Shelby Dakota Prototypes and Test Mules

Shelby Dakota Prototypes and Test Mules


Shelby Twin Turbo V-8


In the search for a suitable powerplant for Chrysler’s new supercar, later to be known as the Viper, a 1987 Dodge Dakota was outfitted with a twin turbo 360 engine.

The 360 V-8, which produced 190 hp, was the largest engine Chrysler had at the time. This truck was the test mule for the supercar. It was never intended to be a Dakota powerplant and was a totally different vehicle than the 1990 Shelby prototype.

The Shelby TT V-8 also had a Dana rear end, oversized rear tires and boost gauge in the dash. It is currently part of Carroll Shelby’s collection.Specifics

  • Red
  • Test mule for viper (the original viper used the Dakota front suspension)
  • Twin turbo
  • 1987 model
  • Intercooled
  • Two black grille Shelby Lancer hood vents
  • Wide fender flares and wheels
  • Wide tires
  • Hood decal in the center of the hood rather than off-set
  • Stripes are dark metallic silver/gray, not black

LoneStar Prototype


The white 1987 LoneStar Prototype Shelby Dakota used a base V6 model Dakota. It was used for styling ideas rather than mechanical modifications.


Shelby’s Developmental / Prototype V-8 Pickup


This developmental Shelby V-8 pickup had additional mechanical improvements and minor trim changes that were later modified for the 1989 production version of the Shelby Dakota. This was an exercise in styling for cosmetics rather than mechanics.Specifics 

  • White
  • 318-V8 model
  • 5-spoke aluminum wheels
  • Narrower light bar than the final production version
  • Believed to have had a 3-speed AT (production model received the newer 4-speed O/D transmission.


Shelby Dakota Prototype

The 1990 Shelby Dakota prototype was designed to overcome some of the production 1989 Shelby Dakota shortcomings. It was to have been powered by a non-turbo 360 V-8 engine, with larger wheels and tires, bucket seats and new exterior graphics.

However, because of the number of unsold ’89 Shelby Dakotas sitting at dealers, Shelby’s health issues and his decision to part ways with Chrysler the truck was never put into production.Specifics 

  • White
  • 360 V-8 engine
  • Conventional fan replaced electric
  • Bucket seats with Shelby cloth fabric
  • Console
  • Different graphics than in ’89 — diagonal stripes across hood and sides
  • Different wheels
  • Wider tires than ’89 model

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