By on September 17, 2020

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]

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23 Comments on “Rare Rides: A 1999 Dodge Durango Shelby SP-360, a Subtle Family SUV...”


  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    With all that carbon fiber, this vehicle must be extremely light.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Wow.

    I have to say I really like this.

    I like everything about it.

    The seats, the rims, the color, the stripe, the numbers, everything.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I like it, but something about the dual exhausts looks off. Can’t put my finger on it. The roof racks make me smile. Not a bad price if you’re looking for something different, and don’t mind paying for the upkeep.

    • 0 avatar

      The lowest valance grille is a bit Braun electric.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      @Russycle

      Looked through a 2020 eye, I would agree. When I put on my 90s goggles, this is “period correct.’

      When I was young and dumb, I put some polished stainless tips on one of my cars because you know – more HP! (joke).

      One thing that sucks about tips sticking out like that along the rear hatch, they are feckin’ shin busters. Ask me how I know.

      Today the tips would be on the outer edges, geometric in shape and flush.

      I wonder if the dual exhaust was truly functional on this (guessing with the Shelby massaging it is)

      • 0 avatar
        hotrodder55

        Correct about hitting ur shins on these but they don’t stick out far enough really. Mostly what happens is u get a wake up call from the heat when loading or unloading the rear. Kinda delayed reAction like what is that? Then u realize ur getting burnt haha. Not a true dual exhaust system. Mine splits at the muffler. Single in dual out.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Interesting that even with a supercharger, it’s half the hp of the current Durango Hellcat.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      And it’s a lot less powerful than the current naturally-aspirated SRT Durango.
      Technology marches on.

      (Side note: my neighbor has a SRT Durango, and man, does that car have a sexy exhaust note!)

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Very clean unit.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    For some reason the color combination only highlights the shared taillights and gate of the Caravan.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I had 2 Dakota R/Ts and I have to wonder if they changed the transmissions for these. They were a well known weak point with the 250hp R/Ts and I can’t imagine how fast it would go out adding 50% more hp.

    I would have paid a lot for those seats for my first one, I bought some cheapo DAD “racing” seats which were questionably installed by yours truly.
    However I would have passed on the wheels, even then. Those things look… well, they look 1999. I really like the stock R/T wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      The a518/618 were good as long as you had the tow package or transmission cooler on them. Don’t know if the Shelby had it, but I would assume so.

      The stock SLT+ and RT rims are far better looking than these, but that is the easiest part to change.

    • 0 avatar
      hotrodder55

      There’s a Kenne Bell Optimizer computer added which tightens up the shifts but as far as I know it’s same trans. My problem is more with wheelhop. Wheels were special made just for this project with Carroll Shelby signature caps. They’re pretty heavy tho. HArd to balance. I picked up the last spare rim from the west coast company that modified mine

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    These are cool. Always liked this generation of ‘Rango. This needs to be dropped a good bit to eliminate that wheel gap and those wheels are absolute garbage….melt them down, pour them into a fire ant mound. Then re-drill the hubs to 5×4.5 and put some 17×8 Torq Thrust D’s on it. Perfect performance SUV.

  • avatar
    RHD

    That Shelby blue is awesome.

    But reading that the back end comes from the minivans… now I can’t unsee the hack job!

    About a decade ago, my former workplace found it in the budget to lease a Durango to shuttle the employees to training sessions and seminars or whatever. No one liked it all that much, and it drank much more gas than it should have. When the lease was up, it went away, and there was no longer a budget allocation for a replacement.
    A Shelbyized version with awesome seats makes for a terrific people mover, though.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I wonder how the Shelby Durango compares to the Ford Explorer Saleen XP8 which was also a limited edition supercharged late 90’s-00 mid sized SUV. I would think that the Ford handles better because it’s a bit less bulky and of course a tire upgrade.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I wonder how much the owner thinks Ol’ Shel’s autograph adds to the value.

    Not bad at all. I also rather liked the first-gen Lincoln Aviator, with the Cobra engine.

  • avatar
    cardave5150

    I had one of this-gen Durango (not a Shelby) at the same time as a Grand Caravan. They don’t share a tailgate, only the taillights (and they’re flipped upside down on the Durango compared to the Caravan. That Durango sure was a ton of fun, though…

  • avatar
    JimC2

    I seem to remember these being vaguely the spiritual successor to the Lil’ Red Express Truck.

    Oval track truck racing has never struck a chord with me (I think it’s rather silly oxymoron…) but if you’re a truck person who likes fast trucks then I absolutely see how the SP-360 will get your blood moving- looking at it if I were a truck lover, these were very nice trucks!

    That 0-60 time for MY1999-00 meant you’d win most stoplight drag races. That and if your bank account could keep tires on the thing then you’d duly impress every one of your red-blooded friends by giving them sore necks from demonstrating the truck’s acceleration.

  • avatar
    Avid Fan

    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.

  • avatar
    hotrodder55

    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.

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