Rare Rides: A 1999 Dodge Durango Shelby SP-360, a Subtle Family SUV

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Rare Rides has featured a few examples of Dodge vehicles which were breathed upon by the legendary Carroll Shelby. We add another entry to the file today, with the largest and most powerful Shelby featured here to date.

It’s a Durango Shelby SP-360 from 1999.

The Durango was the family-friendly and seven-passenger alternative to Jeep’s Cherokee and Grand Cherokee offerings. A body-on-frame vehicle (unlike Grand Cherokee), Durango shared its platform with the Dakota midsize pickup. It came along toward the beginning of the on-road family SUV craze, and debuted for model year 1998.

Many of the Durango’s components came directly from the Dakota, and included the front end, seats, dashboard, engines, and transmissions. The rear end was donated by the Dodge Caravan. Engines on standard models ranged from a smallish 3.9-liter V6 (1999 onward), up to a 5.9-liter Magnum V8. Transmissions were all automatic, with either four or five forward speeds.

Carroll Shelby took notice of the Durango, and worked up a version of his own. The new Durango Shelby entered production for only the 1999 and 2000 model years. Shelby focused on making the revised Durango look as loud as possible, so the only color scheme available was some blue paint from the Viper paired with white racing stripes. A unique turbine wheel design wore performance tires instead of the chunky all-terrains of standard Durangos. The hood and front and rear bumpers were also replaced with Shelby-designed versions, the rear bumper with dual integrated exhausts. And there were sporty side sill extensions in place of the usual running boards.

Inside, changes were confined largely to carbon fiber effect appliques on most surfaces, and the replacement of the front- and middle-row seats with some custom Shelby racing buckets. All three rows were done up in a unique grey and black two-tone lather treatment. This one in particular was signed in 2003 in festive silver Sharpie by Shelby himself.

Most importantly, Shelby’s company made considerable changes to the standard Durango’s 5.9-liter Magnum V8 power. A twin-screw supercharger made by Kenne Bell was attached to the engine, along with an upgraded intake, headers, a larger exhaust, and revisions to the engine management software. The changes resulted in a power jump from 245 horses and 330 lb-ft of torque to 360 horses and 412 lb-ft.

Pretty impressive numbers at the time, they made for a 0-60 sprint in 6.7 seconds, and a top speed of 142 miles an hour. The additional power was wrangled by a revised sports suspension, and upgraded six-piston front brakes.

The Durango Shelby was intended as a very limited run of special vehicles, and roughly 300 were completed for 1999 and 2000. Today’s Rare Ride is number 141 from the middle of the run, but likely one of the last made in 1999. Yours for $24,995.

[Images: seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Avid Fan Avid Fan on Sep 19, 2020

    Isn't this the featured car at every buy her/pay here lot in Florida? All American power only 399 a Month for 72 months! We Finance Anybody.

  • Hotrodder55 Hotrodder55 on Oct 12, 2020

    So looking for opinions from the group if u don’t mind. I’m thinking of selling mine (actually my wife’s) but these haven’t appreciated as much as I would have hoped. Owned since 2002. Only made in 1999. About 200 made in 4wd and 2wd versions (less 2wd versions but their stance is better) before money ran out and they stopped. I have good knowledge and background of them since I’ve done the research with help of the West Coast shop that modified them. They did west coast mods and another company did the mods for those sold by dealers on the east side. High volume Dodge dealers were only allowed one to sell. We didn’t have high enough volume dealers in Hawaii so none made it here. I saw these and said if I’m gonna pay that much for a new Durango, I’d rather have this. That was a great decision back then. Found the AZ dealer who sold it new and invoice was over $56K in 1999 so I guess back then compared to now with inflation would be pretty expensive. Should I sell? Original everything on the car even Viper intense blue paint, except tires and things that wear out. Not sure what to ask for it or keep? It hasn’t been used much anymore since Covid and 2 drivers but 3 cars.

  • Lorenzo Subaru had the ideal wagon - in 1995. The Legacy Outback was a straight two-box design with rear quarter and back windows you could see out of, and was available in brown with a 5-speed manual, as God and TTAC commenters intended. It's nice they're not raising prices, but when you've lost the plot, does it matter?
  • Bkojote Remember a month a go when Cleveland wanted to create a more walkable Cleveland and TTAC's 'BIG GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM' dumbest and dullest all collectively crapped their diapers? Here's the thing- look on any American highway and it's littered with people who don't /want/ to be driving or shouldn't be. Look at every Becky on her phone during the morning commute in her Tucson, look at every Brad aggro driving his 84 month loan GMC. Hell look how many drivers nowadays can't even operate a headlight switch. You expect these people to understand a stoplight? In my neighborhood alone 4 people have been rear ended at lights from someone on their phone. Distracted driving over the past 10 years has spiked, and it's only going to get worse unless Becky has an alternative, because no judge is going to pull her license when 'she needs it to get to work!' but heaven forbid she not check fb/tiktok for 40 minutes a day.
  • Scott Shouldn't the The Italian Minister for Business be criticizing The Milano for being too ugly to be Italian?Better use of resources doing that....
  • Steve Biro Frankly, while I can do without Eyesight and automatic start-stop, there is generally less B-S with Subarus in terms of design, utility and off-road chops than with many other brands. I just hope that when they adopt Toyota’s hybrid system, they’ll also use Toyota’s eCVT.
  • The Oracle These are all over the roads in droves here in WNC. Rarely see one on the side of the road, they are wildly popular, capable, and reliable. There is a market for utilitarian vehicles.
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