The History Of Dodge Shadow

For 1987, Chrysler Corporation introduced two new compact cars, the Dodge Shadow and the Plymouth Sundance (which turned in similar sales figures), intended to replace the Dodge Charger - Dodge Omni and Plymouth Turismo - Plymouth Horizon, respectively.

They were built in Sterling Heights, Michigan and Toluca, Mexico. In Mexico, they were marketed as Chrysler Shadows, although they were rebadged Plymouth Sundances. The first car rolled off the assembly line on August 25, 1986.

Both 2-door and 4-door models were built using a variant of the K-car platform, known as the P-body, which was based on a combination of the Dodge Daytona's suspension with a shortened version of the Dodge Lancer's body.

While they looked like regular sedans and coupes, they were actually hatchbacks. Chrysler considered this a special feature and advertising literature referred to it as "hidden hatchback versatility". The relatively large storage capacity of these vehicles was a major selling point for the company.

Carroll Shelby Enterprises modified Shadows into several performance-oriented vehicles such as the Shelby CSX, which was equipped with a turbocharged 2.2 L engine producing 174hp (130kW). Because of the car's light weight, it was capable of acceleration equal or greater than that of many contemporary muscle and sports cars of the time. A version without the intercooler, rated at 150hp (112kW), was sold to Thrifty as the CSX-T.

A convertible version of the Shadow debuted in 1991, the same year Chrysler introduced stripped-down, budget-priced "America" models of the coupe and sedan models. At the time, the Shadow and Sundance were the lowest-priced cars on the market with a standard driver's side airbag, which had been made standard on all US-market domestic Chrysler cars in 1990. While the Shadow and Sundance were popular until they were discontinued, like the Ford Escort and the Chevrolet Cavalier, they failed to make a profit. The Shadow received cosmetic updates for 1989: the inset sealed-beam headlamps were discarded in favor of aerodynamic composite units. A new body-color grille and new taillights were among other minor changes. A motorized passenger's side seat belt was added to US-market Shadows in 1994, to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208's requirement for passive restraints. These motorized belts do not comply with Canada's safety standards; Canadian-market Sundances continued to use a manual passenger seatbelt, and 1994 Shadows cannot legally be imported across the US-Canada border in either direction.

Production ended on March 9, 1994. The Shadow and Sundance were replaced by the Dodge/ Plymouth Neon.

The Shadow and Sundance offered a variety of four cylinder engines, all either of 2.2 or 2.5 L, some turbocharged. Naturally aspirated versions were, except in Mexico, fuel injected. The engines were tuned for torque rather than horsepower, resulting in numbers that appear to be reversed from the Honda Civic - for example, 93hp (69kW) and 122lb·ft (165N·m) of torque from the base 2.2 L engine. A Mitsubishi-built 3.0 L V6 was added later, which led to the demise of the turbo option. All were available with a five-speed manual transmission. A 3 speed automatic based upon the Chrysler Torqueflite was optional on the 4 cylinder equipped cars and a 4 speed automatic 41TE was optional on the V6 powered cars. In 1990 the manual transmission was modified to make shifting into reverse easier; a number of other incremental improvements were also made.

Shadows and Sundances came with the following engines, although not all engines were available each year:

  • 2.2 L I4 - 93hp (69kW) and 122lb·ft (165N·m) of torque
  • 2.5 L I4 - 100hp (70kW) and 140lb·ft (190N·m) of torque
  • 2.2 L turbocharged I4 - 146hp (109kW) and 170lb·ft (230N·m) of torque
  • 2.2 L turbocharged I4 - 170hp (127kW) and 175lb·ft (237N·m) of torque (Shelby T2)(87 CSX)
  • 2.2 L turbocharged I4 - 174hp (130kW) and 210lb·ft (285N·m) of torque (CSX-VNT)
  • 2.5 L turbocharged I4 - 150hp (112kW) and 190lb·ft (258N·m) of torque
  • 2.5 L turbocharged I4 - 151hp (113kW) and 210lb·ft (285N·m) of torque (High Torque ECU 91 only)
  • 3.0 L V6 - 142hp (106kW) and 171lb·ft (232N·m) of torque

(Source - ~dempsey/ shelby/ sheldodg.htm & mopar/ 22.html)

Features varied with years, but some features included power windows, power mirrors, power door locks, cruise control, tilt wheel, variable intermittent delay wipers (over the standard two speed LO/ HI only wipers), overhead console with map lights and compass/ temperature display, upgraded "highline" instrument cluster with tachometer, "light package" that added lighting in the trunk, glove box, under-hood mounted light and rear door dome light switches (4 door models), remote trunk release, rear defroster, Fog lights, mag wheels, convertible top, infinity sound system and power driver side seat. There was also on the turbo charger equipped cars a vacuum/ boost gauge and message center that monitored four vehicle functions, door ajar, washer fluid level, etc. Four wheel disc brakes with rear disc's instead of the standard drum brake was optional depending upon trim level.

In 1993 a low pressure Bendix-4 ABS was available.

Starting in 1990, driver side airbags were standard, giving the Shadow a remarkable crash test rating for a car its size at the time: 4 star driver, 5 star passenger according to 1993 tests.

Trim levels

  • Sedan/ Coupe:
    • base - 1987-1990; 1993-1994
    • ES - 1988-1994
    • America - 1991-1992
    • Highline - 1991-1992
  • Convertible:
    • Highline - 1991-1993
    • ES - 1991-1993
Historic Corporate Fratzog· John Francis Dodge· Horace Elgin Dodge Category:Dodge vehicles· Chrysler LLC

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