Long before the 710 horsepower, Dodge Durango SRT HELLCAT was named the most powerful internal combustion engined (ICE) sport utility vehicle (SUV) on the planet, there was the Shelby Durango SP 360. Built in the late-1990s, aftermarket conversion company Performance West Group created a high-performance version of the first-generation Dodge Durango in partnership with automotive icon, Carroll Shelby.
Equipped with front and rear fascias, ram-air hood, as well as aftermarket side sills, tell you this isn’t your typical first-gen Durango. A set of 17-inch chrome aluminum wheels came standard with the package. Most of the Durango SP 360 vehicles produced during its run were painted to replicate the beautiful Shelby-inspired 1996 Dodge Viper GTS Coupe.
This gorgeous example, identified as No. 0037, was sold on the popular online automotive auction website “BringATrailer.com” this past week for $16,250.
When it originally hit the street, the SP 360 was powered by a supercharged version of the 5.9-liter (360 cubic inch) MAGNUM V8. In its stock form, the 360 MAGNUM came with a rating of 245 horsepower. Performance West Group fitted the SP 360 with a Keene Bell Blowzilla twin-screw supercharger. Running about 6 lbs. of boost, headers, ram-air intake system, Optimizer CPU, and a 2.5-inch Kenne Bell stainless steel cat-back exhaust, the SP 360 got an official rating of 360 horsepower and 414 lb.-ft. of torque.
Unfortunately, the Performance West Group was replaced by the former owner for another 360 MAGNUM engine fitted with a Procharger supercharger. Other enhancements included a Comp camshaft, Kent Cole-ported Mopar aluminum cylinder heads, a set of JE 8.5:1 forged pistons, a Mopar M1 intake manifold, an MSD ignition box, JBA headers, and Mopar finned valve covers. Dyno results show that the new engine combo put 414 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque to the wheels.
Even though it makes more power now than its original layout, there is no doubt it did affect the selling price.
As for the vehicle’s handling department, the Durango SP 360 was fitted with a re-engineered suspension from DJM with modified casters, camber, recalibrated springs, shocks, and steering. Its setup lowers the vehicle by 3-inches. There was an optional braking system that was also upgraded with 6-piston calipers and cross-drilled and ventilated rotors from Stillen, which this vehicle had.
Inside, the SP 360 featured front and rear Cerullo bucket seats upholstered in Grey leather and Black inserts and Carroll Shelby signatures embroidered on the backrests. Carbon fiber-effect appliques adore the cabin on items like the dashboard, front and rear center consoles, and the Durango’s door panels. Just like today’s Durango SRT HELLCAT, there is three-row seating. Luxury amenities included air-conditioning, cruise control, and AM/FM Cassette stereo. A fold-down TV screen and rear climate controls are mounted overhead and a VHS player is located in the cargo area (a plus, for those of us who still have VHS laying around from the 1990s).
The digital odometer stated only 38,000 miles have been accumulated since it was sold new by Ed Murdock Dodge of Lavonia, Georgia.
We hope whoever bought the Durango SP 360 really enjoys it. First-generation Dodge Durangos are quickly becoming collector items for many diehard Dodge truck collectors, due to their V8 powertrain, capable four-wheel drive (4×4) system, and true midsize capability.
1999 Dodge Durango SP 360 Image Gallery: