Junkyard Find: 1991 Dodge Shadow Convertible

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The Dodge Shadow and its Plymouth Sundance sibling were among the last members of the extended Chrysler K-car family to be built, sold from the 1987 through 1994 model years and replaced by the Neon after that. Millions were sold, but these cars are all but forgotten today. Chrysler built a handful of convertible Shadows, perhaps inspired by GM’s feat of selling some Geo Metro convertibles, and I’ve found this ’91 in a North Carolina self-service yard.

I visited a big Charlotte yard on my way to the airport after working at the 24 Hours of Lemons South Fall race last year, and it had some great stuff. How about an Audi S8, a Chrysler 300C, a 330k-mile Toyota MasterAce van, and a Route 66 Edition PT Cruiser, for starters? On one of my typical U-Wrench-It junkyard walk-throughs, I’ll find one or two vehicles I think are worth shooting, so this was a very productive visit.

This car lived outdoors with a deteriorating convertible top for quite a few years before coming to this place, so the interior was in an olfactory state that would have benefited from a Charlotte Stack of Little Tree air fresheners.

The convertible Shadow was sold for just the 1991 through 1993 model years, and the base engine in the soft-top was this 100-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (you could get the 93-horse 2.2L version in ordinary Shadows).

This one has door speaker grilles that look like something from an apartment door intercom of the 1950s.

The resale value of the Shadow and Sundance plummeted quickly during the 1990s, but this one provided better than 150,000 miles of (potential) top-down driving enjoyment and outlasted most of its allegedly more valuable competition.

Welcome home, America, to the affordable advantage of Dodge!

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Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Mar 06, 2019

    The body is pretty straight - a new top, thorough scrubbing, a simonize, and it would look pretty good on the outside. More scrubbing and some plastic paint would make the interior tolerable. It's just not worth the work, if it can't handle a LS swap. I wonder if a Honda 2.2 would fit?

  • Vetteman111 Vetteman111 on Mar 17, 2019

    I knew a girl in college that had one of these. She used to take it to the beach every weekend, and within a year it was rusted out. We live in the South where there is no snow or ice, but the beach totally ravaged this car. After 2 years, the convertible top was getting pretty ragged as well.

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  • Michael S6 Very confusing if the move is permanent or temporary.
  • Jrhurren Worked in Detroit 18 years, live 20 minutes away. Ren Cen is a gem, but a very terrible design inside. I’m surprised GM stuck it out as long as they did there.
  • Carson D I thought that this was going to be a comparison of BFGoodrich's different truck tires.
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