Backstreet Classic: 1989 Shelby Dakota muscle


This 1989 Shelby Dakota is another special vehicle in the long line of Carrol Shelby’s creations. Most people associate the Shelby name with 1960’s racing and cars such as the beloved A/C Cobra. Famous creations also include the 1960’s era Ford Mustang GT350 and GT500. In 2005, Shelby once again started to build bad to the bone high-performance Mustangs, but in the 1980’s Shelby built some very unique cars with the Chrysler corporation.

This street shot of a rather clean Backstreet Classic 1989 Shelby Dakota is a survivor, and guessing by the studded steels on the rear, an even rarer daily driver. Only 1,475 Shelby Dakotas were built in 1989. Totals were 995 in red and 480 in white.
If you want to learn more – just do a search for Shelby and Chrysler partnership.

There are some engineering firsts with the Shelby Dakota. It was the first midsize “small” pickup equipped with a V8 engine. A 318 ci throttle body injected motor, pumping out 175 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque.  The V8 had to be modified with electric fans due to the length of the block, but that gave the extra 5 hp bump from the standard 318. Rumors say that the internals had aluminum pistons, doubler roller timing chain, and roller rockers, so the 175 hp could be a bit underrated.


The second feat, was the overdrive for the transmission. The 4-speed automatic with a New Process overdrive system mounted at the rear of the tranny made it Chrysler’s most complicated set up at the time.


Here is a list of some other unique features:

  • Side Shelby graphics with a V8 sticker on the fender and grill
  • Racer back behind the cab
  • Air dam driving lights
  • Shelby Steering wheel
  • Shelby embossed seats

Take a look at another very classic and powerful Dodge project truck that TFLtruck is following.