The 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat can certainly scorch its way through a good set of tires getting you and the kids to school or even through the rigors of a weekend track holiday, But Dodge is only building it for six months, and what do you do if you missed your window to nab one? If you desire an alternative, and are willing to go back in time a few decades, a Texas auto dealer might just have the thing your looking for, a Shelby-tuned Durango.
But isn’t Caroll Shelby typically associated with Ford products? The answer to that is yes for the most part, with the two being a great power couple. But all couples fight occasionally, and for a period of time, Shelby actually focused his efforts on souping up Chrysler products after following good friend Lee Iaccoca to the company just before the 80s began.
While the late automotive icon is better known for the Omni GLH, Shelby Charger and other roided-up versions of the K-Car during that period, the former race car driver and chicken farmer still managed to cook up some cool offerings before the partnership fizzled in the late 1990s. One of these is the vehicle featured here, a Shelby Durango.
Dubbed the SP-360, this creation could be considered a long-lost ancestor to the Hellcat, and it was a very potent ride during the 1990s. The vintage super SUV started life as a first-generation Durango, but every example was adorned in Viper Metallic Blue with contrasting white roof stripes. Chrome wheels help add a sporty profile, while the deeper front bumper is accented by a twin-scoop equipped hood. The sculpted side skirts lead you to the rear bumper which has also been reworked, and even features a set of fat round exhaust tips.
The Shelby Durango was powered by a supercharged 5.9-liter V-8 that made 360 horsepower, and this was enough to send the SUV to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. While there are Toyota Camrys these days that can go faster than that, these figures were very good back in 1999, and few engines at the time surpassed 400 horsepower.
The example that BJ Motors currently has for sale only has 28,025 miles on its odometer, and the exterior looks remarkable for a vehicle that’s more 21 years old. This particular SUV was also signed by Caroll Shelby in February of 2003, making it an even rarer bird.
While the $24,995 price is admittedly not cheap, it’s an outright bargain when you consider that the SP-360 once wielded a base price of just under $60,000 when it appeared new in showrooms. The SUV featured has also been modified slightly from stock, with the original owner adding a higher capacity fuel pump, a more aggressive cam tune and a larger throttle body assembly.
Sadly, the tricked out interior, exterior, and the beating heart of a supercharged V-8 couldn’t save the SP-360 from being a critical performance flop. Dodge reps at the time planned to sell roughly 3,000 examples, but ultimately only found homes for roughly 300 units before production was stopped.
As such, the SP-360 is a very interesting automotive curiosity, and now could indeed be the time to own a very rare piece of Dodge and Shelby history.
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