest. Diamond Star Motors was formed as a result of their collaboration. The moniker DSM was derived from a combination of the Chrysler star and Mitsubishi diamond insignia. The DSM alliance created some highly iconic cars, all of which were inspired by the Starion/Conquest.
Engines and Performance of the Chrysler Conquest and Starion
The Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth Conquest and Mitsubishi Starions had two engine options. The Sirius 2.0 L G63B or the Astron 2.6 L G54B engines. Both had fuel injection, and North American models had a TD05-12A turbo that produced 7.5 PSI of boost. The Astron G54B also featured twin injectors, hemi-shaped cylinders, center-mounted spark plugs, dual balance shafts, and three valves per cylinder for a total of 12 valves. The Sirius G63B has three valves per cylinder in high performance variants as well. The third valve was only activated at higher RPMs in these configurations for greater top end power. Redlines were also increased to 7000 RPMs in these models.
From 1983 through 1986, the Japanese market received only the Sirius G63G, but beginning in 1987, it received the same Astron G54B as North America. The transition was primarily motivated by emissions laws, as the G54B produced more power with less effort. Both engines were SOHC with a chain drive.
Both engines were available in intercooled and non-intercooled configurations. Mitsubishi/Chrysler launched the intercooled variants in 1985, and the higher performance versions produced somewhat more horsepower and ft-lbs of torque. Surprisingly, the body package matched the engine version. Widebodies received high-performance variations, while narrowbodies received non-intercooled and lower-performance variants.
While both of these engines are unremarkable in and of themselves, the G63B’s successor is one of the most highly regarded tuner engines of all time. The SOHC G63B served as the foundation for the DOHC 4G63T, which powered vehicles such as the Lancer Evolution until 2007. The 4G63T is widely regarded as one of the most powerful and robust performance engines ever produced. While its predecessor isn’t as well-known or powerful, it still holds its own when modified.
Performance Chrysler Conquest/Mitsubishi Starion
Both the G63B and G54B saw their power gradually grow over time. They began with a very low 145 hp and by 1989, the top performance ESI-R and TSi were producing 197 horsepower.
Zero to 60 mph speeds ranged from 9 seconds in low performance vehicles to 8 seconds in high performance badged variants later in the year. While that may not sound very fast to modern ears, it was actually quite respectable during the mid-1980s emissions crunch. Chevrolet Camaros of the same era produced about the same amount of power, but with substantially larger 5.0 L and 5.7 L V8 engines.
The engine wasn’t the only aspect of the Conquests and Starions that received minor performance boosts. High-performance vehicles were equipped with a limited-slip differential for the rear wheels, as well as independent rear suspension with McPherson struts, fared flenders (beginning in 1987), and a decreased ride height. All of this contributed to the Conquests and Starions driving unusually well for their time. Their light curb weights of 2,800 lbs (narrowbody) or 3,000 lbs (widebody) compensated for the lack of power as well.
There were two gearbox options: a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic, with the manual being faster and more reliable. The rear tires were slightly wider 225/50VR16 than the front’s 205/55VR16, and it had four-wheel vented disc brakes. With bigger tires and 8-point adjustable shocks, a sports handling package increased performance even more.
The Starion Concept
The Mitsubishi Starion/Chrysler Conquest, as seen in the photos, was a highly attractive car for the 1980s. It bears a passing similarity to the Porsche 944 – and managed to stay up with it in terms of performance for a few years. As previously stated, the cars were available in two body styles: narrowbody and widebody. From 1986 to 1987, the widebody was 2.4″ wider than the narrowbody and weighed over 200 lbs more. The widebody was narrowed 0.4″ to 68.3″ for 1988-1989, making it only 2″ wider than the narrowbody.
Both models had a non-functional hood scoop, dual air vents, and a functional and massive air dam on the elongated nose. All models were hatchbacks with an all-glass liftgate connected to the side windows that all lifted open at the same time. The seatbelts were powered, and the headlights were pop-ups, the pinnacle of mid-80s style. It’s difficult to tell, but Starquests did have back seats, but they were extremely cramped.
The dashboard was flat and vertical, with a boost gauge for the turbo. It came equipped with dial gauges and could be upgraded to include LED panels. Today, several body kits for Mitsubishi Starions and Chrysler Conquests are available, many of which accentuate the boxy OEM design. The top-of-the-line ESI-R and TSi models also included leather seats, which was a welcome enhancement.
Common Issues with the Chrysler/Mitsubishi Starquest
The Chrysler Conquest/Mitsubishi Starion are generally regarded as exceptionally reliable vehicles. Although they had a relatively short production run in the 1980s, this should not be interpreted as an indication of dependability. By the early 2000s, there were many 200,000 mile Conquests and Starions still on the road. Unfortunately, the most of them have died by now.
During the production run of Starions and Conquests, some of the most common issues were oil leaks, oil buildup on the spark plug electrode, and overheating. These were not prevalent difficulties, and adequate maintenance was critical to avoiding problems. Even the turbos were rather dependable, with no major defects or concerns.
Anyone looking to buy a Starquest today should look for rust, particularly in the rear arches and sills. Furthermore, anything electrical should be thoroughly tested to ensure that it is still operational. The front lip is infamous for dings and scuffs due to the low ride height. It should be expected to have at least some minor damage.
There are still clean and well-maintained Chrysler Conquests out there, but they are becoming increasingly difficult to locate. Well-maintained ESI-R and TSi versions cost between $15,000 and $22,000, depending on extras, transmission, and so on. There are also some really well-kept variants selling far over $25,000, as well as several beater ones for under $10,000.
Chrysler Conquest and Starion Improvements
The Chrysler Conquest and Mitsubishi Starion aren’t really performance vehicles, but they do have a thriving aftermarket community. There are numerous changes that can be made to the Starquest to boost performance, both in terms of suspension and engine power.
The most frequent suspension improvements are sway bars, brakes, and coilovers/lowering springs. Sway bars improve the car’s handling in and out of sharp bends, but stronger brakes are required when the engine is altered. The Chrysler Conquest/Mitsubishi Starion already rides low, but coilovers can lower it even more for a lower center of gravity.
Engine power may be increased all the way to 400 with a few simple bolt-ons and a turbo swap. For non-intercooled versions, standard mods such as an intake, downpipe, and intercooler all produce about 10-15 hp.
The best approach to boost power on the G63B or G54B is to replace the turbocharger. The Starquest may soon become a full-fledged racing machine with a larger turbo and supporting upgrades. However, as you increase your power in the Conquest/Starion, you must also upgrade your internals. Forged connecting rods and pistons, larger fuel injectors, a stronger clutch and other driveline components, and performance camshafts are just a few of the improvements required to handle more forced induction.
Top End Engineering is one of the most reputable Starquest engine performance companies. They produce a large number of Starquest parts, such as turbo conversions, forged connecting rods, camshafts, and downpipes. If you’re thinking about modding your Starquest, Top End Engineering is a great place to start.
Mitsubishi Starion and Chrysler Conquest Legacy are two models.
The Mitsubishi Starion/Chrysler Conquest is without a doubt one of the most recognizable vehicles of the 1980s. Its outrageous appearance, tiny displacement turbo engine, and adequate power make it an excellent illustration of 1980s performance. While it couldn’t compete with higher-spec production cars of the time, it could hold its own. It still has a cult-like following of fans who regard it as nostalgic gold.
A few modifications may turn this 1980s clock into a modern rocket, but donations are becoming scarce. If this is a car you really enjoy and have a connection with, make sure you get one as soon as feasible. Only the best preserved and cared for models will be available in a few years. They will very definitely command a premium by then.