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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Want an affordable, off-beat '80s performance car? Reach for the Star(rion)s

We're living in an age of $50,000 Civic Sis, of clean Miatas that outsell Corvettes, of soaring values for just about every Nissan with a "Z" in its name. It's gratifying to see the golden age of Japanese sports cars get its due.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/valuation/want-an-affordable-off-beat-80s-performance-car-reach-for-th...
35 REPLIES 35
hyperv6
Racer

Then try to find parts. 

msparks
New Driver

Funny, I was going to say something similar.
rpatston
Pit Crew

Shsss, try to find one at all......
Autostocks
Intermediate Driver

If you buy a car because parts are easy to find, chances are you won't end up with anything special. Rarity drives value.
SamAdamsPaleAle
Advanced Driver

Shush, I get my permit in 11 months. I need these to be cheap for just a little longer
audiobycarmine
Technician

Most Mitsu's were infamous for their rapid rusting. Cheap steel, I heard.
There was a period when a number of carmakers were using grossly inferior steel.
GRP_Photo
Instructor

Not just Mitsus. The Z-cars also were famous for rust problems. Lots of the price increases mentioned above in old Japanese cars is simply down to the problem finding examples that aren't either rusted out or Bondo artworks.
drjim
Advanced Driver

Amen to that!

80's Toyotas would dissolve while you watched them. I'm lucky my 85 Supra came from the high desert in Southern California. The body is fabulous, but the interior is dried out and the plastic parts are stating to disintegrate, something else to watch out for in 80's Japanese cars.

- Jim
wentwest
Intermediate Driver

I bought an 87 Conquest TSi new from a dealer who had it on the showroom floor for months and was looking to say goodbye. It was a manual shift, black in and out, and loaded. Because it had a back seat of sorts I could use it to shuttle my kids to school, to drive a little too fast and to make fun noises, all in one. It had wipers that moved faster in intermittent mode as you went faster, and the radio got louder as well, a very nice stereo and automatic climate control. The first time there were snow flurries in the Fall it turned out to be a toboggan in disguise so I would clean it up, put it in the barn, take out the battery and try to forget about it all Winter, and drive a Ford Ranger we had. In the Spring it was like getting a new car every year. I kept it for 6 years and then fell for a 90 350ZX-TT and sold the Conquest.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

They were such fun cars back in the day and the widebody ones just looked so good. Still look great today. I had the later '97 Eclipse GSX / '92 Eagle Talon TSi AWD twins and a friend had a Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 and another a Stealth R/T Turbo. Such fun cars that Mitsubishi will never do again.

drm101
Detailer

Back in the day I had an '87 Charger GLHS. A friend worked for Chrysler and bought a Conquest. We were both surprised that his car was a bit quicker than mine in a drag race. I remember it had a really nice interior and the seats were very nice leather. RWD too. They made a bunch too, so I would guess parts aren't too hard to find.
CP66
Intermediate Driver

I've always wanted one but not for the price. Had a mitsu challenger back in the day, 2.6 HEMI with a 5 speed, it was a ball to drive!
Iso_Grifo
Instructor

In my opinion, just a lot cooler looking car with a more interesting design than the Nissan or the Mazda of the same period-- which were at their lowest points. It has aged a lot better. Looks great in blue.
OHCOddball
Advanced Driver

Wife had a 83' Dodge Challenger (Mitsubishi made) as her first car a couple of years out of college. Her dad wouldn't let her get a used car>>had to be new AND paid for>>no loans for her. Nice looking, but rusted, even though she took good care of it. Traded it with low miles at 7 years old and bought a new 90' Cougar>>not much of an improvement in the rust or maintenance area.
Tim
Technician

This is one of a number of cars that embraced the '80s with open arms. Inside and out, this car screams, "'80s!" 😄 Take a look at that cockpit. It's a shame people are noting that parts are hard to come by, because this car seems like it would be a great retro, fun-to-drive, lower cost to purchase vehicle. To loosely paraphrase a famous Seinfeld episode, "Anyone can buy a car. It's the maintain it. And that's really the most important part." 😄
93fox
New Driver

Speaking of Seinfeld in many episodes when they had an outdoor scene there was always a dark silver starquest parked on the street
rmcginty
New Driver

While I agree with this article that unmolested Starquests are getting more rare, the article puts an AUTOMATIC in with the Standard Shift Category without any mention of the "Low Demand" for Autos VS "High Demand" for Standard Shift! The difference will make or break a sale & the car value is greatly effected by those factors!...I have two Red Ones (Both Standard Shift in Near Mint Condition! I love `em!!!
Backseatdriver
Pit Crew

I thought I recognized those wheels… https://i.ytimg.com/vi/fXwPMQ1LQdU/hqdefault.jpg. 1980 Toyota Supra. Only difference being, they look nicer in five spoke configuration on the Starquest.
okfoz
Advanced Driver

I always thought these were good looking cars... I had a friend in College that had a Black TSi. I just remember the moonroof was broken so it did not sit flush with the top any more...
StarquestGuy
New Driver

Hey - Nice Car Hagerty.. here’s mine: https://www.instagram.com/p/CUqBV_dJwRW/?utm_medium=copy_link

So happy StarQuests are finally getting the attention they deserve :). Started with a daily 88 Starion in 1996, and luckily got back into them just before they went crazy again.

93fox
New Driver

Ur Fiji starquest is beautiful I had a red one in 2000 always wanted to get a Fiji one but couldn't find one. Personally think they look best in that color
Paladin
Pit Crew

A high school friend of mine had one of these; I recall him working at various fast food restaurants throughout our sophomore and junior years while everyone else went about their usual business. Our senior year in high school, he pulls up in an '86 Starion done in brown with grey/black interior, and a 5 speed manual. That thing could take off and he enjoyed numerous opportunities to show off- I loved every second of it. I remember clearly one time we were on our way to a music festival a few towns over and we got there really quick. It wasn't my cup of tea at the time, and I've seen maybe 5 altogether since then but every time I do, I recall that fast jaunt through Long Island. Good times. If I had room in my garage, I'd get one to play with!
wjones1954
Intermediate Driver

I had a coworker who bought a new Dodge Conquest Turbo. It was crazy quick by standards of the day: with full torque coming on at just 2500 rpm it could easily push you back into the seat cushions. Mitsubishi of old, where are ye?
MustangJim
Technician

I always liked these cars, when they we're new... I could not afford one. I had two little kids and no money. Now its nice to see them getting this recognition. Here in the Northeast you seldom if ever see one as they all rusted out. But, mostly all cars from Japan rusted out in those days. They are obviously better now.
StarspeedRacing
New Driver

having worked for Mitsu when these cars were built ..and having owned 110 (soon to be 111) of them over the last 30 years there fun cars and you should look up its list of racing wins which include ...
1986 SCCA Escort Endurance Championship 2nd
1986 SCCA Nelson Ledges 24 Hour Race 1st
1986 SCCA Showroom Stock A National Championship 1st
1987 SCCA/Escort Endurance Championship 1st
1987 SCCA Nelson Ledges 24 Hour Race 1st
1988 SCCA Showroom Stock A National Championship 1st

parts are not that hard to find (not cheap like they were 10 years ago) and cars are getting harder and harder to find , there are a few groups on FB and i have seen people still pick up cars for 2k to 4k including
a Fiji blue 5 speed (non *SHP) car for 2800 just last week


*SHP= Special Handling Package (9" rear and 8" front wheels and 8 way adjustable shocks )
Mountaindriver
Pit Crew

Some of you are going to snicker, others will laugh out loud, but I'm driving a car that fits right into this category. It's a first year Ford Probe, 1989. (Pause to allow the laughter to subside.)
2.2 in line 4, 5 speed, air, deluxe interior and trim, lots of gadgets, hatchback, lots of parts availability, AND the drive train of a Mazda MX-6. Not rare by any stretch of the imagination, they built 735,000 over 8 or 9 years. It's tight, peppy, and looks oh so 90s. When was the last time you saw one?
TG
Technician

I saw one at Carlysle with 150K miles with $12,000 on the window. I'm betting that one went back on the trailer
Rider79
Technician

"...the Reagan/Thatcher years..." - ah, the good old days, in many ways. I was into Mustang GT's and Camaro Z-28's then, but I do recall the Starion, the Challenger, and the Sapporo, among others from Japan. I guess this car was a better performer than I realized back then. Glad to see some Japanese cars getting more recognition nowadays.
ryanwm80
Intermediate Driver

This is cool, but I'd like to find a real unicorn, like a late 70's Plymouth Arrow Fire Arrow, or a 1990 Buick Park Avenue Ultra.
MattLaube
Intermediate Driver

I worked at Chizeler in the 80's when these hit the shores. The 2.6 ate guides and rails but for the most part was pretty tough. The FI system was odd to say the least but wasn't trouble prone. Trim would be hard to find as far as parts go but many 2.6 are in rusted out mini vans and other similar era Mopar junk. I drove many and they were a gas..the coolest thing Mopar sold at any store in those days !
Jayhill
New Driver

I have an mostly stock 65k mile '89 Fiji shp sitting in my garage right now. Good to know they are finally being appreciated.
Maestro1
Technician

Agreed on the parts aspect.
MoparMarq
Advanced Driver

A co-worker from a previous life had a silver Starion while we worked for a government contractor in the '80s. I always thought it had great lines. He was cooler than the rest of us, so I guess it followed that his car should be cooler. I was in a 1980 hatchback Datsun (last year of that nameplate) 200SX with a 5-speed manual.
93fox
New Driver

My hs senior year in 2000 I had a red 87 starion all hks performance parts 16g turbo. Car was a rocketship. I'd smoke v8 muscle cars all the time with it. To bad I was a dumb kid and killed that car. Would love to still have it in the showroom condition it was when I got it
TonyT
Technician

Many years ago, I caused my father to shoot lemonade out of his nose because of this car. We were having lunch and he was perusing a Car and Driver magazine. One of the articles was about this Mitsubishi, and he wondered aloud about how the Japanese came up with the names for some of their offerings. "What is a Starion?" he asked. I replied "Well, they have difficulty pronouncing certain consonants, so it probably was supposed to be 'Stallion'". I had never seen him laugh so hard. It was probably culturally insensitive, politically incorrect but not intended to be derogatory. It was, however, funny.