Shelby’s Dodges: 1987-88 CSX

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Just about every thing that Carroll Shelby did with Ford was replicated when he hooked up again with Lee Iaccoca at Dodge. As with the Shelby Mustangs, some were “genuine” Shelby products, with modifications and finished assembly done in a Shelby owned facility, while others were mostly licensing deals, with Carroll consulting on the product but assembly done in a Chrysler plant. The Shadow/Sundance based CSX (for Carroll Shelby Experimental) was one of the “real” Shelby Dodges.

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The first fruits of the Shelby Dodge relationship were the GLH and GLHS, based on the L-body Omni/Horizon/Simca, but that platform was being phased out, replaced by the K car based P-body used for the Plymouth Sundance and Dodge Shadow. The GLHS was being produced in the Shelby factory in California, so to keep that production line going, the GLHS package became based on the Charger, a L-body variant that was still in production, and Shelby’s boffins developed the CSX on the P-body.

Shelby wanted to spec the more powerful Turbo II version of the 2.2 liter K-car motor, but for some reason Chrysler would only supply him with Turbo I cars. At first the Shelby team considered a complete engine swap but finally decided that they could get similar performance results by upgrading the Turbo I package to Turbo II specifications. The CSX engines got the cold air induction system, turbo, throttle body, intercooler, fuel injectors, and associated parts from the Turbo II. They also wanted to use the more durable A555 Getrag but it was too expensive so the engine’s ECU was reprogrammed to limit torque sent to the standard transaxle.

The engine’s compression ration was 8.1 to 1, maximum boost was 12 psi. Power and torque were 175 HP and 175 lb-ft. The modifications yielded a 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds, a 1/4 mile time of 15.1 seconds, and on the skid pad it could pull 0.85g, respectable numbers for the day.

The skid pad results were due to thicker front and rear sway bars, low-pressure Monroe Formula GP shocks and struts with coilover springs, 15×6 Shelby wheels, Goodyear VR/50 Gatorback 205x50R15 tires, four-wheel disc brakes, special body trim, and black and silver paint with blue trim. The Shelby team did some serious development: modifications were made to the master cylinder and brake proportioning valve to improve braking and even the brake and gas pedals were change to allow for “heal and toe” application of the brake and throttle at the same time. Interior changes were limited to a Shelby leather steering wheel and a boost gauge for the turbo. A total of 750 were made, plus a run of CSX-T cars for Thrifty rent-a-car, a redux of the Hertz Shelby Mustang “rent a racers” in the ’60s. These cars were shot at the national Shelby Dodge Automobile Club’s 2012 national meet.

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