Editorial : November 5, 2008
Low. Black. Popping. Crackling. Whistling. Half mechanic and half bionic, the Chrysler Conquest was a vehicle some revered in an almost mythical sense. The name itself struck a tone of confidence in an owner. Created by Mitsubishi, but being imported and sold under the Chrysler name, the Conquest is also often overlooked as one of the great Japanese sports coupes. Reactions range from confusion, to pure fright as the loud blowoff valve vents off pressure into the atmosphere. Quizzical looks and turned heads are produced anywhere you go as if the Conquest name has been completely forgotten.
Touting a powerful 2.6 liter turbocharged motor, sending power through a 5 speed transmission to the rear wheels through a factory Limited Slip Differential, the Chrysler Conquest was an overlooked gem. In 1988 the Conquest truly became a driver’s car. An optional handling package became available with staggered wheels, 8 inches wide in the front and 9 inches wide in the rear. Not only did that allow for better road gripping prowess but the package also included gas adjustable shocks. Just remember this is 1987 we’re talking about folks. Boost builds and hits like a hammer, pinning you into the seat until the next gear, and you can very easily find yourself overwhelmed and sideways in an instant.
I had the pleasure of riding in a mildly modified example and the results are impressive to say the least. Fitted with a small 16g turbocharger yet essentially stock, the car put down over 315ft/lbs to the wheels — that’s V8 territory! To put this into perspective, the stock vehicle makes just over 180 to the wheels. Driving one is a purely visceral experience as so many noises and sensations penetrate your brain. Due to some simple mechanical problems, you can find many Conquests in very good shape as the owners have simply abandoned fixing them and listed them for sale instead. Simply put, the Chrysler Conquest is a very affordable diamond in the rough for someone looking for cheap rear wheel drive fun.