By on July 11, 2014

Shelby Charger

An old car is a feast for the senses. The gentle curve of a fender or the sharply drawn body line pleases the eye while the clatter of valves and the whine of spinning belts combine to make mechanical music. The exhaust gasses, which smell just a tad too rich, blend with the odors of old motor oil, decaying rubber and that musty smell that wafts from the car’s interior to fill your olfactory, while the mixture of gasoline, oil and grease that makes your hands feel so slippery even finds its way onto your tongue when you bring the fingertip you burned on a hot manifold to your mouth. You see it, hear it, smell it, feel it and can even taste it, all five senses touched by one malodorous, malevolent little mechanical beast. Yes friends, if you hadn’t guessed by now, my ’83 Shelby Charger is here at last.

I had, I am ashamed to say, forgotten the physicality of old cars. As someone who lives with two fairly new, almost totally drama free vehicles, it’s easy to forget that all cars are anything but appliances. Like the washing machine I have running in the other room right now, my cars are competent, clean and perform flawlessly at the turn of the key. I could jump into either of them and drive from one coast to the other just as easily as I could drop another load of laundry into the tub of my washer and know with utter and absolute confidence that I will, in short order, have a load of clean clothes. The Shelby, on the other hand, more closely resembles the antique clock that graces my mantelpiece. It is a magical assembly of whirring gears that human ingenuity has brought together into one marvelous machine and, while it does the job, it requires almost daily adjustment to perform as intended.

shelby charger

Some of our readers may recall that, a few months ago, I posted a plaintive cry for help in choosing an older car. I set down a rather strict set of criteria: it needed to be older, not too nice lest I succumb to the desire to preserve it rather than use it, and it needed to have a manual transmission. I got a lot of great suggestions and a couple of tantalizing offers that I had to pass on but as luck would have it, one of our website’s erstwhile readers in Maryland, a gentleman named Terry, reached out and made an offer almost too good to refuse.

The photos showed a stunning little car and I was instantly smitten. In the flurry of emails that followed, Terry let slip that he was the car’s original owner but that, because like me he often works at jobsites outside of the United States, the car had spent a lot of time sitting. Eventually, it had ended up in a friend’s barn in West Virginia where time, the elements and a family of mice had worked their magic.

But Terry isn’t the kind of man who let’s things slide and although it might have been out of sight the little car was never out of mind. From the far side of the planet Terry plotted and waited and then, on a short trip home, he brought the car back over the Appalachians to Maryland where he dropped it at a local speed shop before heading back overseas. The list of things done was extensive and can’t hope to recount all of it here, I do know that the old transmission was swapped out for a stouter unit from a later model turbo Dodge, the top end of the engine was rebuilt and the car’s rust issues, which sounded extensive, were resolved by cutting out the cancer and welding in new steel. Finally, the car was repainted in its factory colors, set on a set of good looking OZ wheels shod with sticky, performance rubber and returned to its owner.

shelby charger 1

Terry enjoyed the car for a few years but, with an SRT8 Challenger, a 71 Charger and two jeeps in the garage, the little Shelby ended up under a cover in the driveway next to the daily driven Neon RT. While it didn’t exactly languish there it spent more time sitting than Terry liked and so, after reading of my undying love for 80s Dodges on these hallowed pages, Terry decided to shoot me an email. Naturally, I responded immediately and on my recent trip to DC I swung through Frederick. After a brief test drive through the rolling hills I decided that the car needed just a bit of sorting to be perfect for my purposes, but that it really was as Terry had represented a solid, original little car. At this point, because I am still working on a few of the things I think need to be addressed and because my impressions are still a bit muddled by the excitement of having so recently taken delivery, I won’t write a full review, but know now that you will soon hear so much about my adventures with this little car that you will grow to hate it.

Although I only got the car the day before yesterday, I can already tell you that it gets all kinds of attention. The cable guy and the garbage man both asked about it while it sat in the driveway before I got it registered. People asked about it at the inspection station and, once I got the plates on, it drew a small crowd when I took it to the gas station for its first fill-up. The guys in the auto parts store I stopped at all had to go out and see it and I even got asked about it from the passenger of a neighboring car while I paused at a stop light. Everyone, it seems, is excited to see my little Shelby Charger and they all have a question that they must ask or a story to share. It is a strange, visceral reaction that only the most special, elemental machine can inspire and if I cannot jump into it and drive to the far side of the country on a moment’s notice I’m OK with that. No one ever asks about my washing machine.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Leavenworth, KS with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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85 Comments on “Deliverance...”


  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    Congratulations Thom.
    Enjoy it!

  • avatar
    zamoti

    Is it too early to hate this car now?

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, its nice to see that your baby is finally home. Your comment about the “physicality” of older cars is spot-on. If you go farther back in time, say, to the 1960s, then things get real physical. A friend of mine, for a while, owned a concours quality ’62 Corvette roadster with the lovely black and white paint job. I believe he had the 327 motor with 3 duces carb setup. The ’62 was the last version with the solid rear axle, preferred by many because the early IRS cars had some nasty handling characteristics, common to all swing-axle cars. But Andy’s 62 was more than prodigious induction and exhaust noise, it was the smell of unburned hydrocarbons in the exhaust, the direct feedback of non-power assisted steering and non-power assisted brakes. So, driving this thing was a veritable symphony of sound, smell and feel.

    Of course, any number of modern cars could smoke it on a road course and probably at the drag strip . . . and the drum brakes would raise the pucker factor to extreme levels if someone tried to drive the car hard on the track. After one or two hard brakings, it would be time to say your prayers if you didn’t back off.

    But for people who aren’t actually racing cars, it’s the experience that satisfies and these old cars give “experience” by the bushel basket, in comparison to modern cars, which go fast really, really well and fairly safely.

    My own guess is that the sterile push of a powerful EV like the Tesla will get old pretty quickly as the novelty of silent acceleration wears off. What’s left, frankly, isn’t going to be much of an experience, and my prediction is that these cars will not wear well with enthusiasts because they offer relatively little. The powerful EV is the “appliance” car to the nth power.

    I bet you could set up a video game on a 72 inch display that would be more exciting.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      “I believe he had the 327 motor with 3 duces carb setup.”

      No such Vette engine existed in 1962. The 327, new in ’62, came in four barrel flavor (250,300 or 340 horsepower) or fuel injection (360 horsepower).

      The only triple carburetor Vette engines were the original Blue Flame 6 (1953-1955) or the L68 & L71 427’s (1967-1969).

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      On a front drive car of that weight and power, the drum rear brakes shouldn’t be a problem, provided the shoes are something better than OE replacement, the front brakes do 80 percent of the work and are much more critical. We raced showroom stock cars back then and really had no issues with the rear brakes. I did have a set of fronts deliver nothing more than a puff of dust when I had requested decelation a couple of times (thank goodness it was at the entry to the infield from the oval at Charlotte, as there was plenty of runoff space) but the rears were no issue.

      As a fairly recent convert to a PHEV, I can say that so far, having 100 percent of the electric motor’s torque instantly available is very compelling.

    • 0 avatar

      +1

      Love the comments about the Tesla.

      Thomas, you mean plaintive, not plaintiff (you wrote “plaintiff” twice, but there was nothing about a court battle).

      HOpe you enjoy the hell out of this car.

    • 0 avatar
      SatelliteView

      You are DELUSIONAL. For some stupid reason, people think that “today” is “the day” and everything afterwards will be measured from “today”.

      I can give you a SOLID 100% that in 50 years that Tesla will be as prosaic as that old Corvette of buddy of yours. Your “world” is only in your head. The Earth is 4,5 billion years old, the humanity is about 200,000. That “sense” of cars from 1960s is magnitudes smaller than “the whole”.

      Who the hell remembers cars from 1910’s and 20’s? Maybe that Corvette of buddy of yours is as what Tesla is to it? Get it?

  • avatar
    jhefner

    I loved these when they were new; there was one that looked just about as nice, but with the silver/blue paint scheme reversed (silver w/blue stripes) sitting outside a garage in my town. The garage is closed now, and I have not seen it since. It was the first one I have seen in many years.

  • avatar

    Very sweet little ride. But I know what you mean -everyone- asks about it. Same thing with my BRAT. It comes out and I know, fueling is going to take a minimum of half a hour. Auto Parts Store, two hours. I have gotten to the point that when I drive the 76 DL, the BRAT or the lifted wagon that I have to wipe anything I want to accomplish right off the books just because people constantly stop me and want to check them out.

    It got to the point that I have had to park the lifted wagon inside a friends garage because of people stopping to take pictures of it out in front of my house.

    Still I would not change it for anything, and thank gods the 94 legacy still flies under radar otherwise I would get nothing done.

    But a really sweet little dodge, take care of it and drive it lots.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Awesome! Congrats on the Shelby. These are under appreciated cars with a lt of curb appeal.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    It’s running on proper 50-series rubber! All too often I would see these performance L-bodies shod with too-tall 60 or 65 series treads, usually by the 2nd or 3rd owners who sometimes had no idea of the proper size tires (195/50-15) or were cheapskates and just didn’t care.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Anything sub-17 isn’t going to have much available in performance tires these days. 15 and 16s in a few select sizes, and Miatas are the only reason there is anything at all in a 14.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I was thinking of upgrading my T-bird to 17 inch wheels and 245 width rubber someday, but it’s going to be a pain trying to find wheels that fit that bolt pattern. The MN-12 T-Bird bolt pattern is the same as the Taurus for some reason, and I have a funny feeling that nobody makes 17 inch wheels wide enough for 245 tires that are designed for a Taurus.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          Probably easier to convert the hubs to some other pattern.

          Edit: this guy will redrill them for $75 a pair:
          http://irsmachining.com/

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          The bolt pattern on those (MN-12) is 5/108 , which is the same as most modern (Euro) Fords and most 5-bolt Volvos, so I guess there will be some aftermarket support, or a lot of used OEM wheels to choose from.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            No modern Fords that are heavy enough to have strong enough wheels like the 500/Taurus and Volvos based on the same platform use the same bolt pattern they used for years 5 x 114.3

          • 0 avatar
            Zykotec

            I dont think many modern Fords are as light and slow as an MN-12 Thunderbird. All Volvo 5 bolt cars (since the 140-series) are still 5X108 according to Google (I had to check)

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I guess I was wrong about the Volvo, pretty surprising that Ford used two different bolt patterns on what is the same car. It is also weird that Ford drug out the 5 x 108 pattern for the Cmax when they use the 5 x 114.3 on the Fusion.

            I’m not sure what how fast a MN12 is has to do with making sure that the wheels (and tires) have a weight rating equaling or exceeding the OE wheel (and tire). However the MN-12 is as slow as it is because it is a very heavy car for the size it is. Not only do you have to worry about the weight of the empty car but how much it will weigh with a full load of passengers and/or cargo.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          TireRack has a good selection of 17s that will fit your car.

          Do you want my C-Max wheels? They are 17s and 5×108, but only 225 width. Put some hybrid badging on that T-Bird too. Hybird.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Thanks for the help people.

            If my math checks out, I would need 17×9 wheels to fit 245 width tires. But I could always be wrong, I just did a quickie conversion with Google.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            17×7 will work, 17×8 would be better. 17×9 is on the wide size for a 245

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            17×8 it is. It just has to fit without wrecking the tire or letting air leak out.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            No worries my man. Any tire shop who has an oz of knowledge won’t install a tires that isn’t supposed to go on a particular sized rim. They open themselves up for a rather large lawsuit.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            NoGoYo
            Tire rack currently lists 119 different wheels that will fit your car. I don’t think you’ll have a hard time at all.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Wheels designed for a Cmax are probably too light duty for a T-bird.

            What width wheel you need depends on the profile of your tire. The recommended width range for a 245-50 is 6.5″ to 8.5″ which is still a little short. A 245-45 needs a 7″-9″ rim and would prefer to be on a 8″ but those are too short.

            235-55-17 or 255-50-17 are the ones that are closest to the height of the factory 225-60-16. I don’t know if you can get the 255-50 up front but you probably can put them out back.

            Another source for wheels is the Lincoln LS.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Oh I know. The C-Max is suprisingly close to the weight of a T-bird though. If I were him I’d look at LS/2000s T-Bird/S-Type wheels.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            S-type wheels would look sweet on a Ford.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @Poncho do you not have vehicles that have been “stanced” in your area? There are quite a few around here so there have to be tire shops that are willing to mount a tire on way too narrow of a wheel. It is not that uncommon to see a car wearing 225 or 235s on a 10″ wide wheel, with of course huge amounts of camber so that the rim of the wheel is flush, actually hella flush, with the body of the car yet the tire will go inside the wheel well.

            Years ago I was helping my friend with the brakes on his newly acquired Suburban when I noticed that the aftermarket wheels were rated at only 1250lbs. He went to the local chain that highly likely installed those wheels in the first place and they didn’t have a clue that they had been selling wheels that were underrated for such a vehicle. He ended up finding some of the stock aluminum wheels at a used tire and wheel store as the truck was purchased for his wife to tow her horse trailer.

  • avatar
    Syke

    There are few things more wonderful than ownership of a car or motorcycle that comes from either your pre-driver’s license childhood, or (preferably) is actually older than you. You gain an immediate appreciation of all those things that are dealt with thru varying degrees of difficulty . . . . and are a constant reminder that these same difficulties are things that the first owner considered normal. And were not difficulties at all, back then. All cars were like that.

    The further you go back, the closer you get to driving in a truly elemental sense. The more you have to know about the proper sequence to get the vehicle to start, to move out smoothly, and to function correctly during the trip. The amount of general, not-worth-mentioning maintenance needed to keep it running well.

    And you discover the little things that you’d have never thought of: Like, back when there were no automatic transmissions, manual gearboxes all seemed to come with incredibly progressive and forgiving clutches perfect for teaching an adolescent how to drive a stick. Or when AM radio was the only band available, radios actually had the ability to handle tone in a way that music could be pleasant to listen to, and had an ability to receive the signal that guaranteed the local station didn’t die in a mass a static thirty miles from home.

    The again, the original owner got to listen to Tommy Dorsey. The current owner is stuck with Rush Limbaugh.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      I’m amazed at how docile and forgiving the clutches are in the regular cars that I occasionally rent in Germany. I used to think that you needed a Mustang GT to teach a beginner how to drive stick, but it turns out that all you need is an easy clutch.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    Those rear window louvers need to come back into style pronto.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    That was my favorite color for Chrysler cars back in the day. We had the standad 2.2 liter version of the car. It had a lot of pep compared to other economy cars of the day. I liked that you could like down in the back during road-trips. My mother’s Plymouth TC3 version of the car did not have a tach even though it had a manual transmission. You had to guess.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    If you really want to go back in time , drive a model T Ford. Mine had not run for 3 yrs. and it took a lot of tinkering to get it going last week.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    A 1985 Shelby Challenger is for sale Ebay.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Love that first paragraph. Describes my 1967 Mustang very well and the reason many of us keep these old beasts around.

  • avatar
    bkmurph

    “…after reading of my undying love for 80s Dodges on these hallowed pages and hearing my plaintiff cry for one of my own, Terry decided to shoot me an email.”

    *plaintive

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Ouch, you’ve gone and done it again haven’t you. This one looks waaay to nice to drive XD .
    Ok I admit, these are rarer than ‘hens bitemarks on unicorn poo’ here In Norway, and I’m a sucker for ’70-80’s cars with all their charm and shortcomings, but it does look surprisingly nice compared to most Mopars from the 80’s, meaning the previous owner must have used/wasted and awful amount of money/time on it. Would be sad if someonewere to sideswipe it in an intersection while updating their facebook/twitter/whatever (#lookmanohands)
    Jokes aside, I hope you find time and courage to actually enjoy it , and it will look awesome with period correct wheels.

    • 0 avatar

      I have the original wheels in the garage, they just need to be refinished. To be honest, I thought I wasn’t really going to like these wheels when I saw them in the photos, but in person they look great – not period correct, but they fit the car really well.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    “plaintiff cry for help”

    Plaintive? Did the autocorrect get you?

  • avatar
    thirty-three

    I’m not interested in your washing machine either. However, is your fridge running?

    You better go catch it! (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  • avatar
    racerxlilbro

    Unless you have a kick-ass defense attorney, it’s unlikely you made your plaintiff cry.

    I love the way my ’65 Mustang smells. Vintage Porsches have unique smells, too. Weird.

  • avatar
    Recluse

    My uncle had one of these (black + silver) when I was a kid (and alas, WAY too young to drive). I loved it anyway, and used to volunteer to help him wash and wax it.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Reg; “An old car is a feast for the senses. ”

    That says it all, Thomas.

    Enjoy.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Great choice.

    I owned this car’s cousin, an 85 LeBaron GTS (non-turbo 5 speed) for many years. It was a good car, but the Shelby treatment would make yours a fun car.

    Many happy miles to you!

  • avatar
    -Nate

    GREAT News Thom ! .

    I hope to read how much you’re enjoying it soon .

    I too love those old car smells , British cars have a different one from German or American and I own some of each….

    BTW : you cannot use ” DELIVERANCE ” in a headline without some older folks *immediately* thinking’ squeal like a pig ! ” =8-) .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    cwatwell

    I owned an ’82 Charger 2.2 (white with black stripes) and loved that car, rubbery 5MT and all. And it was practical for this post-college-age kid back then, with that hatch opening up a whole range of hauling possibilities. I bought it new with Chrysler’s special 11.9% financing (oy!), but since it was only $9K out the door it didn’t kill me. What did almost kill me were the speeding tickets I got the first three months I owned it. What ultimately killed the car was the idler sensor on the carb that went bad after 120K miles and stuck the throttle wide open. Repairs were attempted but were never successful. I don’t remember if the Shelby turbos had fuel injection, but for your sake I hope yours does. Otherwise you will live the glory of flames shooting out of the exhaust and a charred circle in your hood as a reminder.

    Good luck! Keep us updated!

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The Shelby turbos were fuel injected, but this isn’t a turbo charged car. Thomas’ car has a Holley 2 barrel carburetor.

      • 0 avatar
        cwatwell

        Thanks for the clarification CJ.

        Then Thomas needs to be vigilant if the idle on his car starts getting erratic. Rebuilt 2 barrel Holleys with a fixed idle sensor are hard to find. Since the car is old, he may be able to disable the sensor, depending on the emission controls testing in KS (not an option for me; MD tests emissions every two years, and they hate tinkering). The sensor was put on the carb to hold the idle at a higher level (say, 1500rpm) for several seconds after the gas pedal is released. A malfunctioning sensor will do its job far too well.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          That idle sensor sounds like it was meant to prevent misfire (and exhaust backfire) after any time the driver might suddenly lift off the throttle at high rpm. Well, that was probably the alleged reason.

          If I remember right, some Carter carbs had a dashpot to accomplish basically the same thing (except the dashpot was a simple mechanical thing to allow the throttle to close slowwwwly instead of snapping shut). And the word “dashpot” was either Carter’s or Chrysler’s choice of words (it’s a generic term for any mechanical damper or shock absorber).

    • 0 avatar

      “Rubber 5MT.” I’ve noticed that – my Shadow wasn’t like this at all but I have since learned that those cars were shifted by cabled while the Chargers use rods. I’m not sure just how well it can be adjusted, checking into it is on my to do list, but I like that using it requires a certain amount of finesse.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Probably needs new bushings in the rods, if they’re the originals. Urethane would tighten things up, at a cost of noticeable NVH.

        • 0 avatar

          It has the upgraded steel rod ends now. I think its a situation that is just endemic to this particular car. I was out with it a while ago and other than a couple of rugged second to first downshifts, it did OK. I just need a little more practice with it, I think.

      • 0 avatar
        Felis Concolor

        If it’s the 525 transmission, check for the lock pin in the selector shaft housing. Reversing it into the case locks the transmission into neutral, I believe, and you can then adjust the shifter throws for optimum performance.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    Man I love 80s Turbo Dodges. Daytona Z or 600 convertible would be my preference.

    You should definitely get your hands on a stock set of wheels though, those aftermarket ones don’t work at all.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “while the mixture of gasoline, oil and grease that makes your hands feel so slippery even finds its way onto your tongue when you bring the fingertip you burned on a hot manifold to your mouth”

    Best journalism of the day.

    I’ve had this experience many times, but nobody has ever put it into words. Thanks for being so real.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    Nice! That pushes all the 80’s nostalgia buttons. Wish I wasn’t such a 5.0 nut. One of these or a GLHS would do nicely.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Enjoy that Dodge! I have to say how nice it looks, and I recall my 2.2 litre days with good memories. It’s fun getting looked at in a cool old car; sometimes not so fun in a new one. Some cars just polarize people I guess…Enjoy that mechanical feeling – no electronics to sully the experience.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Sooooo jealous of you right now! I love those things, although the later turbocharged Charger would be first on my list.

    Congrats, and enjoy the heck out of it!

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Thomas, didn’t you say a while back that you were going overseas again soon? Guess you’d better enjoy it quickly before it has to go into storage – and you arrange better conditions than the last owner did.

    • 0 avatar

      I have a year here, then possibly another for training at our school in Northern Virginia prior to my next assignment. I’m not sure I would store this car, I did that with my 84 Cutlass and don’t think it worked out well. The Shelby wasn’t very expensive and although it is in really good shape, the plan is to tinker with it, drive it, enjoy it and then sell it when the time comes to move on. Of course, plans have a way of changing sometimes, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Beautiful car TK. Congrats. I agree, the people that will stop and share stories about the car are great. It really is the best part of classic car ownership that you just don’t see coming until you are out there driving it. People get misty eyed, excited, even a bit over the top. One time at a light, this guy coming the other way stopped right in traffic to yell, not tell me, that “Best f**king car I ever had!! Nice car!” and took off as quickly as he had come. Another guy reminisced about his dad who had been in WWII and loved big Chryslers. Stuff like that gives these cars life. Lots of it. Enjoy.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    I’m old enough to remember when those cars were new. I never would have guessed that their appearance would stand the test of time like that. I also think Mr. Kreutzer’s approach is dead-on.

    1. The car is interesting, but not necessarily a classic.

    2. The purchase price is reasonable.

    3. The car is maintainable.

    4. The car will depreciate very little or none. This is very important.

    5. The car is usable in his family situation–he can put his kids in the back once in a while and get ice cream.

  • avatar

    Thanks for the great article Thomas. I used to own an 84 (non-turbo) silver on garnet red Shelby. It was a great car and wish I could buy a new one. I drove mine to 406,000 miles (wanted to get to a half mil) before I decided it was unsafe due to rust. No money to fix it up unfortunately. Sold it to a gentleman in Illinois for around $200. After sitting for 3 or 4 months it started on the first try and he drove it home.

    Bought it used in 85. The original owner had only changed oil in it twice in 16,000 miles. Needless to say I was getting blow by. Got that fixed under warranty. Only used about a quart every 2000 when I sold it. The clutch was starting to slip a bit under hard acceleration (never touched it for maintenance). I was still getting around 35 mpg out on the road at that point also.

    Came across another one – an 85 – last year on ebay motors down in GA. Same color as mine with a turbo. If my circumstances were different I would have picked it up. I do hope you enjoy yours for many years to come. Thanks again for sharing about it.

  • avatar

    Nice car ! I had its near relative, the GLH Turbo. The Shelbys did one better by having an intercooler, so you didn’t get the “bye bye boost” situation the GLH would pull after a few hard runs….

    These cars were built “chrysler cheap” so I’m very happy this one survived and ended up with a non teen owner.

  • avatar
    jbeale53

    Whenever I see one of these Dodges, I always remember an 80s, maybe early 90s issue of Hot Rod magazine (maybe it was a different magazine, but I swear it was Hot Rod) where someone had a Dodge similar to this one, and it had big dragster tires on the back, a roll cage, skinny front wheels, the whole shabang – an unlikely conversion of this front drive Dodge turned into a dragster. However, when you opened the hood, there was a completely stock 2.2 liter 4 banger, still driving the front wheels. The article was titled “The Great Pretender”.

    Does anybody else remember this?

  • avatar

    I ran a 16.1 at 85 mph on a real strip with my GLH. The intro from the tower was “this is the fastest car Dodge currently makes”.

    The 0-60 was 7.5 sec…very fast for the time. Car topped out at 120 or so, based on the 85 mph speedo’s second trip around. (the GLH versions had no “peg” at 85.

    • 0 avatar

      My brother had a GLH also. After driving his and getting a good idea where the speedo was after the “85” mark I drove my ’84 Shelby up to around 110 or so – no peg in the standard Shelby Charger either. Don’t remember where the tach was at the time – too busy watching the road. Did it in a very dangerous way though – dusk on open road where the possibility of deer moving across the road was high. After the car hit around 95 or so everything smoothed out. What a ride!

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      I had a 1987 Shadow Turbo 5-speed (Maroon color, just like Thomas’s ’88 – see Turbo Love At First Sight, thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/turbo-love-at-first-sight/). Simply warming it over with a Mopar Performance computer, K&N filter and new exhaust netted mid-high 15’s at Milan Dragway in Michigan. I would pack the intake with ice between runs and avoid the bleach pits (because FWD made for serious 1st gear traction issues).

  • avatar
    threeer

    Something about the size and shape of that car always seemed “right” to me. My best friend had a turbo Charger and I owned a 1985 Dodge Lancer turbo at the same time (oh, those fabulous Tennessee Dodge boys!). His was the maroon/silver trim. While the interior of his was rather, um, cheap…it didn’t matter much when you nailed the throttle! My Lancer was quite a bit cushier, but I loved it (well, except for the industrial-grade tractor strength transmission and clutch!). Enjoy the little nipper! Sure, the guy next to you in the Elantra will more than likely leave you behind at a stoplight, but frankly, who cares! Your car will be the stuff of stories told and memories relived!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Drive your washing machine to the gas station and fill it up – I guarantee someone will ask what you’re doing.


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