By on January 11, 2016

00 - 1991 Dodge Shadow in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The Dodge Shadow was one of many, many versions of the Chrysler-saving K Platform, and it sold in fairly large quantities before being replaced by the Neon. As recently as five years ago, Shadows and their Plymouth Sundance siblings were among the most numerous Chryslers in American wrecking yards, but massive numbers of Sebrings have replaced them nowadays. I ignore most of these cars when I see them, but I can’t resist photographing examples with excessively 1990s tape stripes and decals or super-stripper no-option packages.

Today we’ll be looking at a car that puts turbocharging, overwrought 1990s tape graphics, a convertible top, and fire damage all in one K-car package.
07 - 1991 Dodge Shadow in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Yes, the factory applied these decals, not Manny, Moe, and/or Jack.

14 - 1991 Dodge Shadow in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

This car has an automatic transmission, but at least it has the 150 horsepower 2.5 Turbo I engine under the hood.

21 - 1991 Dodge Shadow in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

TURBO was still something of a magical word in 1991.

23 - 1991 Dodge Shadow in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

It appears that this car was parked with its trunk facing something that burned, or perhaps the last owner installed 3,000-watt taillight bulbs.

Up north, French-speaking Canadians had Celine Dion pitching Shadows.

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18 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1991 Dodge Shadow ES Turbo Convertible...”

  • avatar

    So many ways for a turbocharged Chrysler product to die, and this poor thing may just have been an innocent bystander.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Looks like a Global Warming dumpster fire bubbled those rear light housings.

  • avatar

    The tail lamps have been anime’d! And now we all know what it would look like if you replaced Shadow tail lamps with soft marshmallows.

  • avatar

    I don’t like it when Celine tries to be sporty and dancey. It doesn’t really work. And she stole her earrings from Selena or something.

  • avatar

    Watching Celine Dion do her thing is kind of weird… like watching your childhood friend’s mom trying to be sexy, just sort of WEIRD.

  • avatar

    I’d rather drive this car than ever hear Celine Dion again.

    • 0 avatar

      Can I see what’s behind door number three?

      • 0 avatar

        A *very* gently-used Buick Electra Estate, purchased by Elmer Sorensen in 1988 and driven by Mildred for the next 25 years before she shuffled off to hospice. 35,XXX miles, exhaust leak, falling headliner, minor scuffing on wood paneling where the driver’s door hit the garage wall.

  • avatar

    I bought an ’89 Sundance off a friend for $200 back in ’99-’00. At the time, I also had a ’91 Cougar XR7 with the 5.0.

    I loved my MN12 Cougar, but honestly had more fun in my crappy Sundance. Something about the steering, handling, and disposable nature of it made it a fun car to flog mercilessly on the back roads.

    Unfortunately, these seemed to be pretty much used-up by the time the odometer hit 100k. Also the paint on these here in SW Florida was usually gone by the time it hit its 5th birthday. Mine developed a loud engine knock at 120k (a week after a buddy’s ’90 Shadow did the same thing at same mileage), but then again I usually drove it like I stole it, so…

    • 0 avatar

      I remember renting one from Avis in 1990. Apparently, EVERYONE drove them like they stole them. That was the first and only rental car that forced me to call the rental office to tow it away and bring me another rental, which turned out to be a 4-door Ford Escort.

  • avatar

    All I can think of looking at this car is engine knock, paint and clearcoat peeling, head gasket failures, abysmal interiors and the “as is” lane at the auctions. Yes these types of cars spent a lot of time in that lane!

  • avatar

    God help me, I worked on these cars as well as those B body cars mentioned above.


  • avatar

    Wow, this takes me back. I bought a used Shadow ES convertible, a ’92 or ’93, with the 3-liter V6 and automatic, black with gold stripes and tan top and interior. Not that it was a sports car, or even pretended to be, but the steering was fairly quick and the V6 had nice throttle response and decent acceleration. After a couple of years a wiring harness corroded to the point of shorting out and fried the engine ECU in the process. I liked it but didn’t love it so it had to go after that.

  • avatar

    I drove one. The turbo lag was crazy, especially in wet weather conditions. Eventually, I bought one with the 2.5ltr 4 instead. You got a lot of stuff for not a lot of money. The car handled better and had better torque than a Toyota Corolla, but build quality was atrocious. My car came with the feature of a leaking cam bearing. To fix that, the dealer squirted gunk sealant all over the side of the engine head. Body panel gap lines were never even anywhere on the car.

    The car was also very easy to break into and steal. Our car was stolen twice and broken into 3 times. Once was by a 13 year old kid at 3am when the car was parked right in front of our house. But that’s another story.

  • avatar

    I had an ‘87.5 ES turbo, first model year they came out. Sweet little motor that Chrysler, to be honest in it’s brilliance that came only from the mind of a mad genius, lumped to an amazingly terrible 3 spd automatic which at 70mph sounded like a coffee grinder getting it on with the Kerby vacuum. The car was pretty nice and speedy!, once you got used to the 2 second turbo lag upon stomping on the accelerator. It had the quiet charm of an ’70s MG once you engaged the Cruise Control at any speed over 55mph as the electrical system would immediately bypass the $2 fuse and would fry itself with ILM smoke effect eminating from the dash. And the cherry on top was it’s marvelous ability to blow up it’s turbo every 50k miles or so, leading me to take it back to the dealership and begin the what can only be described as a hard-slog footbal game to get them to adhere to the warranty. This car was always my favorite mistake.

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