By on February 28, 2013
Photo By T Kreutzer

My 1988 Shadow on trip up Stevens Pass a few months after I purchased it.

I was young, stupid and hopelessly in love. The girl, as has so often been the case in my life, hardly knew I existed but, regardless, I was determined to win her. The problem was in those pre-internet days, real advice for young men was in short supply, especially if you were too embarrassed to ask about such things, so when someone told me women were attracted to power, I listened. If power is what women wanted, power I could get. Fortunately, it happened to be on sale at my local Dodge dealership.

The little car was take-your-breath-away gorgeous as it sat on its raised turntable in the dealership window. In the growing dusk of the February evening, the bright lights of the downtown Dodge dealer drew me and my 15 year old Nova away from the curb and towards the glass. I stood there, nose pressed against the window, like a child in an old movie taking in the Christmas display at a department store. The showroom’s lights shone down from above and struck jewel-like fire from every crease and corner of the car’s sheet metal.

Inside, the dealership smelled like stale coffee and fresh rubber, ambrosia for my lovelorn heart. The building itself was a brick, post World War II structure, and despite a fresh coat of paint and a bright red neon sign, it looked its age. Still, inside it was neat and clean and, unlike the newer flashier showrooms on the edge of town, the old building had the aura of history about it. Challengers, Chargers, Darts, Coronets, and dozens of other famous Chrysler products had graced this space and their spirits lingered. The current generation of cars were products of a newer, leaner time, but their link to that impressive history was, thanks to a clever advertisement, a tangible thing to me.

The 2.2 Shadow Turbo looked even better from inside the showroom and the sales person ushered me adeptly over, unplugged the turntable and bade me to sit in it. The little car’s charcoal gray high-backed bucket seats sat me up straight and tall and its upright cabin gave me good all around visibility. Out the windshield, with the exception of a small raised power bulge immediately in front of the driver, the hood sloped away into nothingness, its edge lost below my line of sight. The experience was new to me, and made the car seem surprisingly modern.

Inside, my overall impression was one of squareness, angles and straight edges. The gauges were set in a small pod. I found them simple and easy to read. Under my right arm a storage box rose up tall enough to use as an armrest. This was connected to a short console that held the 5 speed stick in a square rubber shift boot. Before that was another small storage compartment that opened to reveal two smallish cup holders. Above that, a black plastic center stack held the ash tray and cigarette lighter, the cassette deck, heater controls, a few idiot lights and a special gauge that measured turbo boost. It was an efficient cockpit and if not luxurious, at least it was pleasant.

Photo courtesy of

The cover and an image from a copy of same brochure I gripped with sweaty palms way back in 1988.

The 1988 Dodge Shadow came in several two and four door versions, 2.2, 2.5 and 2.2 turbo, automatic and 5 speed. There were a couple of trim levels with the top of the line being the 2.2 Turbo Shadow ES which got, among other things, a color matched grill, a small rear spoiler, and its own distinct wheels. The car I was sitting in was just what I had imagined at home when I had poured over the sales brochure. A two door coupe with all the performance goodies, the 2.2 turbo with manual 5 speed, the high-end 4 speaker AM/FM cassette and a nice looking set of aluminum wheels, nothing else. I wanted to go fast, so who needed anything more? This was a factory hot rod in the flesh and I knew then that I must own it.

A day or two later I came back to the dealership with my father and together we completed an unremarkable test drive of the non-turbo 4 door demo. When the car was deemed satisfactory, I watched in rapt silence while my dad negotiated the details that left my bank account $256.05 poorer each month but my spirit immeasurably richer. Under my watchful eye, the salesman and a couple of mechanics then rolled the bright red coupe off the turntable and took it into the shop where they conducted their final pre-delivery inspection. After what seemed like hours, the car emerged, the salesman presented me with two sets of keys and I roared off into the sunset.

Photo courtesy of

Coming and going, another shot from the brochure.

That night on the not so mean streets of Everett the little car and I went looking for trouble. The first victim was a kid in a Pontiac Fiero. His passenger made the mistake of laughing when I pulled up at a stoplight, revved the engine at him and, after an impressive front wheel drive burnout across the entire intersection, their laughter was replaced by shock as my tail lights receded into the distance. An hour or so later, a mid ’80s Camaro fell in similar fashion. The car was all I dreamed it would be. Many more adventures, many of which will eventually be written about here, followed.

In the six years I owned the little car, I racked up 140K miles. I made an epic road trip from Seattle to New York, on to DC and then home again – with the transcontinental return leg taking just three days. I also took two trips from Seattle to LA and back without stopping for anything more than gas and fast food. On those long drives the little car stormed over mountains, followed the courses of winding rivers and shot across the great plains of America, each time carrying me home in surprising comfort and without a problem.

I must confess that my Shadow was not always trouble-free. Early on I broke the core support beneath the front motor mount by doing burn offs and generally acting like a hooligan – something the car seemed to encourage. At 80K miles, I also replaced the head gasket, on my own with simple hand tools, but who thinks of things like that when you are in love? The car and I fully bonded, and together we made quite a couple.

Today I am older, a little wiser and every once in a while I even get asked for advice. Unfortunately, I still can’t tell you much about women, but I can tell you about power. If you ever need some, try the Dodge dealership. You might find the love of your young life there, I did.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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68 Comments on “Turbo Love At First Sight...”

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    The real magic of Chrysler’s 2.2 and 2.5 turbocars happened in the upper gear range. In the 80s, the rest of the minisport field felt equally energetic through the first 2 gears, but it was at that point things changed dramatically. When you hit 3rd gear in the hot hatchbacks of the day, the acceleration curve began to noticeably flatten; Chrysler’s products kept pulling hard, and that continued all the way through 4th gear. At that point the rest of the field were reliving the Masque of the Red Shift, as their adversary’s taillights shrunk into the distance.

    While many 2.2/2.5 turbocars were equipped with a tall 5th gear ratio, the performance models enjoyed the benefits of a close ratio box all the way up to the top cog, and they used most of that upper range. A healthy turbocharged Chrysler could readily exceed the estimated top speed the magazines posted, and the far side of 130 was achievable if you kept your foot into it.

    I’m surprised to see the 5/50 warranty listed in that TV ad; I had thought Chrysler’s blanket 7/70 warranty was in effect when the P-cars debuted. I did purchase the extension offered to me during my ownership period and am glad for it; the L-bodies suffered from piecemeal supplier woes during their era, and whenever a Mikuni-sourced in-tank fuel pump was installed, it would fail within a year of the repair due to a bad RF filter. The occasional Bosch-contracted pumps didn’t suffer the same malady, but were significantly noisier. When you were greeted with the “tack-tack-tack” sound upon first restart, you knew you had a Bosch unit, as opposed to the quiet “whreeee” of the short-lived Mikuni.

    • 0 avatar

      Like most turbocharged cars the engine doesn’t out run the boost level at highway speeds on up it wasn’t enough to hold off my 1988 Beretta GT 2.8 V6. I was trying to pass a black lady on the right(wouldn’t move out the left lane) in her 2.5 Turbo Plymouth Acclaim and she would not have any part of it. It took me three tries before I was able to get passed her and shut the door. Strong running cars for sure.

      Our first cars that engrained with just simple memories like these are the best and probably be lacking in future generations with beige, sub-100 horsepower and no torque cars. My Beretta also did several trips to AZ and FL from Ohio with my solo epic leg to New Mexico 1300 miles in 17 hours with just gas stops. Thirteen hours with four guys to Panama, FL for springbreak was close quarters that today we would agree not to do. Lots of autocross events and half dozen highway races this simple automobiles by today’s standard seem to fit a a worn leather glove.

      Nice writing!

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks! The 2.8 liter Chevys were fast too. I think my closest competition in that era was the 5.0 Mustang and the 2.8 Z-24/Beretta. In a drag race the Mustangs would kick my ass, but I could generally run with them up to a 100 (where most races ended) on the highway if I stayed low in the gears and managed my boost.

        In a drag race, the Chevy would get behind pretty quick, but it was closer on the highway, not if I got the chance to spool up first, though. If we got an even start, it really came down to who wanted to hold the throttle down the longest, once you hit triple digits most people had enough. My job behind the wheel was to make sure we never got an even start – heh heh.

        I’m guessing the lady you were passing either didn’t have a stick or didn’t know how to use that thing in anger. There is no way you’d have gotten by me, even if you were faster I’d have made it so painful for you that you’d have eventually given up and stayed back there.

  • avatar

    I had the feeling that the babe magnet thing was going to end in tears, but it didn’t. At least not in the mechanical sense. Good to hear that the Shadow worked out well.

  • avatar

    When the spouse driver benefit was dissolved, my wife got what looked like a fun car from our fleet. She learned what turbo meant in one of these. She was very unhappy with me for trading it for an Audi. She preferred the size and lightweight “feel” of the Dodge. I’ll bet the drive over the North Cascades Highway was a blast for a young single man regardless of his advisory abilities.

  • avatar

    Excellent read, man! I recall my new car lust, circa 1988, on the cusp of earning my driver’s license. I would sit in my bedroon and read car brochures for HOURS, listening to Journey, and forgetting my homework entirely. I didn’t care *what* new car I got – a new Justy or Festiva would have made me happy – I just wanted to avoid the faded, 1979 Grand Prix sitting in the driveway. Alas, my first new car didn’t arrive until the last semester of college.

  • avatar

    I had that brochure, and remember it fondly. It resulted in a white 1988 ES 5-speed, which I kept until around 93 or so when I got married. Didn’t do much hooning with it, I’m too conservative in my driving. It seemed — with little in the way of reference — a decent car with plenty of off the line giddyup if you could get past the horrific torque steer.

    Had to replace the head gasket around 60K, and the clutch at least once but other than that it was pretty solid. It was my last stick…

    Until later today when I go pick up my new Mazda3 6-speed! I totally missed driving a stick, and with my wife unable to drive any longer and wanting to preserve the 2003 Forester (which is just the right size for her easy ingress and egress), I figured now was the time. She doesn’t understand why anyone would want to drive a stick. I believe she’s only ever driven a stick once…in a MASERATI, owned by her CEO, when he was too drunk to get home from the Xmas party. She doesn’t see the fascination with either cars or row-your-own trannies.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Mate, that’s some good writing. Keep ’em coming.

  • avatar

    That is EXACTLY how I felt about the Silver 1988 SAAB 900-turbo I bought back in the 90s (not new of course). Thanks for that memory on a thursday morning. #gonnasmilemoretoday

  • avatar

    I always feel a little nostalgic when I read stories about the 2.2 turbo cars. Had a love/hate relationship with a used ’86 GLH Turbo: I loved it, it hated me. I’d still take another one if it rolled my way at the right price…

    Were those engines more reliable than I remember? I replaced 2 head gaskets in mine (one a week after I bought it, another right before another mechanical issue left me too poor to fix and forced me to turn it onto a lawn ornament.) Finally had to junk it…

    Excuse me a moment…
    (weeps quietly in corner)

  • avatar

    While in college, I had the big brother to the Shadow, a Lancer ES Turbo. God, did I love that car (with the exception of the very truck-like clutch and tranny). Gun-metal blue/gray…seats that I swore were Recaro knock-offs, a set of shiny new 5-star rims and a stereo system (friend of mine was an expert stereo installer…we custom-made the system for my little bomber) that sounded better than many of today’s “premium” systems. Yeah, not a bad ride for a young kid. Coming out of my 1976 VW Rabbit, having the Lancer made me feel big time. When I finally sold it, it was well north of 130,000 miles, but other than replacing the clutch, the thing was box-stock reliable…something I can’t say for my best friend’s Shelby Charger that burned to the ground.

    Years later, I came across a four-door Shadow ES Turbo for sale in my neighborhood that I was inches away from buying. Yeah, the inside looked like it was designed by a guy that had a 90-degree angle fetish, but knowing it had that 2.2 Turbo in it somehow made it lust-worthy, nonetheless. Didn’t get it…but on the few occasions now where I see either a Shadow or Lancer, I just have to smile.

  • avatar

    Those cars were hot rods in their day. When I was in high school, the regular versions of the P-body were probably the most common car in the lot. I replaced a lot of motor mounts just like you described, burnouts from clutch dumps and neutral drops.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    A close friend has the Shelby Shadow CSX with the 180 horse turbo, which right now is in the shop, with you guessed it, a head gasket job being performed. Cool little car, with the exception that the “Shelby” label is imprinted in so many places, it is dizzying.

  • avatar

    First car upon receipt of that most special of plastic cards was a 10 year old Chrysler LeBaron GTS Turbo. Blue with beige interior. Mom’s old car replete with the upgraded stereo (with joystick speaker control!), A/C, full gauge cluster (what? a car with full gauges? wow!) and a infernal 3spd automatic which only served to scare the shit out of passengers when second gear was summoned to dispatch with a slow moving interloperon the twisty two lanes of Vermont.

    Snapped a CV joint, went through a set of brakes, and dropped a transmission (don’t ask).

    The joys of youth and a father that knew a thing or two about turning a wrench (and who possessed remarkable patience for the wayward antics of a 16y/o with TURBO POWER!).

  • avatar

    Wow,I was trying to remember the 80’s, it was mostly a shit sandwich for me, started off great, then got married, then split, and ended up great as I met my soul mate/present wife. Cars? nothing stands out except the 86 Intergra that my ex took, bitch!

    • 0 avatar

      Sounds like my version of the 90s. At least you had better tunes.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s a shame. I was fondly thinking of the 80’s this week; it gave us home computers, the Space Shuttle, President Reagan, the Star Wars and Star Trek movies, hot Chrysler hatchbacks, and jellybean cars. It was an optimistic and hopeful time to be alive; especially as a engineering student in college; which I was.

      My ride of the time was more plebian – an ’84 Plymouth Reliant wagon. A lease return, it had the regular 2.2 liter engine instead of the turbo; but I really enjoyed driving it. It drove like a go kart compared to my first car (a 1974 Plymouth Fury II; ex-company car and forever known as the Bluesmobile.)

      I had a favorite winding country road to a nearby town I would love to take it on. Put my favorite cassette tape of the moment in, and off we go.

      It was relatively reliable; though during one repair call; we found out that a previous user had apparently buried the front end up to the axle in mud, and we didn’t notice the dirt still packed in. I also remember constantly tighting up the exposed trim screws to keep the trim from rattling. (The Taurus wagon I drive now put it to shame in that regard.)

      But, like I said, it ran and looked great up until someone made a right turn into me from the center lane of the main street in town, pushing me into a car parked alongside the road, damaging both sides and totaling it out. My cousin remarked that it was the nicest looking car in the scrapyard when we went to retrive my personal stuff from it.

      Still, I admired the looks of the Audi 5000s and similiar cars that came out at the time. I told myself if you looked at just right, my car looked like a Mercedes 190E wagon (yeah right…) Happy memories of a happy decade.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s probably nostalgia tinted goggles, but I would still love to restore a 1988 Honda CRX, Barbados Yellow, back to showroom condition. There certainly were a number of cars in that decade I wish we’re better preserved.

        • 0 avatar

          Absolutely nostagia tinted glasses; but I know what you mean; my dream garage would include a minty fresh Chrysler TC by Maserati, Audi 5000s, and an Oldsmobile Aurora; along with every generation of the Ford Taurus wagon.

  • avatar

    I used to sell these at Claude Short Dodge in Santa Monica, CA. I would take prospective buyers down to the PCH and let it rip. Back in the day they were impressed. However the real deal at the Dodge dealership was the sleeper Dodge Omni GLH (goes like heck). I remember one teenage kid coming in with her mother, who liked its nice staid looks. The kid drove the car like an old lady whilst her mother sat in the passenger seat and I sat in the back. The next time I saw him was burning rubber in Topanga Canyon, and that is not the car to be screaming through the twisties in.

  • avatar

    My first NEW car was a white 1988 ES 2 door 5 speed. The 50 series Gatorbacks were good in the dry but sucked in the wet or snow and only lasted 12k miles, and no I didn’t do burnouts with it but once it was broken in I drove that poor thing hard. The only real trouble I had was a bad bearing in the turbo when it had less than 2000k miles (replaced under warranty) and I broke the drivers side front rotor hooning it out on the back roads (not a warranty item).

  • avatar

    I see you were following the manufacturer’s recommended break-in procedure there with your stop light antics, Mr. Kreutzer. ;-)

    Nice writing, as always.

  • avatar

    Brings back memories. My first car was a used 1986 Plymouth Sundance 2.2 turbo. It had a 3 speed slushbox, but I couldn’t drive stick back then, so it fit the bill. Way too much fun in that little thing. I still browse the internet classifieds looking for a 2.2 turbo to have some fun with. Maybe I’ll be able to pick up a CSX or Shelby Lancer one of these days.

    • 0 avatar
      Larry P2

      My friend got his CSX for a mere $2,500. I believe those were an extremely limited-edition Shelby. He looked all over before he found this one, which was very clean, except for the head gasket issue (which at the time of purchase was merely leaking…..later on after much hooning it blew)and drove it 300 miles home. The seat covers have about 1000 “Shelby” printed on each of them, and just about everywhere else you look, there is a Shelby logo. It has a numbered plaque on the dash.

    • 0 avatar

      There is a Shelby Charger in my town; still looks great; and I think it is still a runner.

  • avatar

    I too remember when these came out, I was all about muscle cars and V8s, and thought all the FWD little turbo cars from Dodge were junk. Pretty soon me and my friends figured out these were the fastest cars of the bunch. The Shadow was very popular, I think the prices were really good or something, but I liked the Daytona best, with that sleek bodywork. My young mind didn’t realize then that mechanically they were all pretty much identical.

    But I gotta ask… did you get the girl???

    • 0 avatar

      It says a lot about TTAC that it took at least 12 comments before someone finally asked. The answer is that even with the car, she didn’t know who I was. I’m guessing I misunderstood that advice about power or something…

      Whatever, it worked out better for me anyhow.

      The issues with the Shadow vs the Daytona (and the Chargers) was insurance. Those other cars were “performance cars” the Shadow was an “economy car” and my rates reflected that. In 1988, the Shadow, which debuted in 1987 wasn’t even on the insurance companies’ radar because enough of them hadn’t been crashed.

  • avatar

    My problem with the Dodge Shadow is that it had the aerodynamics of a brick. That gave it substandard MPG, especially on the highway. This is ironic because it is essentially a shortened version of the LeBaron GTS which had more back seat leg room, a roomy hatch, and it was much more aerodynamic. It may have even had a better suspension, but I’m not sure about that.

  • avatar

    Well written article, but my feelings are a bit mixed. The ’88 you show is eerily similar to the ’87 non-turbo Shadow POS my father saddled me with in 1998. Easily the absolute worst car I have ever owned (but not the worst I have ever driven, maybe 3rd worst, 1st being the R-title 200SX one that caught on fire, and 2nd the Tempo with the rad hole that could only be driven for a mile at a time)

  • avatar

    My very first car was a 1993 Plymouth Sundance Duster, the Plymouth version of the Dodge Shadow. I really miss that little car.

  • avatar

    I had an 87 Plymouth Sundance Turbo with the exact same wheels, only my car was in black. I bought it three years old.

    I drove it for 6 years – only sold it because the A/C died, and I fried the syncro in 2nd gear. Since I was commuting in rush hour traffic, decided to move to an automatic car. If I recall, the clutch pedal was very very stiff on that car.

  • avatar

    I had the same car, rims and all. An ’87 Shadow ES Turbo 5-speed. Maroon exterior and interior. I should dig up the pictures. I just loved that car and reveled in hooniganism everywhere I took it. With a K&N filter, a Mopar Performance computer, and an exhaust system upgrade, I surprised many an authentic muscle car driver with it. Later, I built and installed a custom sound system in it worth as much as the car. Good memories – thanks!

  • avatar

    Did Pinifarina design this car for Dodge. When I saw the pic, my first impression was: What’s a Peugeot 405 doing on TTAC?

    Great story Thomas. Thanks again.

    • 0 avatar

      No. Lee Iacocca was friends with the late Alejandro de Tomaso; who owned Maserati at the time. So together, they jointly developed the Chrysler TC by Maserati:

      Sales never went anywhere with it because it was too similar in appearance to the Chrysler LeBaron GTC convertible; which cost much less. But, I thought it looked awesome and was a neat concept. My daydream was driving one in that cream color with the top off, my engineering plans by my side, and Herb Alpert”s “The Shadow of your Smile” playing on the radio; in the evening on my way to meet my girl for dinner.

      Pininfarina did design a similiar project – the Cadillac Allanté.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s funny you mention that. American and Italian makers, designers have been flirting since at least the 60s when Ford wanted to buy Ferrari. Well the roots go even deeper. It’s a little known fact but at the beginning of the last century Fiat had a factory in the US. If I’m not mistaken in New York, or was it Pennsylvania? Anyways the story goes that Henry Ford saw the factory and developed his ideas on the assembly line based on what he saw. Form what Ive read, Fiat was running at the time what could be called proto-assembly lines.

        Besides the Chrysler, De Tomas coonection (beautiful car for sure), Ford bought Ghia, GM almost swallowed Fiat, Fiat took over Chrysler. This marriage was a long time coming.

  • avatar

    Mr. Kreutzer is both a less snobby David E. Davis Jr. and a more polished Brock Yates. What a great read……

  • avatar

    Wait so you got the normal 2.2 or the Turbo?

    My father had a 93 Shadow that I deemed one of the worst cars I’ve ever known. He liked it well enough, put a performance chip in it, and it didn’t stall all the time like his previous X-Body Skylark. But even as a tot I hated the interior…

    Turbo Dodges rule though. I like the look of the one you got. I also love those Shelby Daytonas of those days, but alas, in this day and age, I’ll never own one due to their sheer unreliability.

  • avatar

    In case you haven’t been there in a while, Dwayne Lane’s still smells like stale coffee. :)

    • 0 avatar

      I bought this at the downtown store on the corner of Hewitt and Rucker back in the day. Today it’s a Gold’s Gym.

      I am straining my brain trying to remember who’s name was on it before Dwayne Lane bought the dealership. Any ideas?

  • avatar

    I’m not sure who it was previous, that was before my time here. The current store on Evergreen Way still has what I assume is the same giant red neon “DODGE” sign you mentioned though.

  • avatar

    Great article Mr Kreutzer. Oddly enough my GTI appeals to me for exactly the same reasons why your old 2.2T appealed to you. It’s a shame that Dodge hasn’t really provided anything worthy in that segment since the demise of the Neon, but I think current Dart is a worthy successor; all it needs is a hot engine option.

    I can relate to the feelings you describe when I visit the Dodge dealership and drool over the Challengers, either in R/T or SRT form. My VW is my post-Japanese-car-addiction experiment with a German car. While I have many options, when this experiment is done I think I’ll try something in the form of a RWD, V-8 powered domestic; likely in the form of a used Ford Mustang.

    Thankfully my girl gets “it.” She may not fully understand exactly what it is about cars that elicit such an emotional response from me, but she fully accepts it and supports it.

    • 0 avatar

      I just want to say here and now for anyone at Chrysler looking for some publicity, if you loan me a turbo Dart with a stick I will test the hell out of it and blog my ass off!

      My wife doesn’t really get it, but she isn’t bad about it. She even put up with my sportbike addiction for the first few years of our marriage. Once we started having children, I hung up the spurs on my own.

      • 0 avatar

        “I just want to say here and now for anyone at Chrysler looking for some publicity, if you loan me a turbo Dart with a stick I will test the hell out of it and blog my ass off!”

        ^ lol, well hopefully they’ll figure out a way to put an “SRT” or “ACR” badge on the car. I’m sure it’ll happen eventually.

        Me and my fiance have been trying to come up with idea for a “immediate post wedding trip.” A honeymoon, I guess? Anyway, I pitched the idea of a week long road trip complete with a run up to Deal’s Gap, the Cherohala Skyway, and the Blueridge Parkway and I got a big smile and a hug. I got lucky.

        I still miss the motorcycles. My helmets and Aerostich Roadcrafter are still in the closet…. but I think my spurs are hung up for good as well; children will be incoming in a couple of years. It’s funny to me, almost every single person I know who was fatally injured riding a motorcycle did it to themselves. Maybe I just don’t trust myself when I have a motorcycle that can exceed 150 mph, because I probably have more time at over 160 mph on public roads than most sane people.

        • 0 avatar

          I still have my gear as well. Once it’s gone, I’ll have to admit that part of my life is forever closed. I imagine I will get rid of it all when when we move next year anyhow.

          At least I got the better part of the decade riding hot bikes in Japan and splitting lanes. Compared to that, riding here at home is pretty boring.

  • avatar

    Dealer was Walsh-Platt, later Dwayne Lane and it moved out to Evergreen Way (Hwy 99). The street to go racing I will assume was Colby. That in the days before the city passed the non-cruising ordinance and the cops cracked down. I don`t think I have had a reason to go to Everett since.

    • 0 avatar

      Thank you! My God, that was kicking my ass. Do you know how many vintage photos I have looked at today? I found that originally that building was built in the late 1920s for the J.O. Fisher Dodge dealership. So, I guess I was wrong when I called it post WW2, I should have called it pre depression era.

      My brothers cruised Colby in the 70s but the city broke that up and narrowed the road. My generation cruised Evergreen Way from the shopping center next to the Chevrolet dealership (there was an arcade named Casey’s there) to another arcade (Alphonzo’s) up on Casino road.

      We drag raced on the Boeing freeway and occasionally the Lowell river road – but the river road was a place to get killed. The police were generally good to us and would let us race for a while before giving us a drive through and sending us on our way.

  • avatar


    Great article. Did you grow up in Everett? This took me back to when I lived there, the summer after my freshman year of college. I shared a cramped ground-floor apartment in a run-down Victorian house on Rucker Avenue with two other dudes. As my (depressingly inconsistent) source of income was a door-to-door sales gig, I got to know Everett really well, one door slammed in my face at a time. Lacking the funds to buy a car, I shlepped samples around town on a ten-speed I bought at a yard sale. Eventually, my fatigue of the two-wheeled life– and jealousy of my roommate’s five liter Mustang LX– swayed me to acquire my own set of wheels. I test-drove a terrifyingly crappy Datsun 210 that one dude tried to sell me for $50. It lacked both a gauge cluster and a lock cylinder for the ignition switch; you started it by jamming a screwdriver into a gaping maw in the steering column. The clutch master cylinder was ringing its own death knell, forcing you to pump the clutch pedal five or six times to execute a shift. Wisely passing on the 210, I ended up trading some study guides for a faded, badly-out-of-tune early-Eighties Civic. As if in solidarity to the 210, it broke its clutch cable the first week I had it, and I have vivid memories of gear-starting and power-shifting that poor SOB home one night.

  • avatar

    Great storytelling! It’s a shame these compact nameplates aren’t kept around long enough to build some heritage. Neon wasn’t a great name, but a 2013 Dodge Shadow SRT-4 has a nice ring to it. Having never owned a Dodge, I find myself reading up on the Dodge Charger R/T an unhealthy amount. Fortunately for me, I don’t need the Hemi to attract a lady, but I do still have to convince my wife that it’s a “sensible” car.

  • avatar

    Another great read. Back in 1987 I wanted a Garnett red Shelby Charger because blue was no longer available. After a test drive my feelings faded. The combo of torque steer and fishing for gears with a shifter that had throw length/slop of a dump truck killed it for me.
    Wound up buying a new ’88 5.0 Mustang LX coupe a few months later. I did a lot of stupid things with that car.

  • avatar

    As a previous owner of a ’90 Dodge Caravan Turbo 5-speed (maroon on maroon, of course), I can completely relate to your story. Yes, they had their problems, but the turbo K cars were great. I should have never given mine up.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a ’84 Laser XE Turbo. Loved the heck out of that car, loved the pull that came on with boost.

      I loved the fact I could wrench on it myself as well. A lot of stuff was easy access (except for that darned AIR motor that somehow kept getting dented in — never figured that out!).

      Alas, I tried to hold on to mine forever, but a ice storm dropped a tree on it, and it had to be dragged out of my yard via tow truck :(

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Fine writing about a forgotten car. This guy moves to the head of the class of the new writers.

  • avatar

    Good story about a man and his car! If you want another 2.2 turbo there is a Shelby CSX-VNT (based on the Shadow) for sale on ebay – read the full story here on the Daily Turismo

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