Home » This $2500 Chrysler Conquest Looks Like A Cartoon Ripped From The Pages Of ‘Initial D’

This $2500 Chrysler Conquest Looks Like A Cartoon Ripped From The Pages Of ‘Initial D’

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Up for grabs on Facebook Marketplace is a really neat kind of art car. For just $2,500 you can drive home in a 1988 Chrysler Conquest TSi. Ok, sure, this is beginning to sound a bit like a Shitbox Showdown but hear me out. This rusty Chrysler has been painted to look like it has been ripped straight out of the pages of a Japanese manga magazine. Crank up the Eurobeat, redline that engine, and get sideways as you become a real-life character from Initial D!

This find comes to us from my good friend, Austin Little. I’ve been mesmerized by the car ever since. It’s fascinating how a simple theme can make a car so much more interesting to look at. Even better is the fact that you can grab this machine for just $2,500. It’s a cheap running and driving car with some sweet art; what’s not to love?

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The Theme

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For those of you in the audience who have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll explain what’s going on here. The best way to describe this car’s paint job is “manga-style.” Mangas are Japanese multi-panel comics or graphic novels and they have captivated readers for at least a century.

As Artscape Japan writes, the foundations for manga were likely laid in the 12th and 13th centuries. Many cite Choju-Jinbutsu-Giga (“Caricatures of Animals and Humans”) as some of the earliest forms of manga and they were drawn on four ten-meter scrolls. Those Choju-Giga depicted animals behaving like humans, from running on two legs to archery tournaments, engaging in a sumo competition, and even racing each other while swimming.

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DAI NIPPON PRINTING Co., Ltd. – Public Domain

Other depictions show realistic people and animals acting like animals. Some historians believe these depictions laid the groundwork for manga, others question its influence.

Books of drawings would continue to appear through Japanese history but reportedly, the term “manga” wouldn’t begin to be used until the late 18th century to describe comics. In that era there were also Kibyōshi, or “yellow covers,” illustrated books that covered adult topics. According to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, “man” or 漫 translates to “whimsical” while “ga” or 画 means pictures. Manga can be educational, entertaining, and even propaganda-filled. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh notes that into the 20th Century, the Japanese government censored and even shut down some manga publishers. In World War II, Manga was used to promote Japanese imperialism. Manga as we know it today began to take shape in the early 1900s, and today the art is enjoyed by fans in Japan and all over the world.

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Weekly Young Magazine

For the purposes of this Chrysler, we should look at perhaps the most popular depiction of cars in manga: Initial D. Illustrated by Shuichi Shigeno and serialized in manga magazine Weekly Young Magazine with an original run spanning from 1995 to 2013, Initial D focuses on Japanese street racing. Car publication Gazoo interviewed Shingeno, where he showed that he’s a real gearhead. Shingeno loved motorcycles and this resulted in Bari Bari Densetsu, a manga about motorcycle street racing that ran from 1983 to 1991 in 38 volumes.

After the 28-million copy success of Bari Bari Densetsu, Shigeno continued illustrating, creating three more works. Those didn’t sell well. Then, it was suggested that since Shigeno loved cars, why not make his next work about cars? After Bari Bari Densetsu, Shigeno decided to buy a car. His father was loyal to Toyota, and Shigeno decided to follow in those footsteps. At the time, the Sprinter Trueno AE86 series was introduced, and Shigeno could afford to buy one. Shigeno bought an AE86 and after work, he would drive the vehicle in the mountains of the Gunma prefecture in the hours before dawn when there was no traffic.

When Shigeno began illustrating Initial D, his AE86 was some of his inspiration. Since then, Initial D sold 48 volumes and 48 ​​million copies. What started as a story about gas station clerks and a tofu delivery driver drifting their way through the mountains has become a worldwide sensation. Initial D has been adapted into anime, movies, video games, and even live-action films. Along the way, Eurobeat music from the anime would become hits of their own, with famous examples like Deja Vu, Gas Gas Gas, and Running In The 90s.

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This Art Car

The art style of Initial D is famous and one of the elements you’ll see are cars drawn like they’re going fast with the sorts of lines you’ll see on this 1988 Chrysler Conquest TSi. Sitting still, this car looks like it’s going so fast that it’s going to rip its own paint off. This style looks fantastic on paper and on screen and I think even better in real life.

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The base car here is a Conquest. This car isn’t a darling of Diamond-Star Motors, but one of the many Mitsubishis that Chrysler loved to import back in the 1980s. Launched in 1982, the Mitsubishi Starion was a sporty car with a wedge-shaped design, technology like fuel injection, a turbocharger, and rear-wheel-drive.

When developed into a race car, the Starion found plenty of success to be proud of. A Starion 4WD variant won its class at the 1983 Paris-Dakar Rally. That was followed up with a first in its class at the 1984 Milles Piste Rally, second in its class at the 1986 Hong Kong-Beijing Rally, first in the 1987 Himalayan Rally, third in the 1987 Oman Rally, and other good finishes in other races.

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Here in America, you could buy a Mitsubishi Starion or if you wanted, you were able to stroll into your local Chrysler, Dodge, or Plymouth dealership and buy a Starion as a Conquest. This Conquest TSi comes equipped with a 2.6-liter G54B turbo four making 188 HP and 234 lb-ft torque. That’s backed by a manual transmission. A leather interior was optional for these and many buyers opted for it. The original owner of this car did not. That said, you do get a pretty sweet boost gauge, a stereo with an equalizer, and three-point seatbelts.

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These cars often sell for close to $10,000 with pristine examples going for above $30,000. What’s the catch? Well, the seller says the car needs some work. The interior of this 135,000-mile car is missing a few bits, the front bumper is damaged, and you can find rust holes on the body. It’s unclear what other work it needs, but the seller says this car could be driven as is or be used as a parts car. [Editor’s Note: I’m fairly sure these are known for having head gasket issues. -DT]. 

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What I do like is how the art is hiding the damage. The rust and the other cosmetic issues seem to be hidden by the bold art, which is pretty cool. I’m now imagining Midwestern car owners covering up rust with drawn-on speed lines and I love it. This Conquest has given me an idea to do this to a Smart.

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If you have some Initial D dreams, the seller wants just $2,500 for the artsy Conquest, which almost seems like a deal in this market. And if you really love a Conquest TSi, the seller has a second cleaner non-art car for sale and you can get both cars for $9,000. Still, this car seems pretty neat. It’s a running and driving car with flair for dirt-cheap! So, pick this guy up, start getting sideways, and crank that Eurobeat.

(Images: Facebook Seller, unless otherwise noted.)

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MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
8 months ago

I’ve bought a chizel tip paint marker, and have been close to starting this on one of my own vehicles, but don’t have the time to commit to what it takes to do a good job. It also takes the base coats of colors like that yellow and white theme. Lots of hours of work. That one is very well done.

Chi_spotting
Chi_spotting
8 months ago

I can readily afford this car, but I know I can’t. I’m saving up for a newer car and this would kill my budget.

Freddy Bartholomew
Freddy Bartholomew
8 months ago

I think that this is better than Ferrari’s version: Ferrari Tailor Made 812 Competizione

The Cyclist
The Cyclist
8 months ago
Maxzillian
Maxzillian
8 months ago

I’m disappointed by the number of articles that fail to recognize this as the style from Borderlands.

Chris Campbell
Chris Campbell
8 months ago
Reply to  Maxzillian

“There’s a pimento taco, a “pimentaco” in the glove box. Catch a RIIIIIDE!”

Church
Church
8 months ago

No notes

H T
H T
8 months ago

This broke my brain

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
8 months ago

I have never ever before seen an art car that I genuinely liked. Great idea, brilliant execution.

Ron Bitter
Ron Bitter
8 months ago

I love this, I now really want to do this to my 300ZX if I can figure out how the hell to actually get it done.

SuperNova
SuperNova
8 months ago

I think it’s brilliant and I’m surprised this hasn’t come up before…as a matter of fact, I’d love to try this myself…

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
8 months ago

I would absolutely buy this if it were near me.

Also, I’ve found the paint job I want if I ever get the donk car I’ve been thinking about.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
8 months ago

Wow, really cool and inspiring idea. Thanks

Bruno Hache
Bruno Hache
8 months ago

ehhhh… it’s unique. I will give it that.

Cargeek!
Cargeek!
8 months ago

Any normal person would look at that and say WTF is that THING?!

It’s a good thing I’m FAR from normal (I love the AMC Gremlin) So I think that car is so damn cool! The 10 year old in me loves it and I would drive it around with a smile!

Anyunusedusername
Anyunusedusername
8 months ago

I have to confess, I kinda love this thing. I’m in my early 50’s, have been a car nut since ~77’ish and I cannot remember seeing this done this well before. The fact that it’s covering up a beaten up car this well makes it even better. Probably helps that I love the way these damned things look to start out with. Good on them doing something interesting with it.

Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
8 months ago

Man, that Eurobeat is unlistenably terrible.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
8 months ago
Reply to  Widgetsltd

I said the same about some Jazz I had to sit through last week. I want to go back in time so I can play that Eurobeat to them while screaming “this is how bad you sound to me!”

Voeltzwagen
Voeltzwagen
8 months ago

Will it baby (toddler)?

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
8 months ago
Reply to  Voeltzwagen

Anything will baby if you’re brave enough.

In all seriousness, Europe and Asia have been driving babies around safely in much smaller cars forever, even today, so yeah.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
8 months ago

I used an S13 200SX as a baby wagon, a Starion is about the same size.

Anoos
Anoos
8 months ago

This thing looks awesome. It’s not often that an aftermarket styling trend excites me, but this is something I’d love to see catch on – especially with angular cars from the 80’s. I bet a K-car would even look great with this treatment.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
8 months ago
Reply to  Anoos

I immediately thought of the 82? Plymouth Sapporo I briefly had-that would’ve looked good like this

Anoos
Anoos
8 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

I had to look up the Sapporo since I don’t remember it at all. That is a cool looking car for the time and would definitely look good with this treatment.

Nick Fortes
Nick Fortes
8 months ago

The juxtaposition of the glass and tail lights and wheels against the body that looks drawn but is actually real is just making my head explode. I was there in person I’d want to keep reaching out to touch the car

Anoos
Anoos
8 months ago
Reply to  Nick Fortes

I was thinking the same thing. It’s hard for my mind to understand it as not photoshopped.

Cyko9
Cyko9
8 months ago

I’d seriously think about it if I were closer. For $2,500 you could do worse, and though you might do better, not with this level of pizzazz. You’ll always be the “manga” person driving it, but you’re going to be the manga person!

Edit: reviewing the FB photos closer, the rad art is masking some bad fitment, maybe rust, maybe just old damage, but pretty rough. And even with the art, it’s yellow. The nice car is awesome white BUT it’s an automatic. Looks like I don’t have to shop airfare to Illinois after all.

Last edited 8 months ago by Cyko9
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
8 months ago

Seems a wrap with stylized decals you could pull off and place on many different cars would be a better road. Remember decals on model cars? Like that.

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