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1987 Shelby lancer restoration


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Hello all,

 

I have a 1987 Shelby lancer with serial number 319. It is equipped with leather and automatic. I found my car in Tulsa Oklahoma and transported it back to Michigan to begin restoration. The car has 140,000 miles on it and the engine, interior, and body are in rough shape. However, the car has zero rust. The previous owner never cared much that it was a Whittier built Shelby numbered vehicle. He was just using it to go back and forth to work. The only reason he sold it is because he was financially struggling and the engine was in need of a new headgasket which he could not afford.

 

The only thing missing when I picked it up was the CS medallion on the rear, CS centercaps(typical), Pioneer DEX-77 Stereo (Typical) and the CS horn button (also typical). I was excited that all the other Shelby items were still on the car.

 

For three years I have been collecting parts for the Shelby Lancer and planning my restoration. I was about to begin the work when my job transferred me to to Sweden. Now I live in Sweden and my Shelby is at my mechanics shop in Shelby Michigan for restoration.

 

My assignment in Sweden has not stopped my resolve to restore the Shelby. As of this week, I now have all the parts I need (Mostly NOS), and the car has been stripped to a shell so that repair work can be made to the neglected body.

 

The engine is being rebuilt along with the transmission as both of them are now out of the vehicle. The interior will also be completely restored to like new condition. The suspension is being returned to Shelby specification using the original Monroe formula GP shocks and struts. The wheels have been professionally restored and I have a set of tires from goodyear that were custom made to replicate the look of the original goodyear gatorback tires.

 

My plans for the Lancer are to make it a summer driven show piece that can be proud to once again display the CS emblems. I will have before pictures posted soon and hope to have pictures of the car upon its' return from the body shop.

 

I am very excited with this project and I look forward to many happy years with the Shelby.

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I did not know you could get reproduction Gatorbacks. Would like more info on where to get those tires.

 

robin

 

 

Hello Robin,

 

I apologize if I mislead you about the Gatorbacks. You cannot get a true Gatorback tire from Goodyear. You can get a tire that has the same tread and similar sidewall design. It is missing one added curb protection rib from the sidewall but is otherwise the same. It does use the same compound as the original Gatorbacks. The sidewall however does not say Gatorback. It has a different "model" name on it. Goodyear explained to me that when they removed the curb protection rib, this constitutes a different model designation in their system. It is the best that I could do and sadly we may never be able to get a true replica of a Gatorback tire. I should have explained the tire situation a little better. I apologize.

 

Anyhow, Goodyear can only run this tire on one machine using old tooling that they had. The machine had not been run at Goodyear since 1994 but they will run a small batch upon request as i had them do. I won't see the car until the end of June, but when I do see it I can get the tire model information off of it for you. I was told by a person at Goodyear that this machine was due to be put out to pasture soon so it may be even harder to get a tire that even remotely looks like a Gatorback.

 

My bigger challenge is finding the vintage pioneer speakers for the car. I have a set of NOS rear deck speakers, but it is impossible to find the correct pioneer speakers for the front door and front IP. I want to have the original sound from the stereo as to me it is special being the first production car in North America, perhaps even the world, with a CD stereo system as OEM. It is just hard to find original pioneer car speakers from 1987. I will use surrogate pioneer speakers until I can find the correct ones.

 

The before pictures will be posted soon. I just have to get them uploaded to a photo service.

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The original tires never said Gatrback either. "Gatorback" was just a popular name for the tires. I think the only designation on the sidewall was VR50.

 

The 87 Shelby Lancer was the first car in the world to have a CD player as standard equipment. Good luck in finding speakers. Maybe you could get a used set from a car that was being parted. You could then have them reconed.

 

robin

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The original tires never said Gatrback either. "Gatorback" was just a popular name for the tires. I think the only designation on the sidewall was VR50.

 

The 87 Shelby Lancer was the first car in the world to have a CD player as standard equipment. Good luck in finding speakers. Maybe you could get a used set from a car that was being parted. You could then have them reconed.

 

robin

 

 

I was debating if the original tires ever said Gatorback on them. I couldn't remember that far back. At least I feel better now knowing that the replacements won't say Gatorback on them.

 

Anyhow, Here are the before pictures, it is in such rough shape. Overall the paint is heavily faded and missing clearcoat in a couple of spots. Although it isn't too bad. The one thing I can say is that it has no rust and that is worth the world to me. A life time of working on Michigan cars has made me hate rust.

 

LANCERSIDEPROFILE.jpg

 

This photo made me miss my old blue Scorpio. I really need to get that one to the body shop too. Anyhow, the front bumper is missing a piece and the fog light is missing. The subframe underneath is not touched. Not too sure how the previous owner managed that. The shelby decal on the windshield is all but faded into a memory. The windshield is cracked and needs to be replaced so a new decal should be no problem to install.

LANCERFRONTVIEW.jpg

 

This photo made me miss my old Black XR4Ti. May it RIP. Somehow the rear bumper is warped, the body molding is heavy oxidized, the previous owner replaced a broken tail light with a Lebaron GTS tail light, and for some reason it is missing the rear quarter window trim.

LANCERREAR34.jpg

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Good looking start to the project. Appears you are only missing the Shelby wheel caps, all the other Shelby specific parts appear intact.

 

20 years later and these cars still have more appeal to me than the current lineup. Keep us posted with restoration pictures.

 

robin

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20 years later and these cars still have more appeal to me than the current lineup. Keep us posted with restoration pictures.

 

robin

 

 

That is my thought as well. I think the new line up is great. They are viciously powerful and they make incredible track cars. I love them, but when you have a family, the mustang becomes more of a luxury to have.

 

The Lancer on the other hand has great power, excellent comfort, room for five, and hatchback practicality. It is the Shelby that is as happy to go to the soccer tournament with kids and gear as it is going to the road track. I often wonder if Shelby will make another performance family sedan like the Lancer.

 

I will keep this thread updated with the latest pictures as they come in.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi

Here's my lancer at the SAAC does Vegas. I really enjoy driving my SL. Im from Albuquerque and drive it to Vegas all the time (about 650 miles one way). The car has 120,000 miles on it. Check out the SAAC does Vegas photos in the main area for more Shelby Dodges.

 

 

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Hi

Yes it still has the radio w/cd and eq. (all works) but I did have to change the speakers. Now it is a 18 way speaker system (1way dash, 4way doors, 4way backs, all sony speakers) :o From Shelby I counted a 10 way (2way dash, 1way doors, 2way backs) I did save the old ones. I thought the strut covers look good so I picked them up at the junkyard, The car did not come with them.

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18 Speakers! Wow. It must sound great.

 

I love the window tint as well. I am also debating doing this as it works so well with the looks of the car.

 

Do you get the car out to many events?

 

The ultimate goal with my car is to show it at as many car shows as I can possibly attend to increase the awareness of the Whittier built Shelby Dodge vehicles. Sadly it will be at least two years before I will be able to show this in the USA since I live in Sweden at the moment.

 

It will be shown in Sweden next year. I think it will be very well received by the people here. I will also take it into Germany for some autobahn miles as I visit my companies German office regularly. It is risky though since it will be difficult to find a place to fix it if it ever breaks in Europe. What is adventure without risk though B) ?

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18 Speakers! Wow. It must sound great.

 

I love the window tint as well. I am also debating doing this as it works so well with the looks of the car.

 

Do you get the car out to many events?

 

 

I enjoy showing the car around Albuquerque NM, but really like to go to shows in Las Vegas I'm waiting for "Shelby does Vegas" thats a fun one plus the Shelby Dodge Auto Club (SDAC) sometimes meets in Vegas. The local stuff here is pretty boring for Shelby Dodge stuff. Sometimes I'll take the 86 GLHS for a road trip to Vegas its pushing 170,000 miles but runs great and looks good from 10 feet. LOL

As for the tint all my cars are tinted its just to hot here not too. Plus it does add to the looks. Did you check out my Lancer in the ShelbyAutos.com Gallery under Shelby does Vegas X? it has a nice shot of the dash, I added a gauge pod to the A piller (boost, air-fuel gauge) it was the only Lancer there it has the 666 NM plate

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  • 5 months later...

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