It goes without saying, the “Carroll Shelby” treatment is legendary. Over the years, the Shelby touch has produced everything from high performance Mustangs to V8 Cobra sportscars, ballistic Omni hot hatchbacks, and even a zippy Dakota pickup truck.
But has every Shelby been up to snuff? Here’s looking at you…the 1987 Shelby CSX. Next to hallowed Cobras and GT350s, it doesn’t appear to be cut from the same cloth. Though it was quite the little stormer in its day.
The CSX (Carroll Shelby Experimental) followed on the heels of Shelby’s first foray into Chrysler Corporation hot hatchery–the now infamous Shelby GHLS. It derived its mechanicals from the then-new Dodge Shadow hatchback, and like its GLHS sibling, it shared Chrysler’s 2.2-liter turbocharged engine…with some extra performance goodies of course.
Carroll Shelby massaged the engine into its potent Turbo II specification, now featuring a modified intake and exhaust, electronic fuel injection, larger turbocharger, and an air-to-air intercooler. Running 12 pounds of boost, which spun to the ground through a five-speed manual gearbox, the 175 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque, the CSX could sprint to 60 mph in around seven seconds. Pushed to the max, it would allegedly hit a top speed of 130 mph. Mind you, this was a mid-‘80s front-wheel drive runabout.
On the outside, Shelby gave each ’87 CSX a two-tone black and silver paint job, which complemented a CSX-specific aero package, redesigned front grille, side skirts, and rear spoiler. Inside, every ’87 came similarly equipped, featuring air-conditioning, a four speaker cassette radio, specially numbered plaques and floor mats, sport gauges, and the “CS” sport steering wheel. To this day, that steering wheel still screams “cool.”
Behind the scenes, the Shelby CSX boasts Monroe Formula GP struts and springs in the front, upgraded shocks residing in the rear, and larger anti-roll bars fitted at both ends. Four-wheel disc brakes are hidden behind a set of Centurion II wheels.
This particular 1987 Shelby CSX would appear to be a fairly clean example from what its eBay listing shows, despite the unsavory aftermarket pedals. Only 750 were built for 1987, with additional runs built in 1988 and ’89. This CSX sports a fairly low 86,722 miles on the odometer, and as the badging and Carroll Shelby signature would indicate, it’s number 518 produced during that debut year.
Your call Internet. Is the ’87 Shelby CSX a cool car?