Welcome to TL;DR Reviews! The goal here is provide quick info about a car so that you can learn during the commercial breaks of your favorite shows like Wheeler Dealers or the Kardashians. Hey, I’m not judging.

When black bumpers were all the rage. Photo from moibbk.com

What is it? This is the 1991 Dodge Shadow, which was built on the FWD Chrysler P-body platform, a K-car derivative. While the model was offered as a coupe with a 2.5L turbo, 5 speed manual, and plenty of interior amenities, this one was quite the opposite. It was a sedan that had many manual things, such as door locks and mirrors and windows, but the gearbox was not. It came with a TorqueFlite 3(!) speed auto getting 100 horsepower and 135 ft.lbs from a 2.2L naturally aspirated, wheezy old dog.

Remarkably unremarkable interior. Photo from curbsideclassic.com

Pros: reliable; has a rear hatchback/window thingy; apathy can be a wonderful feeling to have for a car

The rear seat folds down as well, just not flat. Photo from fourtitude.com

Cons: I’ve ridden lawnmowers that felt faster; the transmission slipped under any hard acceleration from zero; rusts like crazy; the words “disposable car” come to mind and, as a result, parts searches can be extremely frustrating

It was really hard to find someone proud enough to post a picture of the n/a 2.2L. Photo from theturthaboutcars.com

Recommendation: If your standards are very low, you can’t be disappointed. If you want extremely cheap, no-frills transportation, look no further than a Shadow or its twin, the Plymouth Sundance. But this car, with these options, is not at all the one I would recommend.

My actual car in 2005, shortly after a novice paint job. Can you spot all of the Wal-Mart +5 HP add-ons?

For a more desirable version of the Shadow, check out Part Two.


For more information, including service experience and my adventures with the Shadow, check out TL;DR Uncut.

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