Sure, total solar eclipses are cool. They’re even cooler when they occur over the OnAllCylinders World Headquarters in Akron, Ohio and the Summit Racing Retail Store in Arlington, Texas.

But as amazing as these rare celestial events are, we think this Eagle Talon TSi is better way to enjoy an Eclipse.

We’ll explain why in a momentbut first, here’s a bit of automotive history.

Before Eclipses, There Was a Diamond Star

Mitsubishi Mighty Max/Dodge Ram 50 light pickup truck
This Mitsubishi Mighty Max was also sold in Dodge dealerships as the re-badged Ram 50, but unlike the DSM joint venture that brought us the Eclipse/Talon, this truck was built solely by Mitsubishi overseas. (Image/Summit Racing – Jason Liss)

Before we start talking about Eclipses, let’s first talk about stars—Diamond Stars, to be exact.

“Diamond Star Motors” (or DSM as it’s known in gearhead circles) was a joint manufacturing effort between Mitsubishi and Chrysler, and the name itself was inspired by a mashup of the Mitsubishi Tri-Diamond and Chrysler Pentastar logos.

Though Mopar had a financial stake in Mitsubishi and had been selling badge-engineered Mitsubishi vehicles as captive imports since the 1970s, the DSM joint venture established a dedicated factory on American soil—which allowed Mitsubishi to market more of its own branded vehicles into the U.S., while still giving Chrysler some diversity on its dealership lots.

1st gen mitsubishi eclipse, in red
The earliest first-gen. Eclipses are easily spotted by their pop-up headlights that disappeared after a mid-cycle refresh. (Image/Public Domain)

The new arrangement was struck during the mid-1980s. Pretty soon after that, fresh DSM cars began rolling off the assembly line of an all-new plant in Normal, Illinois. (Fun Fact: That factory has since been sold and is now producing Rivian electric vehicles.)

While there were a few models produced under the DSM umbrella, the ones most noteworthy here are the Mitsubishi Eclipse/Plymouth Laser/Eagle Talon triplets that debuted in 1990.

mitsubishi eclipse from Fast and Furious movie
A second-gen. Mitsubishi Eclipse was one of the earliest stars of the “Fast & Furious” movie franchise, cementing its status as an icon of the burgeoning sport compact car culture. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Essentially badge-engineered platform mates, the trio hit the showrooms together as sporty, low slung compacts with youthful appeal. Though the Plymouth Laser would die-off after the initial generation, both the Eclipse and Talon would go on to build solid performance resumes during the rise of the import tuner car scene.

That performance was the result of options like all-wheel drive and a stout DOHC 2.0L engine that could handle gobs of boost.

Sadly, the Talon would vanish in 1998, making it the last vehicle sold under the short-lived Eagle brand. The Eclipse, on the other hand, rode the aforementioned sport compact wave until 2012.

1998 Eagle Talon TSI AWD
The 1998 Talon has the distinction of being the last vehicle sold under the shuttered Eagle marque. (Image/Stellantis)

Enough About Eclipses Already—Check Out This Talon!


Special hat tip to Summit Racing’s Mandy Longoria for her help with this interview.


Given the Eclipse and Talon’s performance potential, it didn’t take long for them to start showing up at race tracks across the countryand humbling plenty of V8 owners along the way.

In fact, we’re reminded of a past conversation with Ross Esposito from RIPP Superchargers. Ross is a big DSM guy and, thanks to their featherweight chassis, boost-happy powerplants, and all-wheel drive, jokingly referred to these cars as “Cheat Codes” on the dragstrip. You can catch that interview in our OnAllCylinders podcast section.

Eagle Talon TSI at car show
This is an older picture of his Talon, but if you scroll back up to the top, you’ll get a good look at the custom 3D-printed nose badge Gabe made as a subtle styling upgrade. (Image/Summit Racing – Gabe Aguilar)

But to really understand the capability of these cars, we caught up with Gabe Aguilar from the Summit Racing sales team.

Gabe’s got an all-wheel drive 1997 Eagle Talon TSi that’s he’s slowly built up over several years. “My vision has always been a fast car that can still be driven daily while looking clean inside and out,” he says. “I still want to be able to listen to music and crank up the A/C for the family.”

white eagle talon in a driveway
The car was originally white before a respray in BMW’s Black Sapphire Metallic as part of Gabe’s upgrade progress. (Image/Gabe Aguilar)

Gabe tells us that the toughest part of the build was making the car reliable and fast for the race track, while keeping it relatively stock on the outside with no significant compromises to its everyday drivability. “I accomplished all of that,” he happily reports.

Eagle Talon Converted into a Mitsubishi Eclipse, front
Stop rubbing your eyesthis is Gabe’s Talon, only it’s wearing Eclipse bodywork here. Because these two DSM cars were so similar, a lot of parts are easily swapped. (Image/Gabe Aguilar)

Interestingly, thanks to the parts-interchangeability from that aforementioned platform sharing within Diamond Star Motors, Gabe actually rebodied the car as an Eclipse for a while.

“I liked the body of the 1997-99 Eclipse,” he explains. “But I went back to the Talon body, because you don’t see them anymoreand that’s what it was originally.”

Eagle Talon Converted into a Mitsubishi Eclipse, rear
Here’s another photo of Gabe’s Talon dressed up as an Eclipse. Without a closer inspection, most casual onlookers would never, ever know that this car was born as an Eagle. (Image/Gabe Aguilar)

So yeah, purists can exhale now: After a brief career masquerading as a Mitsubishi Eclipse, Gabe tells us that the car has now fully embraced its Eagle heritage and is back to living as a Talon TSicomplete with a custom 3D-printed Eagle emblem up front for dramatic emphasis.

Under the Hood of Gabe’s Eclipse…err….Talon

2 liter dsm eagle talon motor in engine bay
(Image/Gabe Aguilar)

As you’d imagine, most of the Talon’s magic stems from under the hood, where Gabe has tossed a litany of performance parts at the DOHC 2.0L engine. It’s got upgraded JE Pistons with Eagle rods, Kelford cams, a Mishimoto radiator, upgraded intercooler, and three-inch exhaust.

The transmission was plucked from a Euro-spec Mitsubishi Evolution.

turbocharger inside an eagle talon
Gabe says he’s running a H x 40 diesel turbo making 30 psi of boost. (Image/Gabe Aguilar)

“My clutch was old and couldn’t handle the power, so I had to upgrade to something good for 650 plus pounds of torque—so I put in a South Bend Clutch and an SS-X Series pressure plate with a full-face ceramic disc for the streetability.”

Gabe says that, with all the performance modifications, the engine is now making north of 500 horsepower.

custom eagle talon interior
(Image/Gabe Aguilar)

We asked Gabe if he’s ever thought about moving on from his Talon. “People always try to buy it from me—ALL the time,” he laughs. “But it just has too much sentimental value. I made that car resemble my style and I did my own work.”

…And you don’t need to wear a special pair of glasses to see how proud Gabe is to say that.

eagle talon parked at summit racing
Gabe’s car sits nicely between other classic cars during an employee-only photo shoot at the Summit Racing Retail Super Store in Arlington, Texas. Oh, and you can see more of that Charger Daytona here. (Image/Gabe Aguilar)

Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.