Buy/Drive/Burn: The $13,000 Sporty Car Question of 1988
In the recent Shelby CSX Rare Rides entry, long-term commenter 28-Cars-Later suggested some sporty competitors to the Shelby, all of which cost the same according to the state of Michigan. Japan, Germany, and America are well-represented in today’s trio.
Which one sets your sporty-small-car heart aflame in ’88?
Junkyard Find: 1991 Dodge Shadow Convertible
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.
Junkyard Find: 1991 Dodge Shadow ES Turbo Convertible
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.
Junkyard Find: 1994 Dodge Shadow ES
Dark Days: Broken Hearts and Blown Gaskets
She done me wrong. I was beside myself with grief, anger and stress. Things had been going so well when, suddenly, a former lover waltzed back into her life and caused her to leave me in the lurch. Part of me wanted to win her back, to show her I was better than him. The other, darker part of me wanted to find that guy and kick his ass. It was a terrible time, and to make matters even worse, by faithful Dodge Shadow wasn’t running right.
Junkyard Find: 1992 Dodge Shadow America
When I go to my local wrecking yards to photograph cars for this series, I’m looking for historical significance. Some might say that the Chrysler P-body (based on the ancient and venerable K platform, like so many Chrysler products of the 1980s and 1990s) lacks such significance, and that I should instead shoot the 60s Chevy pickups and VW Beetles I mostly ignore, but I disagree. Someday, wise old men will discuss the importance of the fourth Plymouth to bear the Duster name, but it’s the “America” series of stripper P-bodies that really get my attention. Jack Baruth explains why the Omni America and the cut-price P-bodies that followed it sold so poorly, and it’s the rarity of these things that gets my attention. So far in this series we’ve seen just two: this 1991 Sundance America and today’s ’92 Shadow America.
Junkyard Find: 1994 Plymouth Sundance Duster
Not everyone shares my interest in the K-variant Chrysler P platform, so I limit Shadow and Sundance Junkyard Finds to just the more historically significant members of the P family. Like, say, this ’93 Shadow ES, this ’91 Shadow, this ’92 Sundance, and this hard-to-find Sundance America. Today, we’ll be looking at one of the weirdest Sundances of them all: Chrysler’s fourth platform bearing the Duster name.
Junkyard Find: 1993 Dodge Shadow ES
We often forget about the P-body version of Chrysler’s mainstay-for-15-years K platform, though Shadows and Sundances once roamed North American highways in huge numbers. I still see plenty of completely trashed Ps in self-service wrecking yards— for example, this ’91 Shadow, this ’92 Sundance, and this super-rare Sundance America— but it takes something special to make me willing to do a Junkyard Find on a P. Early-90s factory tape graphics on a crypto-sporty Shadow sold just before the advent of the Neon? Yes, there’s some historical significance here.
Junkyard Find: 1991 Dodge Shadow
The Chrysler K platform was getting pretty dated by the early 1990s, though the 2.2/2.5 engine family was still technologically relevant (when compared to such Industrial Revolution-era machinery as GM’s Iron Duke). Chrysler put together yet another version of the K platform to create the P-body, which it then used as the basis for a family of compact cars intended to replace the even-more-dated Omnirizon cars. Thus was the Dodge Shadow born. Chrysler sold quite a few Shadows, which means you still see them on the road every now and then. I’ve been seeing Shadows and Sundances in large quantities in junkyards for the last 15 or so years, and only recently has the flow of P-bodies to The Crusher slowed down. Before they’re all gone, here’s a bronze Shadow I spotted at a Denver self-serve yard.
What's Wrong With This Picture?
In this vivid demonstration of how steel differs from aluminum, we see how a junkyard-turbocharged Mitsubishi V6 eats one of its own pistons.