Pros: Turbo, Fast, Gorgeous, Fun
Cons: Prone to minor front end damage, No longer in production
What is a Conquest?
The Dodge/Chrysler Conquest TSI, and its sister car the Mitsubishi Starion, are virtually the same car electronically, mechanically, and even cosmetically save for minor changes to the rims and some panels.
The car was produced in the 1980?s during the days when every car company seemed to be producing a turbo charged 4-cylinder sports car in the 20-30,000 dollar price range.
My experience with this car
My father was and still is an executive for Chrysler, and one of the perks of the job is to bring home almost any car you wanted for a 2-year time span. I was about 8 years old when he brought home a silver Dodge Conquest TSI, with burgundy leather interior. I truly loved this car, I remember the feeling of the G-forces throwing me back into the passenger side seat as the car accelerated. the vents on each side, the black tinted back windows, made this car look vicious.
When I turned 17 years old, I saw an ad in the paper for a 1987 Conquest for $2000 dollars. The car had very high miles, but the look of the car brought back all the memories of my youth. I could not resist buying my very first sports car.
My review on this car will be a compilation of what I remember from the new Conquest my father had in my youth, and my personal driving experience of an older Conquest I had in my late teens.
A little history
The Conquest and Starion were made in Japan and built by Mitsubishi from 1983-1989.
Half of the cars were then shipped to the United States where Dodge would place the Conquest label on the back, just under would read ?Imported for Dodge?
Chrysler and Mitsubishi entered into a contract that made this relationship possible, and lasted a very long time:
Dodge Conquest (sister) Mitsubishi Starion
Eagle Talon (sister) Mitsubishi Eclipse
Dodge Stealth (sister) Mitsubishi 3000 GT
One could see how the ?American? cars were all very similar to their Japanese counterpart with minor cosmetic changes.
The Conquest Tsi was built to compete with Mazda Rx-7 and Nissan 300ZX and was fairly successful in doing so. Another very interesting fact of auto history is that the Conquest was the predecessor to the Dodge Stealth. Customers began to demand a Turbo Charged V-6, meeting demand, Dodge ended production of the 4-cylinder Conquest in 1989 and began production of the new Stealth
The Conquest very closely resembles the Porsche 944, with a lot of sharp angles, vents, and features that were reminiscent of the Delorean. As a comparison reference, the Conquest was about the same size and weight as the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Eagle Talon of 95-98. I searched the web, and managed to find a used Conquest for sale, I have included a link to the ?For Sale? page so those interested could see first hand the beauty of this car. (even if the picture is of a 15-year-old car)
Handling and Power
The Conquest handles like a slug until the RPM?s rev to about 2500, at that point the turbo charger kicks in and you just feel yourself being pushed back into your seat, the exhaust note sounded absolutely perfect. Powered by a 2.6 liter-4, intercooled Turbo engine. The TSI put out 188-horse power. Tests showed the car did 0-50 in an impressive 5.49 seconds. 5-speed manual transmission came standard, and was equipped with MacPherson-type suspension.
The fuel economy on this car averaged to 20 MPG
The interior of the conquest was plain and simply cool, the control panel and dials seemed to curve around you like a spaceship cockpit. And the speedometer and Tach was the centerpiece showing 160 Mph.
Imagine being a 17 year old and looking at the speedometer of your car read up to 160 MPH, it was really something else.
The stereo was very high-tech for it?s era, it came with the standard radio and cassette and just under it was a 5 band graphic equalizer. There were also the controls on the steering wheel that allowed you to change the radio station, and adjust the volume without having to reach over to the actual consul.
I drive a car now that is faster and even more gorgeous then the Conquest. However, there was just a certain feeling I had while driving that car that my ?superior? car can?t give me.
Perhaps it?s the knowledge that they just don?t make them anymore, and it leaves you with an inevitable feeling of loss knowing that a piece of history is gone forever.
Or maybe I just miss the feeling of being 8 years old, and sitting in the front seat with my dad. The both of us laughing as we were thrown back into our seats while we were driving around town, sharing those moments I will remember for the rest of my life.