Both plummeting automakers, Hudson and Nash decided to merge their fortunes and became American Motors Corporation in the hopes of reaping economies of scale during the seventies. Unfortunately due to slow sales of their overweight cars, they were bought by the French automaker Renault, in a partial cause to increase Renault's sales in the US.
Failing their attempts, Chrysler eventually purched American Motor Company under 'buy and sell' Iaccocca. Though the reasons were never unveiled, the American Motor Company was named and was replaced by ‘Eagle', the designation chosen after a particularly heavy compact.
After purchasing AMC, the Dodge MonacoChrysler was contractually obligated to sell Renaults. Renault supplied newer front-wheel-drive cars to supplement the ancient AMC lines, and all of the previous AMC vehicles except the Eagle were dumped after the 1983 model year. This led to the roomy and aerodynamic Eagle Premier. The roomiest in its class, the 3-liter, European, MPI V-6, four-speed automatic Premier was built in Bramalea Ontaria. It was capable of 150 hp at 5,000 rpm and had 171 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm. The Eagle Vision eventually replaced the main cornerstone of the Eagle brand, the Premier.
Selling odds and ends that included leftover AMC's, and the Renault/AMC hybrid, sales for Eagle dealers were particular slow, and eventually in 1998, the Eagle name and franchise was ended by Chrylser. Many failed to see it coming, but when Chrysler failed to update its already meager product line, it should have been blatantly obvious to consumers that the Eagle line would dissapear. The Talon was the only Eagle for 1998.
Consistently featured on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best List for 1990 through 1992, the Eagle Talon has achieved status for years. Considered to be the 'only true sports car for Chrysler', the Eagle talon is still popular today in the aftermarket due to its very potent turbochared inline 4-cylinder engine, codenamed 4G63, it is usually combined with an all-wheel drive powertrain. The same 4G63 was used in the Mitsubishi Evolution. Mainly because of the extensive abuse and high horsepower that their engines were able to withstand, the first generation Talons were popular among aftermarket tuners. Despite the reputation that some Talons suffered from a problem called 'crankwalk', the second generation was also quite popular with aftermarket tuners.
Sold under Eagle marque, a total of three model names were marketed, the Talon was alongside the Eclipse (sold by Mistubishi), and the Laser (sold by Plymouth). These three vehicles were built on the same platform as the DSM manufacturing plant located in Normal, Illinois. Mechanically identical (on the same option level), the three models shared the same engine, drivetrain and transmission. The variances were on a more cosmetic level, and were found in the availability of colors, tail lights, spoilers, front and rear bumpers and the wheels. The Talon is distinguishable by its two-tone body color, the ‘greenhouse', roof, pillars and door-mounted mirrors, which was always black regardless of the body color.
The most basic characteristics of the Eagle Talon included two-doors with 2+2 seating (two front seats were standard, with the 2 marginal fold down rear seats). The front bucket seats were rated as both comfortable and supportive, placed in a driving position that many would adore, due to the tall beltline, cowling, and steep dashboard. The Talon was available in four option levels, the DL, ESi, TSi, and Tsi AWD front wheel drive. The top option level had all-wheel drive. The Eagle Talon was available in either 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmissions. To provide adequate clearance for the camshaft sprockets/timingbelt cover on the 4G63 engine, there was a hood bulge on the left-hand side of the vehicle.
Manufactured from 1989 through 1994, the first generation of Eagle Talons had two 1G (first generation shortened) styles. The '1Ga' models showcased pop-up or flip-up lights, and the '1Gb' models had composite style headlights with integrated turn signals. In the 1991 model, both Anti-lock brakes and automatic transmission were available for installation in turbo models. All Talons were now available with 4-speed automatic.
The base model DL from 1993 to 1994 was a DL base model that utilized a low-power 1.8 L engine. Until the DL was introduced in 1993, the ES didn't exist, and was simply the 'Talon'. The former base car was renamed ES model, and featured a naturally aspirated 2.0 L Mitsubishi 4G63 engine, while the TSi and Tsi AWD models shared the same engine, but had the addition of an intercooled Mitsubishi 14b turbocharger which boosted performance extravagantly. The AWD TSi was the only model that showcased an all-wheel drive system that allowed for improved performance and handling. Talons changed very little during 1994, but gained new automatic-locking retractors for seatbelts that made it easier to install child seats.
In reference to the amount of bolts used to connect the flywheel to the crankshaft, the first generation Talons featured a ‘6 bolt' engine. Eventually, the future Talons were converted a ‘7 bolt' version. Well known for their impressive ability to withstand large amounts of boost, the 6 bolt engines had a more robust combination of connecting rods and pistons. The 6-bolt engines have been known to handle 500+ hp while using the stock internals, they are also not known to crankwalk.
A large Eagle logo carved into the front bumper was emblazoned on the newer Talon models. In 1995, the second generation of Talon's were introduced alongside the Mitsubishi Eclipe. The Plymouth Laser model was eliminated at this time. Both the Talon and the Eclipse models shared the same mechanical features, the engines received a modest increase in output due to a redesigned intake and exhaust. In newer models, a new turbocharger was placed under the hood.
The second generation models had more substantial differences that were seen in the first generation models. The rear of the car exhibited the more obvious differences. To allow for a high-mounted rear license plate, the rear fascia of the Talon featured a bumper cap with a dip in the middle, and amber turn signals were incorporated in rear light clusters. A sickle-shaped rear spoiler for the TSi, TSi AWD version was mounted at the base of the rear windown, and painted black regardless of body color. The air intake beneath the front bumper didn't have a body-colored splitter, and side skirts were much more bulbous on the Talon.
The Eagle talon featured integral reverse lights, amber turn signals and a bumper cap that comprised the rear fascia. Occasional referred to as '2Gb', a design update occurred to both the Talon and the Eclipse in model year 1997, and was primarily limited to the non-metal portions of the vehicle.
By Jessica Donaldson
To incorporate more aggressive and intimidating features, both the front and rear fascias were heavily revised. The 'Eagle' motif was enlarged and embossed into the center of the bumper cap, and at the front a larger air intake was formed. Replacing the flush-mounted sickle spoiler, a new high-mount spoiler was introduced at the rear, and now projected further into the airstream. Replacing the curved 5-spoke wheel was an aluminum wheel that incorporated more angles, and along with additional plastic moldings on the bumper caps and doors were the final revisions to the body of the Talon.
Once again, both TSi and TSi AWD models featured an intercooled turbocharged engine, and a Garrett T24 model replaced the First Generation Mitsubishi turbo. Though smaller, the T25 spooled faster at a significantly lower RPM that resulted in increased acceleration performance. The AWD TSi continued to retain the All Wheel Drive drivetrain system.
At this point in 1998, the Eagle lineup had significantly declined, and the Talon was the final model. (Though a concept vehicle called the Eagle Jazz was slightly introduced, the vehicle bore a strange resemblance to a 4-door Eagle Talon.) The final Eagles to be built, the two-door Talon hatchbacks, rolled off Mitsubishi's production line in February of 1998, in Normal Illinois. Mitsubishi continues to build basically the identical vehicle for itself, the Eclipse.