Carroll Shelby lived a colorful life and during his time on this earth (January 11, 1923 – May 10, 2012) he accomplished much for the automotive community. He was a designer, racing driver and entrepreneur. He is most remembered for his work with the AC Cobra and the Mustang. His performance products transformed regular road going products into competitive racing machines.
From 1987 through 1989, Shelby lent his name to the Shelby CSX( Carroll Shelby Experimental). This was a limited-production high performance automobile based on the turbocharged intercooled Dodge Shadow and Plymouth Sundance. These cars were available for sale through Shelby Automobiles Inc.
Powering the Shelby CSX was an intercooled Turbo II 2.2 liter, four-cylinder that offered 175 horsepower and 175 fl-lbs of torque. Performance was quite impressive with zero-to-sixty mph taking just 6.8 seconds. To cope with the additional power, the CSX's added disc brakes, and modified suspension. The cars rode on Shelbys own wheels. The only color offered was black and there were no optional equipment. For 1987, just 750 examples were sold at a price of $13,495.
For 1988, Shelby created a special line of the CSX named the CSX-T
. Just like Shelby had done in 1966 with the Mustangs, creating a special line of vehicles for the Hertz car rental company, Shelby created the CSX-T for the Thrift rental company. The CSX-T was only sold to Thrifty and only 1,001 examples were produced. These were all finished in white with grey and blue trim. They were similar in nearly every respect to the CSX except they had a non-intercooled Turbo I engine. Shelby Automobiles created two special cars based on the CSX-T. An intercooled version was given to the president of Thrifty and the other was given a factory sunroof and presented to the president's daughter.
In 1989, Shelby Automobile presented the final version of the CSX, the CSX-VNT
. They were given a Garrett variable-nozzle turbo and composite wheels. The wheels were designed by Shelby and produced by Motor Wheel Corporation. Not only were they special, there were also lighter than contemporary wheels.
Under the bonnet was the new intercooled Turbo IV equipped with a Getrag A555 5-speed transmission. The variable geometry turbo vanes were computer controlled and needed no wastegate. Instead, they adjusted the flow of exhaust gasses to spool up instantly and offer more power. With these updates, power remained at 175 horsepower, but torque - however - rose to 205 ft-lbs at 2100 RPM. The torque was available from this low RPM all the way past redline. They no longer had turbo lag. The power along with the lightweight features allowed the car to achieve some rather impressive speeds. Top speed was in the neighborhood of 156 mph.
Shelby colored the CSX-VNT in an Exotic Red (a mix of bright red and maroon) and painted the wheels gold. The MSRP was $15,995.
Total production of the CSX-VNT was just 500 vehicles including two prototypes. 15 were equipped as 'two option' which had 225 wide tire option and RECARO bucket seats. 2 were fitted with non-RECARO and wide optioned tires. The remaining cars were either RECARO or non-RECARO equipped cars riding on regular size tires.
Kaminari Aerodynamics produced a ground effects package for the CSX-VNT. Along with a ground hugging appearance, the package included suspension modifications.
After the CSX project, Carroll Shelby's direct involvement with Dodge was completed, although he continued to work on various other projects with Chrysler, such as an advisory role for the Dodge Viper.By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2013