Sunday, February 25, 2024

Junkyard Gem: 1992 Plymouth Laser

Chrysler began selling rebadged Mitsubishis made in Japan, starting with the Dodge Colt in 1971, with many Arrows, Champs, Challengers, Ram 50s, Conquests, Raiders, Stealths and Sapporos following these cars across the Pacific. Starting with the 1983 model year, Mitsubishi Motors began selling vehicles with its own badge in the United States, causing Chrysler and Mitsubishi to run afoul of the voluntary import quota that the Japanese automakers imposed on themselves. in 1981 to avoid tighter restrictions. by the Reagan administration. To get around the quota, the two partners created Diamond-Star Motors in Illinois, where the Rivians are now built. The very first product assembled by DSM was a liftback sports coupe that debuted as a model in 1990 under three different names: Mitsubishi Eclipse, Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser. Today’s Junkyard Gem is one such car, recently found in a Denver auto cemetery.

The Laser name had been used on Chrysler-badged Dodge Daytonas for the 1984 through 1986 model years, and the name seemed futuristic enough to be reborn on a Plymouth.

The least expensive of these three DSM siblings in 1992 was the Eclipse, which started with a list price of $10,859 ($24,120 in 2024 dollars). The least expensive Laser had an MSRP of $11,206 ($24,891 after inflation), while the most affordable Talon cost $13,631 ($30,277 in today’s money).

The reason the Eclipse and Laser were so much cheaper than the Talon was that the base Talon came with the 2.0-liter Mitsubishi 4G63 engine and its 135 horsepower, while the entry-level Eclipse and Laser range were equipped with the 1.8 liter 4G37 and its engine. 92 horsepower.

This Laser is a basic model with few frills, so it is equipped with the 1.8 engine.

It also has the five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic was available, for $701 more ($1,557 now).

Like the Talon and Eclipse, the Laser was available with turbocharging and all-wheel drive. These cars were really fast by the standards of the time.

This one was probably purchased as a fairly fun-to-drive, inexpensive-on-gas commuter vehicle, and it has covered just over 150,000 miles in its life.

In 1992, federal law required new cars to have either driver-side airbags or the universally hated automatic shoulder belts. This car has the latter.

Someone installed aftermarket multi-bolt wheels on this car, probably early in the Fast and Furious era.

The interior is a little shabby and dusty, but otherwise in pretty good condition. I don’t see many of these cars in junkyards, as they still have a pretty solid following of enthusiasts. Front-wheel drive examples with the base engine aren’t as desirable, and that’s the most likely reason this car wasn’t diverted from its junkyard fate.

Tina Turner was at the height of her fame in 1990. I will always think of her as Auntie Entity.

It’s not for wallflowers.

The commercials other than Tina Laser weren’t as good.

Beat the 300ZX in a 0-60 race.

The Dodge Stealth came from Japan, but Chrysler introduced it alongside the normally built Plymouth Laser.

Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from



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