In high school, I drove a 1973 Dart Swinger that I picked up for my senior project. Unknown to me the "needs front end rebuild" really was "needs new K-frame since its cracked up". So after replacing the K-frame (thanks Toby C!), installing a 4-barrel intake, holley 650 carb, straight 2.25" pipes w/ H-pipe, Erson 0.488" lift cam, 360 J-heads, distributor re-curve, and dampened valve springs I had my self a little hot rod. And while the mildly worked over 318 got me every where I needed to go, once I went to college I found it less fun to drive for 5 hours on the interstate to and from school. I also found that I couldn't hear very well when I got to my destination with the drone of straight pipes in my ears. Not that it was a bad car (for $500 no less) but when driving a 24 year old car you have to expect it to break down eventually and with no place to work on it at school I couldn't keep up maintenance very well. Plus since I primarily only drive on the interstate I figured a more fuel efficient car (17 mpg ain't that bad for a 73 small block) would better on my pocket as well as the air. So I started browsing the internet for smaller sport style cars from the 80's that I might look into.
Being partial to Mopar, I of course looked into what Ma had to offer in this time period. I soon had my eyes on some 2.2 Chargers and Turismos that I had seen on web sites. Then it happened. I came across shelbyracer's homepage and immediately fell in love with the car. I knew I had to have one. I never even really knew what a turbo was but for 146 stock horses from a 2.2L how could you go wrong? Here's the tech article I read.
So I kept my eye out. While looking through the classifieds
during the winter of '97 I found an ad that read:
1985 Shelby Charger
Turbo, 3k on rebuilt motor
$1300 obo 757-###-####
I called about the car but no one was home. The next day, my dad and I happened across a nearby dealership where we spotted a '87 black and silver SC. We stopped and looked at the car. The interior was decent. It had a sunroof, rear cargo cover, rear louvers, and A/C. Plus it had 79k original miles. We took it for a test drive and I loved it. It was smooth but powerful. They wanted $2900 for it but we couldn't talk them down. The day after that I called about the '85 in the paper and got directions. When we got there I spotted it sitting there all innocent like in the driveway. It was primer gray and muddy, I far cry from the black and silver car. No one was home but it was unlocked and I didn't think that anyone would mind if I took a look.
The interior was in decent shape, about the same as the black '87. Then I popped the hood and that's what landed the car. The engine was a beautiful hemi orange, clean enough to eat off, and all the aluminum pieces had been polished. I knew right then that I had to have the car. I called back when someone was home and went to test drive it. She started right up with a smooth purr and I took it down to a road beside the airport and mashed into it. It felt quicker than the black '87 with only 3k miles on the clock. It turns out that the seller was a mechanic at the local Jeep dealer, so I knew that the rebuild had been done right. The car was mine that day for $1300 (Thanks John R!). The car was orignially the sante fe blue/silver color scheme and while not "rare" only 843 were made in '85. I haven't tracked done to the specific options but it was also a pretty stripped down version without A/C, sunroof, rear cargo cover, or rear louvers.
The car stayed pretty stock for a year and a half. With only the addition of a boost guage, A/F guage, and fuel pressure guage, as well as bumps in the stereo department. The only real modification was 3" dynomax cat and 3" side pipe, which was amazingly quite. Later someone left a note on the window saying that they had a pair of rear louvers for sale for $20. So I called, picked them up, and put them on. I was pretty happy with the install. Then on the way home one time the transmission kept popping out of fifth and I pulled off the interstate. It turns out that the fluid had leaked out through the axle seals. So I took it to get repaired and $200 later it was supposedly fixed. Well my dad drove the car up to me at school and what do you know? The transmission was still leaking out of the seals. Knowing from the SDML that the 525 transmission was the weak link in the powertrain I opted to do the 555 conversion. The 555 transmissions that came in the later T2 cars was an improved design with Getrag gears, a new hardened case and tougher differential. Rick D. hooked me up with a 555, new rebuilt driver's side 88 automatic omni axle (Thanks Rick), passenger side shafts, l-body length shifter cables, and a '89 short throw shifter.
I had been interested in hopping up the engine for sometime and had been collecting various parts to do the T2 conversion. The T2 first came in the '86 GLHS which was a '86 GLH-T that had been shipped to Carroll Shelby's plant and fitted with a new intercooled induction system. The new design incorporated a new style blow-through intake, intercooled boost, and 14 psi on the Stage II computer. The horsepower was up to 175 hp on the stock computer and to 200 hp on the Stage II computer. After two years of collecting stuff I finally made the plunge and converted my car to GLHS (Goes Like Hell Somemore) T2 specs with the only changes being a front mount stripped T2 intercooler, 804 injectors, 1G Talon blow-off valve, K&N cone, and the Stage II computer. My SC now gained 54 hp and 32 ft*lbs of torque.