Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Project Acquisition - Shelby CSX-T

Cruising craigslist has gotten me in trouble again. This time I was searching for any ol' busted Dodge 2.2 Turbo, motor or whole car, for a swap into the blue Simca 1204. I stumbled upon a Shelby CSX-T that looked like a perfect parts car, advertised as a running and moving for $750. The Shelby CSX-T was essentially a turbo Dodge Shadow built exclusively for Thrifty rental cars, a similar concept to the Shelby GT350-H Hertz Rent-a-Racer car but a bit gaudier. I went to look at it and found it far too nice to part out, even though it had the Turbo I motor and 5-speed that I was looking for. Since the car could not be started upon arrival even after an hour of fiddling, my interest was waning quickly. Sensing this, the exasperated owner offered it to me for $200 on the condition that it still couldn't be started the next day. The offer was accepted and I returned the next morning with my Dad to take another stab at driving it home but ended up dragging it on the trailer. Talk about mission creep from the original Simca plot.

Upon getting the car home, some fiddling with the Hall sensor on the distributor, cleaning out some of the corrosion on the wiring loom connectors, reading and resetting the fault codes all helped to bring it back to life in a few hours. In addition the car had no brakes but this was remedied with a new master cylinder and a quick bleed. The auto parts store also hooked me up with some hatch struts and other bits for a grand total of about $84. A trip to the junkyard got me a sweet cassette deck (with mini-joystick balance and fade) from a New Yorker and some interior pieces for around $18. Mysteriously, the car was advertised as not being driveable due to a failed clutch but I have yet to experience any trouble with it, even when doing burnouts in my hood.
Fast forward to 24 hours after purchase: I got a CSX-T plus all of the parts to make it now in running, driving, and stopping condition for a grand total of $314.28. There are still a couple of annoying things to fix like a non-existent headliner and a sticking brake caliper but a trackable daily driver is only a couple hundred dollars away. A few hundred more could get me the correct Shelby decals to make it fully presentable as well as provide some good used tires for CMP track days.

The car screams late-80's with its body color keyed swirl wheels and plastic ground effects. It has already attracted some attention in the neighborhood with some stating "Marty McFly wants his alternate 1985 car back" and others just calling it "ridiculous". I must say that it is really, really nice to be able to go to the parts house and just ask for what you need and get it for next to nothing...this is certainly a new concept for my garage.

Check back for further updates.


  1. Great project, Matt. Keep the updates coming. Forget about the budget, that's a Shelby artifact!

  2. Thanks Al! I'm looking forward to driving it. Then the question will be: do I turn up the boost or not?

  3. wow...i was thinking of picking up an old shelby Dodge Daytona turbo and having that as a project of my own. must say the late 80's and 90's cars arerather hideous, but gotta love them for the nostalgia. love your project, there were sold as duster turbo in canada, and their 4door sister car, the shadow, was a favourite in my extended family with at least four of my relatives owning one at the same time. never heard of the shelby csx-t, but seems like a great car...keep updating us.

  4. I now own this car. Found this article randomly on google as I was looking up some modded shadows. Cool to know where my car came from. The car ran great for several months after I bought it, though the clutch finally went about a month ago. I decided it was time to upgrade it anyway though, so now I am rebuilding a 2.5 TII with Super 60 package to put in it.

  5. No way, that's awesome! I'm glad to hear that the car is in good hands.

  6. keep the 2.2 it has more top end then the 2.5
    I put the 2.5 in my csx-t #663 I want my 2.2 back but it is still fun to drive