When I go to my local wrecking yards to photograph cars for this series, I’m looking for historical significance. Some might say that the Chrysler P-body (based on the ancient and venerable K platform, like so many Chrysler products of the 1980s and 1990s) lacks such significance, and that I should instead shoot the 60s Chevy pickups and VW Beetles I mostly ignore, but I disagree. Someday, wise old men will discuss the importance of the fourth Plymouth to bear the Duster name, but it’s the “America” series of stripper P-bodies that really get my attention. Jack Baruth explains why the Omni America and the cut-price P-bodies that followed it sold so poorly, and it’s the rarity of these things that gets my attention. So far in this series we’ve seen just two: this 1991 Sundance America and today’s ’92 Shadow America.
The selling points of the Shadow/Sundance America were spelled out very plainly in this ad: cheaper than the Civic, cheapest car with a standard airbag, and cheaper (per day) than lunch. Did we mention cheap?
The non-America versions had an equally exciting commercial.
The base two-door 1992 Shadow America with manual transmission listed at $7,984; the four-door we have here would have listed at $8,384. You could get a ’92 Hyundai Excel for $6,595, a Subaru Justy for $6,445, or a complete stripper Honda Civic CX for $8,100.
This one didn’t rack up many miles, and the condition of the paint and interior suggest that it spent a decade or more parked in the Colorado sun.
If Allpar is to be believed, the 2.2 engine was still being built in China as of 2000. Its final year in an American-built car was 1994.
The optional automatic transmission would have added $585 to the cost of a new ’92 Shadow, and what would have been the point of such extravagance?