How I Got My CSX

by on Jul.31, 1998, under CSX

The history of my Shelby starts in June of 1998, just after I graduated from Southern Illinois University and started work at Motorola, Inc. Throughout my years at college, I was a member of the Shelby Dodge Mailing List (SDML) where I learned a lot more about these Front Drive Mopars, specifically the turbocharged models.  I compiled what I knew and what I learned and created a site that is a great resource for these cars called the Mini Mopar Resource Site.  This site includes many repairs, modifications, general information, and even a troubleshooter.  Through the SDML, many people buy and sell parts and cars.  While I could not afford any of them while I was in college, I decided that I would try as soon as I could.

After I started work, I rejoined the list (after being off for a couple of months because of the high volume of mail) and posted a request for a 1987 Shelby CSX.  I got several responses.  Most were pricey and all needed work.  One response was from Brian Rauchwarter, who maintained the old “ShelbyVille” site which had a huge classifieds section.  He informed me of a vehicle he recently added to his “For Sale With Pics” section.  I had plans for all the mods I wanted to do and that ad just happened to have almost all of them already.  I immediately got in contact with the seller and the process began.  There were some other interested parties, but when they fell through, I started getting serious.  It was less expensive than the rest, but had a major engine problem (35 psi of compression on #4) and needed a little body work (dings, chips, weather stripping, etc.).  The body literally had no rust on it anywhere (even the underbody) and the Centurion wheels were in nearly perfect shape.  The car had all of the Shelby badges, gauges, and accessories except for the front grill which was a Sundance grill.  The mods included a Mopar Performance Stage II Computer, huge K&N Cone Filtercharger intake, 2-1/4 inch exhaust with a high-flow catalytic converter and no muffler, a Dodge Shadow ES interior (the original is well known to fall apart), and a Sony CD player with Boston Acoustic speakers.  The owner was selling it because he was moving across the country and couldn’t drive it or afford to have it transported.

After debating between this one for $1750, and a mint but bone stock CSX with low mileage for $5000 that needed a paint job badly (which would cost another $1500), I decided to get the modified one and keep my ’88 Shadow ES for a daily driver.  Here is a pic of the car taken by the owner in the California bay area:

The trick was how to get the car from San Fransisco, California to Chicago Illinois.  Had the car been in better condition, I could have flown over and driven it back, but I decided to go with a vehicle transportation company.  After doing a lot of research, I decided on Allen Auto Transport to transport the Shelby.  They were a bit more expensive than the others I called, but they were much more professional and had a good reputation behind them.  After a bit more back-and-forth with the seller and Allen Auto Transport, things were finally underway and on June 24, 1998, I committed to buy the 1987 Shelby CSX #694 of 750.  It was picked up by the carrier on July 10, 1998.

Some Background information On This Car:

The previous owner of the CSX bought it from a rebuilder.  Information on the VIN indicates that it may have been a rental car, initially.  It had front end damage that was repaired by the rebuilder: it has a new hood, right fender, and a front grille from a Sundance.  Also, the right-side door had a dent in it towards the front that was filled.

The engine on this car very odd.  The block was in excellent shape, but the head was not original and had a LOT more wear on it, as if it came from another high mileage car, probably an ’88 since it had the roller cam.  The history of this car is very uncertain, but in light of some discoveries I made while rebuilding the engine, the previous owner had this theory to offer:

    “As far as your questions about the head- the place I got the CSX was a rebuilder- hence the salvage title and most likely a head from an 88 in their yard. I tried to pry as much info out of the guys when I bought the car but they didn’t have much info. He said that the car came into the place in 1995 I believe- was bought by one of the employees who replaced the bent fender and hood- and then didn’t do much else except leave it sit. He then sold it back to the place and I bought it. In light of your info, here’s my theory: in 1994 or 95 it was stolen or ridden hard, blew a head gasket or cracked the original head, and was involved in a minor accident. The insurance wrote it off since it was an 87 and was sent to the insurance pool where it was bought by the rebuilder. The yard put on a head to get it running then maybe it didn’t sell so the employee got it. Only a theory. If you look closely at the drivers rear quarter window you can see tape marks from where a used car lot sticker was once attached. It was obviously bought & resold before.”

So, this car definitely has some sort of interesting history.  I wish I could find out more about it, but I am just glad that the previous owner was able to save it.

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