Rare Rides: A 1999 Dodge Durango Shelby SP-360, a Subtle Family SUV

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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