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Interesting Shelby Dakota Project


ahdoman
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Newbie here but not new to the automotive restoration / modification world. I'm glad to have found this forum! I've acquired a really interesting project. I purchased 2 Dakotas; the first is the Shelby (#379, white, 150,000 miles) and the second is a 1990 Convertible. Unfortunately, the Shelby has a California salvage title and the cab is is wiped all the way down the drivers side just below the door handle. The roof is bent front and rear as well as the front firewall where the door hinges are. The frame appears straight but I'll have it checked on the Celete bench. The convertible has 240,000 miles on it. The body and top are in excellent shape but the motor and trans are old and tired. The plan is to put the convertible cab onto the Shelby. But, I have a couple of questions;

 

1) Does anybody know where I can get more of the Shelby seat insert material from? I'm also thinking about going to bucket seats since the frame is broken on the bench seat and will need to be rebuilt. Will any of the seats from the other early 90's Dodge Shelby cars fit into the rails?

 

2) The light bar will not work with the convertible top so i will probably sell it. I hate eBay so if someone is interested in buying it email me at ahdoman@socal.rr.com. I'm also open to trades for other Shelby truck parts (i.e. wheel caps, stock performance parts, etc.)

 

3) How is the Shelby number plaque attached to the dash? I need to remove it to get the dash recovered (it's full of cracks).

 

4) The front of the Shelby is about 1" lower than the front of the convertible (which is bone stock). Did Shelby lower the front of the truck intentionally or does it sit lower due to engine weight? Does anybody know what the length of the stock spring is so i can check it to see if it's been cut?

 

5) I have the faux wood steering wheel. The "wood" effect is pretty well worn off and the leather is shot. Can anybody recondition those?

 

6) I've seen a few interior pictures of other Shelby trucks. All of the plastic (dash, door panels, kick panel) on this truck looks a lot darker than the pictures I've seen (I would call it maroon as apposed to red). The cloth on the seat and the carpet match closer to the pictures I've seen. Is it possible that all the plastic has gotten darker as opposed to faded over time?

 

Thanks for the replies. I will be posting pics as I start into this and I'm sure I'll have more inquiries.

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Ahdoman, I think we've talked before on your project. Let's see what I can add.

 

1) Does anybody know where I can get more of the Shelby seat insert material from? I'm also thinking about going to bucket seats since the frame is broken on the bench seat and will need to be rebuilt. Will any of the seats from the other early 90's Dodge Shelby cars fit into the rails? There is some NOS seat material out there. It seems to get re-sold every couple of years to a new owner. Also the back seat from a 1989 Shelby CSX gives the Dakota owner lots of Shelby material to "play"with. Bucket seats can be added to the Dakota. You will need to drill some additional mounting holes thru the floor but more importantly you will need to reinforce these "new" mounting holes from underneath the cab. Do not skimp on reinforcing the floor if installing bucket seats.

 

2) The light bar will not work with the convertible top so i will probably sell it. I hate eBay so if someone is interested in buying it email me at ahdoman@socal.rr.com. I'm also open to trades for other Shelby truck parts (i.e. wheel caps, stock performance parts, etc.) Someone here on Team Shelby is looking for a light bar. Hope they see this thread.

 

3) How is the Shelby number plaque attached to the dash? I need to remove it to get the dash recovered (it's full of cracks). It's held on with double stick tape. A warm day (or hair dryer) and a plastic spatula works perfect for removal.

 

4) The front of the Shelby is about 1" lower than the front of the convertible (which is bone stock). Did Shelby lower the front of the truck intentionally or does it sit lower due to engine weight? Does anybody know what the length of the stock spring is so i can check it to see if it's been cut? The Shelby Dakota uses stock V6 Dakota Sport springs. There's been a heavier V8 engine sitting on those springs for over 21 years so yes the front end will probably sit a tad lower than when it was new.

 

5) I have the faux wood steering wheel. The "wood" effect is pretty well worn off and the leather is shot. Can anybody recondition those? It's usually cheaper to purchase a used steering wheel but yes you can have the leather re-done by a professional s/w restorer for $300-500 bucks. Used wheels are easily have that price.

 

6) I've seen a few interior pictures of other Shelby trucks. All of the plastic (dash, door panels, kick panel) on this truck looks a lot darker than the pictures I've seen (I would call it maroon as apposed to red). The cloth on the seat and the carpet match closer to the pictures I've seen. Is it possible that all the plastic has gotten darker as opposed to faded over time? I've never seen the Bordeaux interior get darker with age. The bordeaux color was used only from 1988-90 and mainly on the Dakota Sport trucks which the Shelby and convertibles are built from.

 

Thanks for the replies. I will be posting pics as I start into this and I'm sure I'll have more inquiries.

 

 

Hope this helps.

Steve

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Thanks for the input Steve. This should be a really fun project. This is my first "American Iron" build. My past has been filled with Porsches and Volkswagens. I hope I am not upsetting anyone too much by dropping the convertible cab onto the Shelby but since it is already a salvage vehicle I figured the "pedigree" of the truck is already gone.

 

Since I am swapping cabs do you know if the wiring harness that comes from the cab on the convertible (6 cyl) is the same as the harness from the shelby cab? I'm hoping I can literly just swap the cabs without having to pull the looms.

Edited by ahdoman
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Hey Steve,

I was just wondering do the red Shelby Dakotas have red interior like the white ones? The reason i was asking mine is all burgandy or wine color even the carpet under the bench seat. I put a covercraft dash cover (embroderied with all of the info that the plaque has on it) on mine because of the cracks (maybe later i will get the plastic dash cover when jobs get better) and i had to chose wine color. What does NOS mean in your reply post? I keep thinking it means the other term.

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Hey Steve,

I was just wondering do the red Shelby Dakotas have red interior like the white ones? The reason i was asking mine is all burgandy or wine color even the carpet under the bench seat. I put a covercraft dash cover (embroderied with all of the info that the plaque has on it) on mine because of the cracks (maybe later i will get the plastic dash cover when jobs get better) and i had to chose wine color. What does NOS mean in your reply post? I keep thinking it means the other term.

 

 

The interiors of the red and white Dakotas are identical (Bordeaux) with the exception of a select few have either the wood grain or full leather steering wheel.

 

NOS = New Old Stock

 

Robert

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