The supercharged Shelby Durango high performance SUV – a good idea that was poorly executed or was it a great idea too early for its time? Perhaps, it was both. First, lets decode the name of this peculiar vehicle. It turns out that Carroll Shelby was not the original mastermind behind this truck.
It was a brain child of the Performance West Group (PWG), who intended to call it the “Super Pursuit” or SP. When PWG was not able to drum up sufficient support for the project, they went to Shelby to license his name and Carroll agreed. Finally, the number 360 stands for the horsepower output of the supercharged 5.9 liter Magnum V8. Hence, the Dodge Durango Shelby SP360 was born.
The idea for the SP360 was as simple as the one for Carroll’s original Cobra. Bolt on extra power and other performance parts and the make for a more aggressive presence. The additional power came thanks to Kenne-Bell screw type supercharger, engine management module, and intake/exhaust systems. The remaining drivetrain components were stock Dodge pieces. Other performance bits included Stillen six piston front calipers that grabbed onto drilled and ventilated rotors. The whole truck is lowered about three inches as it rides on Edelbrock IAS shocks.
The exterior and interior also received an extensive reworking. First, you could have this Shelby in any color as long as it was Viper blue with white stripes. Not a bad color choice. The truck also received a very aggressive hood with non-functional air scoops as well as racy front spoiler and side skirts that made this Durango look even lower. The low rear valance housed the openings for large dual exhausts. A set of SEC 18×8 inch wheels and Goodyear Eagle tires complete the aggressive exterior package.
The interior was completely redone. The most obvious change were the four Cerullo racing style bucket seats with custom center consoles front and rear. There was a LCD video screen that dropped down from the ceiling, a high powered custom audio system, and a plethora of carbon fiber trim pieces. Of course, this also meant that Durango’s eight person capacity was cut exactly in half. However, the four lucky people in this ride could ride with plenty of room and comfort.
Overall, the Shelby SP360 is a true tuner vehicle composed of select aftermarket parts that work well together to improve the dynamics and the look and feel of the truck. When it appeared in 1999, it was at least a couple years ahead of its time. Back then there were no such things as: BMW X5, Mercedes ML AMG, or Porsche Cayenne. There were also no competing performance vehicles from Ford or GM. The only SUV that was remotely approaching the Durango Shelby idea was the Toyota 4Runner with a TRD supercharger. The uniqueness of this pumped up Durango must raise its desirability.
PWG originally meant for this for the SP360 to be a limited production run of 3,000 examples. However, many disputes and construction issues caused the run to be cut to as few as 300 vehicles. The rumor is that many of them were shipped overseas to the Middle East. So, this is indeed a very rare vehicle and finding one for sale now will be extremely challenging. Finding one with all original parts and in good condition will be even harder.
The Shelby SP360 was offered through the Dodge dealer network and a fully optioned example would have set you back a rather sobering $55,000. The pretenders could opt to skip the supercharger and the 4WD system to bring the price down to a less shocking $44,000. The supercharger was a dealer installed option, and there are trucks out there missing forced induction.
So, don’t forget to look under the hood for the Kenne-Bell unit. It is possible to find one or two of these for sale, but the vehicle condition varies greatly. Well documented and maintained examples are asking between $16,000 and $20,000. This is when the regular 1999 Durango SLT has an average asking price of around $5,000. There is little doubt that well preserved examples of this vehicle will maintain or gain value.
In memory of Carroll Shelby.
Andre Smirnov is a Software Engineer by trade and a life-long automotive enthusiast. On the weekends – you may find him at a car show, an auction, watching a race, or tinkering in the garage. When not working or spending time with the family – he often scours the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.