Junkyard Find: 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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junkyard find 1987 dodge shelby charger

Who would have thought, in the late 1960s, that the future held front-wheel-drive Chargers, based on a French platform? Or that Carroll Shelby’s name would be on some of those cars? The Shelby Chryslers aren’t worth a whole bunch today, which means that non-perfect ones show up in cheap self-serve wrecking yards all the time; we’ve seen this ’87 Daytona Shelby Z, this ’86 Omni GLH, this ’85 Shelby Charger, and this ’84 Shelby Charger so far, and now I’ve spotted a very rough but still recognizable ’87 Shelby Charger in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The 146-horse 2.2 liter turbocharged engine is long gone, but the genuine Shelby bucket seats are still there.

Yes, it’s a genuine Shelby.

Air conditioning, maybe some Georgia Satellites on the cassette, some Iran-Contra on the news… yeah, a very 1980s car.

Dodge is creating a revolution in the streets!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Writer d'Elegance Brougham Landau.

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  • Steve S. Steve S. on Jan 20, 2015

    It was 1989 and I made the mistake of getting out of the Navy and returning to Pittsburgh when everyone else was leaving in a mass exodus to find work. The only thing I could find was a sales trainee position at McCrackin Ford in the North Hills. They would hire about 30 people to find one or two sales people who were good at it. Needless to say I wasn't there for very long. It was the end of a long fruitless day when a couple of kids came in and asked to test drive the black Shelby Charger on the used car lot. "My mom said she'll buy it for me if I like it." Sure kid, I thought. Joyriders. But I was bored and frustrated because I couldn't sell a hamburger to a starving man, so I said, alright let me grab the keys. I waited for a break in traffic then pulled out onto McKnight Road and floored it. Not much happened at first, and I thought, "This car is a do-" then the turbo kicked in and I was grabbing gears and slaloming through the evening commuter traffic at high speed. Turning right onto Evergreen Road, a narrow winding two-lane which was our test drive loop, I continued to take out my frustrations on the little car. Banging gears, running it up to redline, throwing it into the curves, squealing the tires; and then I heard a voice say,"uh dude, could you, like, slow down a little?" I had completely forgotten about the kids. "Don't worry, I have a competition license", I lied. I pulled over and let the kid drive back to the dealer which he did very slowly, then I gave him my card before he left. Next morning a woman asked for me by name and told me that she wanted to look at the car her son drove last night. Well I'll be damned, thought I, as I escorted her out onto the lot. I had trouble finding the car until I finally discovered it in the back, with a big F150 print on the side, left by the lot monkey after closing time. No sale.

  • TDIGuy TDIGuy on Jan 27, 2015

    Never thought about the tailgate, but previous poster is quite correct that it was big, heavy and managed to always stay open even on a cold day. Good thing, because there was a bit of a guillotine edge on it. I had the non-turbo version though. It had the 2.2HO engine, meaning it put out something like 110HP instead of the 97 in a K car (at least it wasn't the 1.7L version). "Charger 2.2", according to the big sticker on the hood. It handled well, but was hampered by a pretty bad 3-speed automatic, though (which could be shifted without having a key in the ignition). I shared it with my mom and it did get me back and forth to work every day. She kept it after I bought my own car (Dodge Shadow Turbo with a 5-speed, woo!), but that's another story.

  • Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
  • Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.
  • Marky S. I own the same C.C. XSE Hybrid AWD as in this article, but in Barcelona Red with the black roof. I love my car for its size, packaging, and the fact that it offers both AWD and Hybrid technology together. Visibility is impressive, as is its small turning circle. I consider the C.C. more of a "station wagon" by proportion, rather than an “SUV.” It is fun to drive, with zippy response and perky pick-up. It is a pleasant car to drive and ride in. It is not trying to be a “Butch Off-Roader”, or a cosseting “Luxury Cruiser.” Those are not its goals or purpose. The Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD is a wonderful All-Purpose Car (O.K. – “SUV” if you must hear me say it!) with a combination of all the features it has at a reasonable price.
  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.