Mitsubishi and Chrysler's relationship dates back to the early 1970s, a time when reasonably sized, fuel-efficient cars just weren't quite on the domestic OEMs' collective radars. But it really came into fruition during the mid-1980s. Mitsubishi wanted to gain a foothold in the U.S.; Chrysler wanted to actually sell cars. The solution was for Chrysler to drop a 15 percent stake in the Japanese auto company. This allowed Mitsubishi to sell more cars in the States without violating import quotas and spawned two profitable offspring for Chrysler-Plymouth and Dodge.
The DSM trio introduced in late 1989 is the most notable progeny of this long-distance courtship. But it wasn't the first. The Dodge/Plymouth Conquest (read: Mitsubishi Starion) made itself available to U.S. dealerships roughly half a decade sooner. Conquests and Starions differ little from one another, save for the company badging, logos and such. The three-door, RWD, sports car is a special kind of car, considered by many to be the originator in terms of the modern-day, high-tech, Japanese turbo car so many others have taken cues from.
Joe Gilk would agree. After all, he spent the better part of two years getting to know one '87 Conquest TSi in particular in intimate ways others can only imagine. Joe and his Conquest's relationship began as so many others have; the vehicle was flat-bedded to his mother's house where he was quickly given that glaring look of disbelief-the one that often accompanies $500 shells sitting on bare rims and filled with empty beer cans. Sadly enough, this is the fate of more than a few Conquests.
DSM blood had been running through Joe's veins a good 13 years before he brought the Conquest home. The learning curve began with a non-turbo, first-generation Eclipse and Talons galore, each turbocharged and each with an AWD architecture: a '92, a '95 and a '97. Twelve-second timeslips came and went but so did the broken differentials. Joe prefers the clutch-dropping, throttle-mashing sensation generally associated with RWD cars-not the clutch-slipping, delicate-natured launching method that's often associated with AWD cars and drag racing. As such, something RWD was sourced; but you better believe it had to be something that could be traced back in terms of the DSM family tree.
Technically, even though Dodge's Conquest was spawned through Chrysler and Mitsubishi's joint venture, it still isn't a DSM. Joe's is close though. Reconditioning the original and perhaps volatile 2.6L 4G54 engine was never considered; instead a 4G63 sourced from a '90 DSM was longitudinally retrofitted into place. But a stock 4G63 put into place it was not. No, the renowned Mitsubishi experts at Buschur Racing sent Joe off packing with one of their Stage 3 engine builds. The infamous longblock assembly is nothing short of impressive, including 9.0:1 JE pistons and Crower rods tailored to Buschur specs and a knife-edged and polished crankshaft. The balance shafts are also gone, which helps eliminate the chance of timing belt/valvetrain woes, ARP hardware holds important parts together, and everything was blueprinted and assembled at Buschur central. The top end is just as impressive; it better be, it's also one of Buschur's Stage 3 packages. Stainless steel valves, bronze valve guides and high-performance springs and retainers make the Stage 3 head what it is. Extensive porting and polishing in the right places paired with Buschur-spec Comp Cams camshafts make the cylinder head the last place this 4G63 might be held back. A sheetmetal intake manifold from, you guessed it, Buschur, along with an Accufab throttle body completes the package.