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Category: Flash Back Friday

Flash Back Friday: 1989 Dodge Shadow Shelby CSX

1989 Dodge Shadow CSX Bandimere Speedway Website

I purchased this 32,000-mile 1989 Shelby CSX in 1993 for just $5,500.

Last week’s Flash Back Friday featured my 1987 Dodge Shadow Shelby CSX, which might have you thinking I’ve made a typo above and I’m just double-posting about the same car. But no, my 1989 Shelby CSX was an entirely different car. Sure, they shared the same starting point (a Dodge Shadow) and they used the same basic drivetrain (an intercooled, turbocharged 2.2-liter inline-4 mated to a 5-speed manual transmission) but that’s where the similarities ended.

1989 Dodge Shadow CSX Plymouth GTX Bandimere Speedway

The CSX and GTX made a great pair during Club Clash events at Bandimere Speedway

It’s worth noting that Shelby also offered a 1988 version of this car, but where the first year (1987) CSX was a black-and-gray model offered with an intercooled 2.2-liter to consumers, the 1988 Shelby CSX-T was missing the intercooler and was only offered to Thrifty (thus the “T” in the name) rental car agencies as a throwback to the 1966 Shelby GT350H rental car Mustang. The 1988 Turbo I engine was rated at just 146 horsepower, and 1000 of these CSX models were produced, the same number as the 1987 model.

1989 Dodge Shadow CSX Bandimere Speedway Profile

The 1989 Shelby CSX had more aggressive bodywork than the earlier versions

The 1989 Shelby CSX featured several upgrades from the ’87-’88 versions. First, the intercooler returned to the turbocharged 2.2-liter engine, ensuring more power under a wider range of ambient temperature. Second, the engine featured an entirely new “variable-nozzle turbo” technology. The 1989 Shelby CSX is officially called the “CSX-VNT” though I never heard anyone refer to it that way the entire 4 years I owned mine. This was also the rarest of the three Shelby CSX model years, with only 500 produced.

Flash Back Friday: 1987 Dodge Shadow Shelby CSX

1987 Shelby CSX Daytona Speedway

A road trip to Daytona Beach, Florida, was quick and painless in the Shelby CSX

In the spring of 1989, about a year after I graduated high school, I remained a die hard big block, V8 muscle car advocate. At that point my experiences in 440-powered Mopars had defined my automotive enthusiasm, which meant I was a big believer in the “no replacement for displacement” mantra. Then my dad commented he was going to the Dodge dealership in Boulder to look at a used Dodge Shadow. I distinctly remember telling him, “If you have to buy one of those, at least get a turbo version.” In my head I imagined an underpowered compact car, struggling to maintain 55 mph on westbound Interstate 70 as it plodded from my hometown of Golden to the scenic overlooks on Lookout Mountain.

1987 Shelby CSX Profile

The Shelby CSX also took me to Spokane, Washington

A few hours later my dad returned and asked if I’d help him retrieve his new (slightly used) Dodge Shadow. I asked if it was a turbo version and he said, “yes” so I figured it would be interesting to see what he got. When we arrived at the dealership he pointed to a 2-door, black-and-gray Dodge Shadow with alloy wheels, a power-bulge hood and a blue pinstripe. It looked…cool! With notable exasperation I asked, “That’s what you bought?!”

Flash Back Friday: 1970 Plymouth GTX

1970 Plymouth GTX Front Burnt Orange

The clean styling of the 1970 Plymouth GTX made it my favorite year

Last week’s Flash Back Friday featured my 1969 Plymouth GTX, the third car I owned (before I turned 16 and got my driver’s license…) and my first car that actually ran when I bought it. That GTX provided me with a wealth of memories, enough to justify another blog of its own, but as much fun as it was my second car, a 1970 Plymouth GTX, brought me even more joy.

1970 Plymouth GTX High School Burnout

This car provided a lot of joy during my high school years

I actually owned both GTXs at the same time for over a year. I bought the 1969 Plymouth GTX in April of 1985 for $2,200. The car was far from mint, but it was complete and ran fine, which makes that price seem all the more amazing 33 years later. I bought the 1970 Plymouth GTX in September of 1986 for $4,000. The ’70 was in near mint condition and all original with just one repaint. I sold the 1969 GTX in December of 1987 for $2,500, which was a monetary loss because I’d put an easy $1,000 in that car before it left. I couldn’t justify keeping both of them on my high school car budget, and I loved my 1970 Plymouth GTX far more. I kept that one for 24 years.

1970-Plymouth-GTX-1969-Plymouth-GTX

Owning two GTXs in high school was a bit nuts…and expensive

Flash Back Friday: 1969 Plymouth GTX

1969 Plymouth GTX Karl Brauer

Yes, that’s me next to my first real car, a 1969 Plymouth GTX, circa 1985

I’ve owned a lot of cars over the past 34 years and I’ve decided I’m going to start featuring them on Flash Back Fridays. Let’s start with my first real car, a 1969 Plymouth GTX

1969-Plymouth-GTX-Karl

Hadn’t quite mastered the “pose next to car” stance in 1985.

I actually had three cars before I got my driver’s license. Blame my two orders brothers, both certified grease monkeys who averaged owning about 4 cars each during my teen years (when they were in their early 20s). Technically my first car was a primer gray 1966 Dodge Coronet 500 with no drivetrain. The dream was to drop in a 440 and make it a killer street car. Then I found an all-original B5 blue 1968 Dodge Charger R/T and forgot all out the Coronet 500. But the Charger had a seized engine, massive quarter panel rust and no title (bought it for $200 from a salvage yard). I had visions of making it a killer street car before I spotted a 1969 Plymouth GTX on a used car lot while (no joke) coming back from passing my driver’s permit test. Unlike the previous two cars, this one was complete and ran. So while it technically wasn’t my first car, the 1969 Plymouth GTX was my first running car.

1969-Plymouth-GTX-Burnout

When I first purchased the GTX it had a white vinyl top and slotted mag wheels, both of which I hated

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