Caroll Shelby built many memorable racing and muscle cars. This 1989 Shelby CSX available on Craigslist outside of Seattle is not one of them. At least not yet. Based on the Dodge Shadow and Plymouth Sundance of the era, the CSX (Carroll Shelby eXperimental) was a limited run vehicle badged as a Shelby, which 20 years earlier might have meant something. At $15,000, is this vehicle under or over ripe?
The first CSXs showed up in 1987. A mere 750 were manufactured and priced at $13,495, approximately $30,000 in 2019. Not bad for a car with a 175 horsepower four banger turbo that went zero to 60 in 6.8 seconds. Seems slow? The 1965 Shelby GT350 hit the same mark in 6.5 seconds. But that’s still like comparing a 1989 Dodge Shadow to a 1965 Shelby GT350, so…
The next year, 1988, a total 1,001 of the cars were made, but they were badged as a CSX-T. What does the T stand for? Great question. T stands for thirfy, because every example produced this year were sold to Thrifty rental company, similar to how Shelby sold cars to Hertz in the 1960s. Each CSX-T that was destined for the rental fleet was painted white with grey and blue trim.
The final year of the CSX, and the final year of Shelby overseeing the building of rebadged Dodge vehicles, brought us the example we’re examining today. Technically this one is a CSX-VNT thanks to the introduction of the Garrett Variable-Nozzle Turbo. While the horsepower remained at 175, the car received numerous upgrades for 1989, aside from the Turbo that eliminated lag. The introduction of composite wheels allowed for a lighter weight. Known as Fiberrides, this example still has its Shelby designed rims.
In 1989 the price went up to $15,995 at the dealer. With only 500 produced that year, the 1989 CSX is the most rare, and according to some collectors, are the most sought after, as long as the original turbo setup is intact. So for a grand less than what the sales lot asked for 30 years ago, do you think this dented and cigarette burned example is one to buy or let it fly?