Junkyard Find: 1985 Dodge Shelby Charger

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1985 dodge shelby charger

Most folks think of Cobras or Mustangs when they think of the late Carroll Shelby, but don’t forget the Shelby Chryslers of the 1980s! Shelby cranked out a run of turbocharged front-drive Dodges that delivered amazing-for-their-time bang-for-buck performance, and they’ve remained quite affordable. So affordable, in fact, that Shelby Dodges are not uncommon sights in self-service junkyards; just in the last couple of years, I’ve found this Daytona Shelby Z, this Omni GLH, and this Shelby Charger awaiting their appointments with The Crusher. Last week, I spotted another one in a Denver yard.

Yes, this car was based on a platform designed in France by Simca, and it’s true that the L-bodies were flimsy throwaway cars that tended to disintegrate in a hurry, but so what? 146 horsepower in a 2,350-pound car was ridiculous in 1985!

The Omni GLH and the Shelby Charger were more or less the same car beneath the skin, with the same 2.2 liter turbocharged engine under the hood.

This example is pretty much a thrashed-to-death basket case, though it doesn’t seem to be rusty. Will beat examples of Shelby Chargers ever be worth enough to be restorable?

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  • And003 And003 on May 29, 2012

    If I had the resources, I'd buy this car, give it a custom chassis and new paint job, and install a Pentastar V-6 from the current Dodge Challenger in the engine bay. :-)

    • And003 And003 on Jun 12, 2012

      Better yet, since I recently came across information about a 1988 Dodge Daytona that was turned into an RWD car with a 6.1 Hemi in place of the original engine, I could do something similar with this Shelby Charger.

  • KindaFondaHonda KindaFondaHonda on May 30, 2012

    I looked at the Omni GLH and Shelby Charger back in 1986 when ready to buy a new car. I loved the Omni GLH (black with silver stripes) and wanted one bad. But it was on the showroom floor for over 9 grand and that was a lot for a small car back then. I looked at a Shelby Charger (Garnet Red with the silver stripes... super sharp) and while I thought it looked awesome, as a two door, I couldn't see making my friends squeeze in the back. Plus the price was even higher (over $10K, maybe). Too rich for my college boy earnings as a waiter. My favorite part of those cars were the machined aluminum wheels on the later versions (just the holes around the rim). 15 inchers and w- i- d- e. Too bad the steering wheel and dashboards were so outdated, even then. Neat cars, though.

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