Shelby Rent-A-Car: 1988 Shelby CSX-T

This 1988 Dodge Shadow is a limited production Shelby CSX-T, one of 1,000 cars made for rental car company Thrifty. Similar to his partnership with Hertz in the 60s, Carroll Shelby re-initiated the popular practice of renting a high performance car solely for the thrill of beating the bejesus out of it without the penalty of paying for your sins later on. This example is listed here on eBay with a reasonable $3,000 Buy-It-Now and the reserve unmet.

These Shelby-tuned Shadows were basically identical to the CSX sold at Chrysler dealerships, but it sported a non-intercooled version of the widely-used 2.2L mill. The rental cars all shared the same color scheme and are rare to find today. Given how quickly rental cars end up being scrapped or auctioned off at cheap wholesale lots, I wouldn’t be surprised if very few survive today.

Finding a manual transmission in a rental car is near impossible today, but you could get a turbocharged pocket rocket like the CSX-T with the row-it-yourself option, truly making this car a likely target for ruthless flogging. Still, the Shelby-specific bits seem to remain intact on this example, including the three-spoke steering wheel, seats, wheels, floor mats, valve cover, and more.

The all-important dash plaque confirming this Shelby as a genuine CSX-T is also intact, and the production number of 978 shows it left the assembly line shortly before all production ended. The seller notes it runs and shifts well, and the turbo spools up to the factory-rated five pounds of boost. The listing calls it a great starting point for restoration, so clearly it’s not perfect – but at this price, who cares?


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  1. 36Packard

    Pretty nice little car, and at a price we all can afford. Imagine that.

    Like 5
  2. Superdessucke

    This little thing was probably beaten to within an inch of its life while in the rental fleet, and then beaten some more for an unknown number of miles thereafter. But if you’re willing to do a complete restoration, which probably would make little economic sense, these are certainly interesting.

    Like 5
  3. CanuckCarGuy

    Why restore it…why not drive it,and fix what breaks? I’d certainly not abuse it, but I’d definitely use it…the refresh/rebuild would be put off for a while.

    Like 10
    • Superdessucke

      If my past experience with cheap old cars is any guide, you would probably spend thousands getting this safe and roadworthy. Tires, brakes, rubber hoses, belts, leak repairs, etc. Unless you have a very liberal definition of safe and roadworthy this would be very expensive I would suspect. Cars like this don’t get lavished with meticulous maintenance.

      Like 5
      • Steve R

        The ad says it’s came California and is now in Alabama. It currently runs and drives. Much of the work you suggest it needs to make it “roadworthy” are likely unnecessary. Belts, hoses and tires, are basic maintenance items and won’t cost thousands of dollars to replace even if needed.

        Steve R

        Like 3
      • Superdessucke

        I bought a Volvo 850R once. California and Washington car its whole life. No rust! Four different brand tires. Hoses with tape around them. Turbo didn’t even work because the gauge hose was completely dry rotted. Etc.

        That stuff is part of the hobby. And it adds up. My threshold for a Dodge Shadow nickel and diming me to death would be very, very low but I understand others might feel different, because it’s a Shelby, kind of. But too many people go in not knowing what they’re going to get into.

        Like 5

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