1983 Mitsubishi Starion hatchback coupe

“The sportscar that’s charged with more than a turbo.”

The 1983 Mitsubishi Starion was a significant change of pace for Mitsubishi. Seen back in the day as a poor man’s Porsche 944 at about two-thirds of the price, the Starion reached customers that Mitsubishi had never competed for before. Because of Chrysler’s relationship with Mitsubishi, nearly identical cars were sold starting in 1984 first as the Plymouth Conquest and Dodge Conquest and then as the Chrysler Conquest beginning in 1987 (gotta love branding).

For 1983, motive power was provided by the Astron G54B 145 bhp 2.6 liter/156 ci inline four with turbocharger and fuel injection connected to a five-speed manual. There was no automatic transmission available for 1983, so all 6,297 cars sold came with the manual. 0-60 came in about 9 seconds in a car that weighed about 2,700 pounds. Mileage was 19 city/24 highway by the standards of the day (17/22 by today’s standards). With a relatively large 19.8-gallon gas tank, a Starion owner could expect a range of between 310 and 385 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

At $12,079 (about $28,800 in today’s dollars), the base Starion EX included four-wheel disc brakes, power steering, power windows, and alloy wheels. Moving up to the LS (an additional $1,840, making the car a $33,100 purchase in 2014) added air conditioning, six-way adjustable front seats, digital instrumentation, and an AM/FM stereo cassette with eight speakers.

Options included a sunroof, cruise control, and larger tires and wheels. LS purchasers could go crazy and get leather seat facings and a single two-tone paint option (Italian Silver/Behring Blue Metallic).

I have not seen a Starion on the road in years, but it seems that at least a few are being saved and there is some online support. A quick perusal shows that lack of maintenance of the complex for its day engine causes most of the serious issues with this car.

You occasionally see Starions come up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds or on eBay Motors, but there were none for sale when I last checked—the later 3000 GT does better. I haven’t seen one in many years. Make mine red, of course.


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