1986-1987 Shelby GLH-S

The 1986-1987 Shelby GLH-S was the first of the limited-edition front-drive Dodges built by a reborn Shelby Automobiles Inc. in Whittier, California, but sold as a Shelby, not a Dodge (though through Dodge dealers).

Chrysler had formed the firm in early 1986 as a subsidiary "skunkworks" to devise low-volume, high-performance offshoots of production Dodges, thus deepening a then four-year-old collaboration between the redoubtable Carroll Shelby and Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, who had previously teamed on the late-1960s Shelby-Mustangs when Iacocca was Ford president.

The GLH-S was essentially a more specialized rendition of the 1983-1986 Omni GLH ("Goes Like Hell"), itself a hotshot derivative of Dodge's workaday five-door subcompact. Its main distinction was a more potent, 175-horsepower version of the normal GLH's optional 146-bhp turbocharged 2.2 "Trans-4" engine. Modified plenum chamber, added air-to-air intercooler, equal-length intake runners, and other Shelby tweaks accounted for the extra power.

Also standard on the Shelby GLH-S were a manual five-speed transaxle (no automatic available), heavy-duty suspension, wide tires on multi-hole alloy wheels, tachometer, console, and somewhat snazzier cabin trim. The GLH-S was gloriously unrefined and almost crude in engine and chassis behavior (one tester at the time said "the accelerator pedal acts like a lane-change switch"), but it was fast, noisy fun.

High performance plus low production and Shelby mystique suggest the 1986-1987 Shelby GLH-S as at least a minor collector's item in the not-too-distant future.

Pluses of the 1986-1987 Shelby GLH-S:

  • Decent economy
  • Fast (under 8 seconds 0-60 mph)
  • Fun to drive (wear earplugs, though)
  • Hatch-back practical
  • Used-car prices still apply

Minuses of the 1986-1987 Shelby GLH-S:

  • Marked torque-steer
  • Mediocre fit and finish
  • Rocky ride
  • Ultimate collectibility unclear at present
  • Unwanted turbo lag

Production of the 1986-1987 Shelby GLH-S:

Specifications of the 1986-1987 Shelby GLH-S:
Wheelbase, inches: 99.1
Length, inches: 163.2

Weight, pounds: 2,300
Price, new
: $10,995 (U.S.)

Engines for the 1986-1987 Shelby GLH-S:

ohc I-4*
135 cid

* Turbocharged

Want more information about classic cars? See: