25 Forgotten Turbo Mopars Of The '80s And '90s

Believe it or not, the nineties were both a triumphant and trying time for the guys over at Chrysler Corporation, and there were quite a few models that were released during these decades that utilized turbo power. Although the company was on the verge of demise, a quick turnaround thanks to the affordable K-Cars and a slew of new technology managed to bring Chrysler back from the brink of demise and onto a profitable future for most of the nineties. Turbo technology was a new thing during the eighties and it was becoming quite popular, especially on the four-cylinder models which would otherwise have a lack of power and excitement compared to larger V6 powered models.

Chrysler Corporation spent a good deal of money investing and improving on their four-cylinder turbo engines during this time, and for the most part, many of these cars have become forgotten treasures (such as the Chrysler Conquest and the Dodge Spirit R/T). These little cars were not only fast, but also very comfortable and they can be found nowadays for close to nothing. This is a cool facet of the automotive industry, and for a long period of time, Chrysler was dominating the realm when it came to turbo-powered engines. There was even a turbo powered Dodge Caravan at one point in time, just to show how determined the company was to improve on turbo technology and offer vehicles that had a little pep in their step.

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25 Chrysler LeBaron

Via: Bing

Long before the Chrysler 200 and the Sebring, there was the LeBaron, a compact car that came in a number of different trim levels from a 2-door to a convertible. The Chrysler LeBaron was also one of the very first K-Cars to feature the turbo engine, and the car had a good deal of performance for a car of this size at the time.

The Chrysler LeBaron managed to remain a hot seller for Chrysler well into the nineties, and this car should stand out for innovating the compact car market.

24 Chrysler LeBaron GTS

Via: Bing

Contrary to popular belief there was an upmarket model of the LeBaron that was geared toward the performance crowd, and this was the GTS. The GTS had a unique style that was separate from the run of the mill Chrysler LeBaron models, and this had all of the perks that you would expect from an exciting Mopar model.

The LeBaron GTS is a rarity in today's car market, and there are few of them around that are still in good condition, so finding one is a real treat.

23 Chrysler New Yorker

Via: Bing

The Chrysler brand has always been known for its luxury cars, though the models were not as luxurious as say a Cadillac. The Chrysler New York was one of the largest K-Cars and naturally, it took a lot of power to pull such a large vehicle, and Chrysler didn’t want to invest a V8 into their economical sedan, and thus the New Yorker was the recipient of the tried and true four-cylinder turbo.

This made the K-Car generation of New York one of the most economical and fun to drive.

22 Dodge 600

Via: Bing

Chrysler was spreading the joy of their new turbo refinements during the late eighties and nineties, and thus there were many unique variations of their cars that got the turbo in addition to the naturally aspirated engines.

The Dodge 600 was a small car that you don’t really hear anything about, but with the turbo, in addition to the lightweight design, this was a rather unique car that offered a good blend of styling cues from the K-Cars and fun to drive demeanor that made the car very unique.

21 Dodge Daytona Turbo

Via: Bing

The K-Car generation of the Dodge Daytona was a very unique vehicle that combined a fun to drive personality with a stylish exterior that consumers went crazy for. This was undoubtedly one of the best selling cars for Dodge in a long time and combined with a luxurious interior and a sporty exterior that looked great, the Daytona was an affordable rocket.

The Dodge Daytona Turbo was as smooth as butter and managed to rack up quite a few positive reviews from the automotive press.

20 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z

Via: Bing

For those who wanted a step up in performance and functionality, the Dodge Daytona Turbo Z took the fun to drive aspects of the regular turbo model and jazzed them up a bit. The Dodge Daytona Turbo Z came with a special leather-wrapped interior and a two-tone exterior that gave the car that quintessential eighties look.

There was nothing slow about this K-Car and the buying public was never really aware of the Turbo Z because the car was a very limited production model, similar to the Shelby.

19 Dodge Daytona Pacifica

Via: Bing

There is no denying that the Dodge Daytona was a hot seller for the Chrysler brand, at a time when consumers wanted two-door sports cars that were good on gas and exciting to look at.

The Pacifica was a special edition of the Daytona that gave consumers a one of a kind paint job and most of the luxury features of the turbo variations. Not to mention the fact that the Pacifica packed a turbo itself, which made the car very much a sleeper when compared to the other Daytona models.

18 Dodge Shelby Z Daytona

Via: Bing

You know anything that Carroll Shelby puts his stamp of approval on is going to be fun to drive, and during the nineties, Chrysler was getting his stamp on quite a few of their cars, even a Dodge Shadow. Thus, the Dodge Shelby Z Daytona was an extremely fast and fun to drive car that had the team at Shelby automotive improve on the factory turbo tremendously, and this gave the car an immense increase in power, to say the least.

The Dodge Shelby Z Daytona is a very rare car, to say the least, and if you manage to find one you will be impressed.

17 Dodge Lancer

Via: Bing

What was essentially the Mitsubishi Lancer rebadged, the Dodge Lancer did have some perks from coming to the domestic market. Chrysler used their own design team to dress the car up little by little and add some natural enhancements to the vehicle.

The Dodge Lancer benefited from the turbo engine, coupled with a big roomy interior that gave the car an added boost of comfort over the other K-Cars at the time. This was one of the original products of the Mitsubishi and Chrysler partnership.

16 Dodge Omni GLH Turbo

Via: Bing

When you look back and think of the Dodge Omni, the word performance probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But, there was a special edition version of the Omni that introduced a level of performance like no other.

The Dodge Omni GLH Turbo was a very limited production vehicle that came with a special set of alloy rims and the lightweight Chrysler Turbo engine, which blew the ordinary Omni out of the water. This very performance oriented edition sprang new life into an old economy car, and there are very few still left on the road.

15 Dodge Shadow

Via: Bing

The Dodge Shadow was the first modern compact car to roll onto a Dodge showroom, and for the most part, the small car was an excellent seller for the brand. In order to spruce things up, Chrysler did offer the Dodge Shadow with a factory turbo and this gave the car a much more improved driving capability over the factory models.

The Dodge Shadow really surprised a lot of consumers who had steered toward the import market, showing that a domestic car company could still offer a compelling product.

14 Dodge Shelby Charger

Via: Bing

Another interesting little easter egg in the Chrysler portfolio during the nineties was the Dodge Shelby Charger, a unique two-door that offered the same turbocharged engine with Carroll Shelby's special touches on it.

The first thing that you’ll notice about this car is how unique the model looked as opposed to the other K-Cars of the era, and the model still managed to offer a unique blend of performance that hadn’t been seen on a modern Mopar, aside from the Shelby Daytona (which was another race car).

13 Chrysler TC By Maserati

Via: Bing

Known for being part of a unique partnership, the Chrysler TC By Maserati was a rare car that you probably have never seen, and that's because not many of these shortened LeBaron models hit the market. Still, with a powerful turbocharged engine, this was a one of a kind luxurious Mopar creation that managed to captivate.

Finding one of these is extremely tough and if you do find one, they are generally pretty expensive due to the sheer variety of the car and the one of a kind design.

12 Dodge Caravan Turbo

Via: Bing

When Chrysler created the minivan, the vehicle was not meant to be an exciting mode of transportation by any means, but during the late eighties, Dodge decided to drop the turbocharged four cylinders into the little standard Caravan model. This gave what was essentially a family minivan a little bit of excitement that had not been seen in the new segment as of yet.

The other vans that were on the market were quite large and V6 powered, which gave the lightweight Caravan a distinct advantage.

11 Plymouth Acclaim Turbo

Via: Bing

Long before there was the Dodge Neon SRT or the ACR model, there was the Plymouth Acclaim. This little four-door was the entry-level Plymouth model that offered a good deal of value and some semblance of luxury for a reasonable price.

The folks at Chrysler Corporation saw fit to drop their tried and true turbo engine into this compact little sedan as well, which gave the vehicle the much-needed amount of pep to go ahead and take on even the most proven competitor from the foreign market.

10 Plymouth Laser RS

Via: Bing

Part of the historic partnership between Mitsubishi during the late eighties and early nineties, the Plymouth Laser RS was a compact car that offered an unassuming style and an engine that packed a serious punch. Grab the Laser RS in AWD form and you have an even more exciting car that still sells quite well on the used car market to this day.

The Plymouth Laser RS was a great entry-level way to get into a turbo powered car, without having to spend an arm and a leg on a more expensive vehicle.

9 Eagle Talon TSi

Via: Bing

The corporate twin of the Plymouth Laser RS, the Eagle Talon TSi was part of Chrysler's commitment to building their new Eagle brand. Available with a tried and true turbo powered engine, the Eagle Talon TSi was stylish and fun to drive. It was a car that offered a price tag that anyone could afford.

While the rest of the Eagle lineup was generally uninspired, the Eagle Talon was a step above, managing to remain in the Eagle lineup until the final year of production in 1997.

8 Dodge Spirit R/T

Via: Bing

Perhaps one of the rarest and most interesting cars in the group, the little red Dodge Spirit R/T was a unique vehicle that was sold in very small margins. You might not have seen one of these in your lifetime, and if you are fortunate enough to own one, you are in for a fun riding car.

The Dodge Spirit R/T took the basic lightweight platform and added the turbo powered engine to the mix, giving the car a great deal of pep in its step. This was pretty much the current day Dodge Charger back in the nineties, and it offered a unique domestic twist on what a sports sedan should be.

7 Dodge Daytona IROC

Via: Bing

Think the Camaro was the only IROC on the road? Nope, there was the Dodge Daytona IROC as well. This one of a kind vehicle offered the unique styling of the Daytona, mixed with the fun to drive attributes that the IROC name brought to the table.

Other unique attributes of this car included the leather-wrapped interior, and the notable paint job and alloy rims which gave the car a much more upmarket look over the previous Daytona models. Although the IROC name was short-lived, the Dodge Daytona IROC is rare and fun to drive.

6 Dodge Neon SRT 4

Via: Bing

Released during the 'Fast And The Furious' sports car boom of the early 2000s, the Dodge Neon SRT 4 was a bright yellow sports car that managed to pack a serious punch. From the moment that you heard the loud factory exhaust, you knew that you were in for something special, and the car was every step above the standard Dodge Neon in every way.

Competing against the likes of the Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi Lancer EVO, the Dodge Neon SRT 4 was a unique and one of a kind vehicle, to say the least.

5 Chrysler PT Cruiser Turbo

Via: Bing

When the Chrysler PT Cruiser hit the market the car was a unique vehicle in every aspect, from the retro-themed styling to the one of a kind engine choices that gave the car a unique driving personality. The Chrysler PT Cruiser Turbo was also available as a convertible version as well, which was unique looking and competed with the Volkswagen Beetle Turbo (which at the time was climbing in popularity as well).

The Chrysler PT Cruiser Turbo took advantage of the one of a kind turbo engine and provided a fun driving experience.

4 Dodge Caliber SRT 4

Via: Bing

Released in what was supposed to be the next generation of the Dodge Neon SRT, the Dodge Caliber SRT 4 took the styling of the odd-looking hatchback and took it to a whole new level of coolness. With the modern variation of the turbo four-cylinder, the Dodge Caliber SRT 4 was fun to drive and was a fairly limited release vehicle that still holds some sort of value to this day.

The Dodge Caliber SRT 4 was a pretty cool looking modern incarnation of the Neon SRT, but sadly the Caliber was discontinued shortly after this.

3 Dodge Neon R/T

Via: Bing

Released during the nineties in an attempt to bring some credence to their new compact car, the Dodge Neon R/T was fun to drive compact car that offered a good amount of pep. Known for its lightweight design that offered a fun driving experience, the Dodge Neon in its original form was always a good seller for Dodge.

The Dodge Neon R/T also came in a unique color scheme which gave the car that signature Mopar look, offering a distinct choice over the import models.

2 Dodge Neon ACR

Via: Bing

Even rarer than the Dodge Neon R/T, the ACR was a special road and track edition of the car that offered a fast driving experience and responsive handling that gave the car a unique driving perspective over the other import models that were on the market.

The Dodge Neon ACR also still holds its value very well on the used car market, especially when compared to other models that came after it. There were very few Dodge Neon ACR models that were put into production, so finding one is a real treat.

1 Dodge Stealth Turbo

Via: Bing

Another by-product of the Chrysler / Mitsubishi partnership, the Dodge Stealth Turbo was an extremely fast and unique sports car that went head to head with the Toyota Supra and other turbo powered sports cars of that period. Based on the Mitsubishi 3000GT, the Dodge Stealth was every bit a unique Mopar vehicle.

Offering a unique design that was unforgettable, and fun to drive demeanor, the Dodge Stealth was every bit what a sports car should be without the fluff and the high price tag.

Sources: Motor Week, Motor Trend

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