In the American version of the sport of golf, the term “Double Eagle” refers to a score of three under par, i.e. getting the little ball in the hole in three strokes less than the number of strokes that a particular hole is rated for. What is curious is that an “Eagle”, i.e. the singular version, is defined as doing it in TWO less than par, which makes the double defy sense on the face of it from a math perspective. The Double Eagle term is an Americanism, the same feat is known elsewhere in the world as an “Albatross”.
An “Albatross” however, in a complete pivot from golf, is also colloquially known as something burdensome, dating back to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1798 poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, wherein the perceived good luck of the seabird following a ship is turned into a burden or a curse after the titular mariner shoots the bird with a crossbow. In the poem, the dead Albatross is literally draped around the shooter’s neck, spawning the metaphor of an albatross as a burden to be carried.
When I saw these two Eagle Talons parked in the sideyard of a house, my first reaction was surprise at seeing an Eagle at all, let alone two of them, as there aren’t exactly convocations of them still around (groups of eagles aren’t called flocks, they are convocations, yes, I looked it up). After crossing the road to get a slightly better look, I realized they looked a little worse for wear. Being parked around the side in an externally fenced outcropping of the yard, they no longer took pride of place in front of the house and looked to be stashed away, almost as if unwanted.
Looking inside, one of them was reasonably complete, if filthy, but the other was in pieces. This is when I realized that these may in fact be someone’s albatross. The only shots to be gotten by me were the three initial pictures here as I realized someone across the street was watching me. I thought discretion the better part of valor and went on my way and just filed the pictures away.
Then yesterday, while perusing Craigslist, I was surprised to see both of the Eagles listed for sale, and they appear to be exactly how I took them to be, someone’s project that for whatever reason has fallen out of favor. And for me the ads provided the missing pictures that I needed for this!
The Eagle Talon, of course, is a version of the Diamond-Star Motors joint-venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler that also spawned the Mitsubishi Eclipse and the Plymouth Laser in the very late ’80’s. At the time, these cars, especially the Eclipse, sported quite the enthusiast credentials with powerful turbocharged engines as well as AWD being available. Good build quality, comfortable interiors and excellent looks made them quite popular, one of the few Mitsubishi products to genuinely gain a mainstream following as well as enthusiast respect.
Chrysler established the Eagle brand for the 1987 model year and when the new DSM coupes became available for the 1990 model year, a version of these cars were sold as the Eagle Talon and held down the sporty corner of the showroom. With Eagle sort of being positioned as a premium brand, it was decided to offer a version of this that was every bit the equal of the top Mitsubishi version.
While the Plymouth Laser was more or less the dowdy sister of the three and mainly focused on lower and less powerful trim levels, the Talon was heavily (solely?) promoted in top-spec and available with both AWD as well as the 195hp Mitsubishi 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. (Of course it was also offered in milder trim.) The Mitsubishi version spanned the gamut and was available with pretty much every permutation of both the Plymouth as well as Eagle ranges.
Initially debuting with pop-up headlights (which I much prefer to this facelift), halfway through the first generation they received a mild facelift and the fixed headlights seen in these examples.
Talons all received the distinctive black roof to give it sort of a “jet-fighter” canopy look and overall were quite attractive visually, pretty much the equal of the Mitsubishi and more so than the Plymouth with none of the Eagles really ever getting a stripper look even though not all of them were the high-zoot versions.
Eagle itself was a short-lived brand, ending most lines by 1997 and the Eagle as the sole remaining holdout for the 1998 model year. A total of around 115,000 Talons were sold across two generations over the eight model years.
The cars here are a 1992 Talon in I believe base FWD trim and then a 1994 Talon AWD TSi with the turbo. According to the ads the base car was purchased as a “project” and now sort of runs after rebuilding the head but sensor issues are bedeveling the owner. The AWD car was purchased as a parts car with a gutted interior and loads of extra bits and pieces. As complex as these cars are, I think it’d be quite the project to fashion these two back into one well-running example.
Here is the ad for the 1992 (the one on the right at the top): “Bought this car as a project. Rebuilt the head and got it running. Has 100 miles on the new head. I have been trying to dial in the sensor issues for a while now, but recently purchased a truck so I don’t really have a need to continue the project. I do have a second talon, that is the tsi awd, I have a brand new turbo, used turbo. All sorts of things. Between the two there is twin turbo AWD tsi minus a gasket kit and some tubing.”
And here’s the ad for the 1994 (the one on the left): “PARTS Bought this car to use for parts, the guy I bought it from said the motor was a fresh rebuild with all after market internals. I never took the time to actually dig into it though. The inside is gutted. The last owner started parting it out and sold the front and back seats. Motor needs fuel injectors and throttle body (with sensors) but obviously if you intend on building it you will have to look into the details and specs to ensure it has all been done correctly. I do have 1 extra block, 1 brand turbo(w/manifold) 1 used turbo(w/manifold)and quite a few other odds and ends.”
If it were me, I would have focused on getting the turbo AWD car up and running before worrying about the base one but I have no idea how this project got started, as you read above the owner did state that he recently got a truck so now has no need to continue this project… At this point I can’t really see either car getting back on the road but if interested, they can be had for $1500 (or best offer) for the lot. Or, you could get a truck as well and leave this for someone else while you go play a round of golf.
Related Reading: Brendan Saur’s excellent take on an Eagle Talon