Rare Rides: This Dodge Charger From 1987 Is Also a Shelby (and Intercooled, Too)

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides this dodge charger from 1987 is also a shelby and intercooled too

In the long and varied history of the Dodge Charger name, the model has had many different forms — often completely unrelated to one another. For a short while in the 1980s, Chrysler Corporation added a little Shelby badge to the Charger name.

Let’s check out some glossy L-body goodness.

The Charger had been on a hiatus since the 1978 model year, when the folks in charge at Dodge determined it was time for a new sporty two-door in the lineup. While the previous version was a semi-luxury rear-drive coupe which shared a body with the very brougham Chrysler Cordoba, times had changed. America had moved from rear-drive malaise to front-drive malaise. And Chrysler was short on funds.

In came a new Horizon, sort of.

For the 1983 through 1987 model years, the Charger was based on the compact L-body platform used by the Plymouth Horizon and Dodge Omni. Accompanying the regular Charger on dealer lots was the Shelby version, a sportier alternative. When Dodge announced the Charger was dropped for 1988, the Shelby Corporation purchased the last 1,000 Shelby Charger examples and created a special model. The result is the Rare Ride you see here — the Shelby GLHS.

Not to be confused with the 1986 Shelby GLH-S (based on a modified Omni), the Charger GLHS was available only in 1987. Shelby used the same basic idea from the Omni in transforming the Charger.

Only available in black, all cars carried the same options: leather-wrapped wheel, air conditioning, sunroof, and a center console. There were KONI shocks and struts on every wheel.

The interior featured a numbered Shelby plaque and a sticker on the speedometer which extended the top indicated speed from 85 to 125 miles per hour. The needle could continue to navigate the dial and, on the second time around, 5 miles per hour would indicate 135.

The blade wheel design for the Charger GLHS was new, in that it was the exact same as on the Shelby GLH-S. But the blades faced the opposite direction.

Under the hood is the 2.2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that powered so many Chrysler vehicles of the era. This version is known as the Turbo I, providing the front wheels with 146 raging horsepower (though the Shelby variant bumped power to 175 hp). The Shelby Charger GLHS is the fastest and rarest version of the only front-drive generation of the Charger.

This one was on offer recently via Craigslist (listing expired) for $4,500. An affordable collectible — but is it worth collecting?

[Images via seller]

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  • DenverMike DenverMike on Oct 28, 2017

    Any time you beat a 5.0/5-speed LX with a FWD turbo, that was something to brag about. But there's not much difference between a 2.73 and 3.08 rear end. Both suck. Back then turbo-4 cars had lots of lag, so not much "power" off the line. But they were little monsters if you were willing to abuse the clutch. Meaning slip-it, sidestep it and power shift.

  • Cognoscenti Cognoscenti on Oct 30, 2017

    I had an '87 Shadow Turbo 5-Speed, in that Dodge maroon color. A Mopar Performance computer, K&N filter and minor exhaust mod (mostly only sound benefits) later, and it ran consistent 15.5 - 15.6 second 1/4 miles. I could beat stock-ish automatic LX 5.0 cars at the track, but even the 2.73-geared ones with 5 MT would usually pass me just before the trap. The big thing to do was pack the intake with ice between runs and avoid the bleach trap. Traction in 1st gear off the line was atrocious on street rubber (usually Eagle GTs). That little car was so much fun! Unfortunately, shortly after giving it to my sister she totaled it on a two-lane blacktop in a risky passing maneuver. At least she walked away. RIP little Shadow...

  • Stuart de Baker I didn't bother to read this article. I'll wait until a definitive headline comes out, and I'll be surprised if Tesla actually produces the Cybertruck. It certainly looks impractical for both snowy and hot sunny weather.
  • Stuart de Baker This is very interesting information. I was in no danger of buying a Tesla. I love my '08 Civic (stick), and it feels just as responsive as when I bought it 11 years ago with 35k on the clock (now 151k), and barring mishaps, I plan to keep it for the next 25 years or so, which would put me into my mid-90s, assuming I live that long. On your information, I will avoid renting Teslas.
  • RHD The only people who would buy this would be those convinced by a website that they are great, and order one sight-unseen. They would have to have be completely out of touch with every form of media for the last year. There might actually be a few of these people, but not very many. They would also have to be completely ignorant of the Hyundai Excel. (Vinfast seems to make the original Excel look like a Camry in comparison.)
  • RHD This was awesome, in 1978. Now, it's very much obsolete - thirsty, slow, ponderous, noisy, rough, and dated design even in its time. Still, someone who wants to recreate some distant memories will buy it and restore it and enjoy it, and the seller just has to find that particular individual.
  • BEPLA Cybertruck may have made some kind of weird sense had it been brought on market on time, ie: before Rivian and F150 Lightning.But the market has progressed.If this were any normal company it would be ditched for a more competitive product.But in Elon's narcissistic dreamworld - well, we'll just see how it flops.