Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe CSX perfectly embodies the American ethos of taking something really shitty—like a Dodge Shadow—and massaging it just enough to make it do. Let’s see if this one’s price is also something you’d want to do.


Picture Kate Upton in one of those fake nose and eyeglasses disguises. Maybe even with a bushy mustache under the fake snoz tickling her perfect philtrum. Would that make her unappealing to you? Alternatively you could do this exercise with, oh I don’t know, Ryan Gosling, should that be your preference.

I ask this because, while yesterday’s 1991 BMW 850i was a beautiful car, many of you questioned its desirability based on its fugtastic wheels. Something to think about people. Judge not lest ye be judged, or some shit like that.


Questionable wheel choices or not, that big Bimmer’s potential for being a grenade with the pin half-pulled also clouded many a view, and the confluence of issues conspired to give the car’s not insubstantial price a also not insubstantial 70% Crack Pipe loss. Not yet BMW, not quite yet.

At the time of its reign BMW’s 850 was the marque’s halo car. It was a technological tour de force rendered in a beautiful body and with performance bonafides to boot. In contrast, the Dodge Shadow was the Chrysler Corporation’s attempt to sell something that people of meager means could drive, and boy did it show it.

A derivative of the K-car platform the P-car (heh, heh, pee car) Shadow and its Plymouth Sundance cousin replaced the Omni/Horizon in each brand’s lineup. They also replaced the Renault Alliance and Encore after Chrysler bought Jeep and AMC from the French company, so kudos to them for doing that.

Perhaps the Shadow’s greatest feat however, is the near perfect illusion its body creates of being a trunked sedan when actually it has a hatchback ass. I swear, the first time I saw one when they were new I audibly gasped when the hatch was opened, thinking it was a trunk.



That was about the only thing interesting about the Shadow—it being a rather shitty car in many ways—that is, until Carroll Shelby got ahold of them. The Cobra King followed up his Omni-based GLHS with the Shadow-based CSX (Carroll Shelby eXperimental), a car that the Whittier California based tuner claimed was SCCA race ready.

This 1989 Shelby CSX-VNT (Variable Nozzle Turbo) represents one of the most thoroughly thought-out versions of the CSX line, and is #104 out of the 500 built in total. These cars sported a healthy 175-bhp and 205 lb-ft of torque from its 2.2-litre four. In a bantam weight car like the CSX those ponies could do some damage. Backing up the hot 2.2 is a Getrag A555 five-speed transaxle and the cars came with suspension pieces from the larger K-based Shelby Daytona.


One of the weight savers originally offered, but not presently on this car were plastic wheels. That was an inovative product called Fiberide. I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable rolling on something called Fiberide, but if you are then the seller says he has the original set and that they come with the car.

You also get the Exotic Red paint which was the only color option for the VNT cars, and the optional Recaro seats, which are a nice perk here as long as you don’t mind sitting on many, many diagonal Shelbys. The Hoonigan stickers are hopefully easily removable. Hooniverse stickers are, of course, preferred by yours truly.

The seller says that everything works—A/C blows cold, etc—and that he’s been focusing on making the car look pretty. That’s a tough job if you’re not willing to tackle things like worn trim paint and oxidized plastic trim, but at least it all seems to be complete. The interior presents better than the exterior, with the notable exception of a huge hole in the back seat squab. What the hell happened there? There’s also some minor rust in the spare tire well, something that some POR-15 would address in about five minutes time, and a pinhole in the radiator.

It’s not all gloom and doom however, as the ad notes a litany of replaced and maintained parts all added and maintained recently. The car also has a modicum of miles, showing only 97,381 on the odo.



What’s the price for this rough-hewn hot rod? The seller is asking $5,000 for it and he notes that there are few if any VNT cars for sale at present. What do you think about his pricing acumen, does $5,000 feel right for this CSX as presented in its ad? Or, does asking that much for a CSX even if it’s a VNT, make you LOL?

You decide!

Oklahoma City Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.


H/T to my man Josh Frerman for the hookup!

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