1987 Chrysler Conquest TSI: Identity Crisis

1987 Chrysler TSI

Over the years, I have been largely disappointed with the efforts put forth by manufacturers to share platforms or re-badge niche models. The latest insult was the Subaru BRZ and Scion FRS, which was not a bad car on its own but neither manufacturer seemed interested in supporting its continued development once sales figures didn’t materialize. But there are a few bright spots of resource-sharing or badge engineering, and the Chrysler Conquest and Mitsubishi Starion twins are one such example. This 1987 Conquest here on eBay has a buy-it-now of $4,500 and despite its salvage title, looks largely original.

1987 Chrysler TSI Interior

Now, I realize the salvage title likely already has some of you scratching your heads, but if the seller is accurate in saying it’s due to cosmetic vandalism, I wouldn’t count it as a deal-breaker – yet. In the state I reside in, you can legally register salvage title vehicles over 10 years old like any other car, with no proof required of repairs or other efforts made to address the reasons it was totaled out. As an older car with little value according to most pricing guides, I could see the car being keyed on every panel as reason enough for insurance carriers to simply take it off their books. For the record, I can’t see any obvious signs of the purported keying, but white paint does a good job of hiding things.

1987 Chrysler TSI Engine

With that out of the way, let’s look at the car. On paper, things appear good – rear wheel drive, turbocharged and intercooled 2.6L 4-cylinder and a limited-slip differential all wrapped in a slippery widebody design and motivated by a healthy 176 horsepower and 223 pound-feet of torque. To this day, I consider it one of the most attractive cars of the 1980s, and I love it for not only the performance but also the gimmicky gadget features that found their way into numerous 1980s vehicles. The climate control system that measured air temperature at both the head and foot level is probably my favorite, and I still think windows that can be moved up and down after the ignition has been removed is an excellent idea.

Chrysler TSI

It’s hard to find one of these cars without the addition of a bigger turbo cranking out more boost. I would quickly return this car to stock with original components, but considering how many Starions and Conquests are completely ragged by now, this one has survived largely intact. Factor in that car has the factory “Sports Handling Package”, which included wider wheels in the rear and adjustable front and rear struts, and you can see why there might be some value to bringing this one back to showroom condition. The price is too high at the moment, but I suspect the seller will adjust accordingly once he realizes how tricky it can be to register a salvage car – someone with a lenient DMV might walk away with a steal.



  1. Rich

    Always loved the looks of these.

  2. rjc

    I always like these,I agree with everything you’ve said Jeff.
    great looking sporty cars with plenty of power to put a smile on your face.

  3. pbryantr

    I think these cars had the best factory wheels of any car in the 80s.

  4. jim s

    i too like these. hot car back in the 80’s. will not move in snow and feel loose in the rear on wet roads to me. if seller wants the asking price then they need to post a carfax and the insurance paper work to prove just keyed, not wrecked, as reason for salvage title.

  5. Jeff Lavery

    RJC – those fenders make me weak in the knees! Jim, I agree – a Carfax would do lot to put any fears about the salvage title to rest.

    • jim s

      ebay # 291403493178 is interesting also.

      • Jeff Lavery

        Great find, Jim – does look like a nice, stock example.

  6. MountainMan

    I have always liked these and knew a couple people who owned them. If I recall the performance was equal to a contemporary Porsche 944 in acceleration and handling. These are getting harder and harder to find in good and mostly stock condition. Those box flares are so sweet. So, I see others think the $4500 ask is too high? That seems ok based on what I see but with the salvage brand on the title it may be something that other folks are more put off by than I am personally. Even it was from more that cosmetic damage a salvage title doesn’t scare me if the car was repaired properly. I have scored some good deals on cars with a salvage title and only had one that wasn’t what it should be. It was an 88 or maybe 89 300ZX and it was scary. I bought it at an auction when I had a dealers license and soon realized it was cobbled together. It still ran like a scalded dog but drove like one too unfortunately. Sold it dirt cheap and kept on driving the 89 Prelude Si.

    • Jeff Lavery

      MountainMan, my E36 M3 is a salvage car and has been one of the best used cars I’ve ever owned. Theft recovery.

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