This article is by Tim Baxter over at Grassroots Motorsports Magazine, and it showcases the Diamond Star joint venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler, including the offspring of this endeavor, the Eclipse, Laser, and Talon sport coupes. Read more after the jump….
According to Baxter:
Chrysler had enjoyed a brief flash of popularity thanks to the K-car and all its spinoffs. The humble little K-car (and about a kajillion government dollars) had helped the manufacturer escape bankruptcy in the late 1970s. They had managed to milk the little platform for everything it was worth—and then some—but by 1985 they were running out of options.
Compared to Mitsubishi, however, Chrysler was on a roll. The Japanese company just didn’t have anything U.S. buyers were interested in, and they were having a harder time importing their vehicles because of “voluntary” import quotas. To protect the U.S. auto industry, Washington had strongly suggested Japanese carmakers limit the number of cars they imported. Toyota, Honda and Nissan quickly began building U.S. factories to sidestep the quotas, but Mitsubishi wasn’t ready. They didn’t have the capital, and they couldn’t raise it without selling more cars. It was a vicious circle.
Since both companies were staggering along like the last two people in a bar at closing time, it’s not too surprising they woke up one morning to find themselves in bed together.
The byproduct of this venture was the cheap and cheeky sport coupes which sold like proverbial hotcakes. The cars were the fastest cars available then (especially in Turbo form), and could hit 140 mph and turn a quarter-mile in a tick under 15 seconds. Demand outpaced supply in the early years, even when Chrysler bowed out of the partnership. Baxter goes on to say that the cars are still a performance bargain. Read more at Grassroots Motorsports.
Image Source: Grassroots Motorsports