Collaboration between Chrysler and Mitsubishi goes way back to the beginning of the 1970s with cars like the Mitsubishi-built Dodge Colt, but by 1985 the two companies had further formalized their cooperation with Diamond-Star Motors and a factory in Illinois. This arrangement produced models like the Mitsubishi Eclipse/Eagle Talon/Plymouth Laser and Mitsubishi Starion/Chrysler Conquest. The Starion had been the top of the range model of this collaboration, but when time came to replace the model at the end of the 1980s, things got a little different. After Mitsubishi unveiled its new GTO platform (called the 3000GT in the United States), it was announced that there would be a Chrysler version badged as the Dodge Stealth. Unlike other Diamond-Star Motors cars, though, it would be built in Japan.
The Dodge Stealth was almost totally identical underneath to the 3000GT and the high-performance version was packed with the same cutting edge technology. Called the R/T Twin Turbo, it had the same twin turbocharged, twin intercooled DOHC 3.0-liter V-6 as the Mitsubishi that made over 300 hp. It also had the full-time all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering systems that made the 3000GT a technical marvel in the early 1990s.
The Stealth also got the same basic updates, including the 1994 models that got revised bumpers and fixed headlights in place of pop-up lights. While it weighed almost as much as a contemporary BMW 7-Series, the Stealth’s high power and torque combined with the all-wheel drive allowed it to blast from 0-60 mph in a little over five seconds, do the quarter-mile in under 14 seconds, and go on to a limited top speed of 155 mph.
In a comparison test against the similar Nissan 300ZX Turbo, Car and Driver concluded that they’d rather have the Nissan, but it was a very close fight and the cars turned identical times on the Chrysler test track. They also noted that where the Stealth R/T could really shine “was in the track’s quick esses. Transmitting its power through all four wheels, the Stealth simply exploded from corner to corner on the series of short straights.”
Despite its strengths, the Stealth just did not sell as well as had been expected, and most chose the Mitsubishi version. After 1996, the model was discontinued while the Mitsubishi soldiered on in the U.S. for another three years. Even today, the Stealth commands a slightly lower price than the 3000GT, but that just makes it a better value since the two cars are nearly identical other than badges and a few styling cues.