$2,800 Hellion! 1986 Dodge Omni GLH Turbo

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This pocket rocket is a 1986 Dodge Omni GLH Turbo and it’s in Heron, Montana. This little hellion can be found on craigslist with an asking price of $2,800!

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These little sleepers surprised more than a few muscle cars back in the mid-1980s, they really lived up to their name (Goes like Hell!). This car is rust free but I sure wish that it was original, both in paint and mechanicals. It’s obviously been given some sort of pseudo-sinister, satin black paint job somewhere along the line. It doesn’t look bad, but a limited edition car like this one (2,247 made) deserves to be original in my world. But, not too many people live in my world these days, modification is the way things are going. This one has been really modified. The seller has owned it since 1992, which is a good sign, but they must have done absolutely with, and to, it over the last 24 years and it’s time for a new toy.

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There are no interior photos, unfortunately, so you’ll have to get in touch with the seller to get some of those. Under the skin is where most of the modifications have been done and the seller says that this car is stupid fast (I added the stupid part).. These cars were fast coming right from the factory and this one has been tweaked like nobody’s business to add to the fun-factor. Dodge made the turbo version of the GLH for two short years, in 1985 and 1986, with 146 hp pumping out of that little 2.2L four-cylinder. The GLH-S (Goes Like Hell, Some-more) limited edition was even more rare and potent with only 500 of them made in 1986 and they were a true “Shelby” with 175 hp. These cars helped to get Carroll Shelby back on his feet again as far as manufacturing goes.

This car doesn’t have the original engine in it, but it comes with the sale as does the original transmission. This one has a VNT drivetrain and there are so many modifications on this car that it’s basically a satin-black-shell of its former factory-self. But, it’s a H*** of a fast shell! This car would have been under $9,000 when new, or around $19,000 in today’s money. You can barely get a basic commuter car for that price now. Have any of you ever driven an Omni GLH Turbo or, better yet, owned one? What do you think of this car with so many modifications on it, is $2,800 a good price for this car?

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Comments

  1. Gwiz432

    I’ve owned 2 turbo Dodge Daytona (1 being the IROC r/t). The 2.2 is a great motor and I can’t imagine a VNT in a GLH. Nice combo…

    Like 1
  2. Mr. TKD

    This was one of the holy cars of my teen years. Great find.

  3. JoeR

    My parents has an ’86 Chrysler Lebaron GTS with the 2.2 Turbo. I thought it was a fast car (can’t imagine what the GLH was like). Me and my brother used to beat the snot out of it. We had to rebuilt the turbo 3 times, replaced the CV joint twice, replaced the cylinder head because the valve guides started pulling oil….but the bottom end never gave out. The car had an early demise when it had an engine fire from field mouse making its nest near the downpipe.

  4. Glen

    My brother had an Omni that I drove quite a bit. He eventually sold it, but they guy that bought it didn’t understand it had a standard transmission. He drove it down a highway and never took it out of first. It didn’t last long. Still funny 30 years later.

  5. James

    My dad bought my mom a red GLH brand new in ’86 as her first new car. She drove it till around ’95 and then my dad drove it until 2002ish. It’s been sitting in our driveway ever since – only moved about twice over the past 14 years. I’m very excited to hopefully inherit it soon! I think it would be a great first project and I’m very excited to learn.
    I spent a couple days over the summer cleaning out the mouse-infested interior and scrubbing away a decade old layer of mold. It cleaned up quite nicely!

    • James

      Here’s a picture of the Omni I was talking about earlier.

      Like 4
      • James

        Nevermind, I guess it didn’t work… sorry

  6. Jesper

    Funny car.
    In Europe they where named Talbot Horizon. But with a 1,6 engine
    Rust buckets.

    • Paul S Gifford

      i/ had one of those in England.

  7. Scott

    I had an 85 GLH Turbo, in the rare gold color. It was indeed fast for the time. 146hp doesn’t sound like much, but for a car basically as small and light as a VW Rabbit (Golf), it was plenty. Speaking of plenty, there was plenty of torque steer to go along with that power as well. Handled well, was comfortable on long trips, and held 4 adults fairly easily. I still miss it.

    • The Walrus

      I had a gold ’85 also! From 1989-1992. The only car I truly desire to find again. Like this one, most are either highly modded or basket cases. I think they all lived a hard life.

  8. Howard A Member

    (O). Scotty said a naughty word. The rules clearly state, “no profanity”.,,,just kidding, Scotty knows my humor. I had a Plymouth mini-van, with I think, a 2.5 turbo, 4 cylinder, and I tell you what, that little bugger had some steam. ( the turbo claimed to add 50 hp) While it did have quite an appetite for oil, it did go, on par with any V-6, and that turbo whistle was music to an old truckers ears. Not the best fuel mileage for a 4 cylinder, the V-6 van I had did better. Great find here, sounds like Montana is just the place to go for classics. Lot of cool finds from Scotty from up there, thanks man.

  9. terry

    That’s a screaming deal.

  10. John

    I owned an 83 1/2 Shelby Charger (Blue and Silver) and a 1987 Shelby Charger Turbo. Both cars were great. The 83 handled on rails and with I think was 107 or 110 HP it could move right along. The 87 had more luxury amenities but with the 148 HP it was quick – just watch out for turbo lag – I mean lots of it. My first couple of days of ownership I almost rear-ended people a couple of times.

    I drove an 85 GLH in 1989 as I was considering purchasing it. Fast? Yep. Handled? Most definitely. Comfortable, quiet or really any sort of reasonable road manners – not one bit.

    If you have fond memories of this car, remember, those are the memories. I own a couple of vintage cars – old cars are not for the faint of heart, even if you are just driving one.

    I think the price is a bit high. Yes, lots of go fast goodies, but the money for this car is if it is original. Even decent ones that are original are under $5k most of the time.

    • Dave Wright

      I bought a Shelby Charger from the Federal Government a few decades ago…..lit had been an undercover car. Needed to look at a Mercedes Unimog that was for sale at the BLM in Winnemucca, I had a ranch near Fresno. Did the round trip in something like 8 hrs. Great road car…….

    • MATTHEW S WELSH

      John, you said it right. In 2012 I bought a 1981 Triumph TR-8 with only 15K miles on it. It was like a museum car. I’d owned a 1980 back when it was new. We forget how crude our cars used to be 30 years ago, and also realize they are not as fast as our modern cars. It’s better not to learn the wonderful cars we remember, aren’t (by modern standards).

      Like 1
  11. Rustytech Member

    Fast but scary. These had serious issues with worn cam shafts and followers, I replaced many over the years. Too bad the body integrity wasn’t better as few have survived. This one looks decent though.

  12. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Had one of these. an ’86, brand new. Had to look hard to find one and it was worth it! Loads of torque steer, but it was fun coming up on and beating the “Hell” out of the IROCs of the day!

    Like 1
  13. Andy

    I had an 84 Plymouth Turismo with the 2.2 and an automatic transmission. No where’s near as souled up as the GLH editions, but it still put a number of muscle cars to shame. I remember once I pulled out from a traffic light on a 3 lane highway, and a guy next to me in a Buick decided to smoke me. I floored that pedal and blew past him, cut over to his lane, and went into the mall (which is where I was headed anyway). Guy pulls up next to me as I’m getting out of the car and exclaims “DUDE! WTF do you have under that hood? I’ve got a 350 under my hood, and I was struggling to keep up!” So I told him it was a 2.2. He wanted to know if it was injected or had a turbo. Told him nope, just a basic carburetor. To say he was astonished is putting it mildly. He walked over and took a peak inside, and his jaw hit the pavement. He turns to me and says “an automatic? I got smoked by an automatic???” I just looked at him and said “yup!!!”

    • John

      I had an 84 Turismo 2.2 5 speed. Talk about rare now. I have not seen a 2.2 for sale… Ever! It was sort of the everyday Shelby.

  14. CarBuzzard Member

    I owned an ’85 GLH Turbo from new. and it was quick. A little impromptu street action against an IROC Z28 saw us running heads up. Funny thing was the Camaro guy had his girlfriend in the passenger seat, and from the expression on her face, she was going to ask him, why was that funny-looking little four-door as fast as your sports car?

    People talk about torque steer. It wasn’t a problem as long as long as you had Armstrong Power Steering…or is that strong arm power steering. The thing to remember is that it would go wherever the front wheels were pointed. The rear wheels would follow. There was little feedback, however, just like driving a video game.

    I never had the space or place to find out, but I’m told that the body shape made a bad wing, and that over 110 mph or so, the rear tires had a very tenuous relationship with the road.

    How to prevent turbo lag: Keep the boost up. :-)

  15. DW

    Bought an 85 Omni to flip back in the day when I was paying my way through college. Had to do some major bondo… er, body repair and then repainted it.

    But you know what? You can’t put lipstick on a pig. As I recall, I eventually gave it away for $50 less than I had in it. People did NOT love the Omni.

  16. Dan h

    Great little rally sleeper but the first thing I’d do is pull the Chrysler badge off the grill and chuck it like a Chinese star. But that’s just me.

  17. Joe Harris

    Still have the 1985 Turbo Omni we bought new, it is slightly modified with computer and stage 2 motor, does around 180 hp. torque steer is there but not that scary and it is so much fun taking Mustangs and Irocs in the day. Built a gated oil pan, since it was used on the track a few times and it really needs a gated pan if you are on a flat track with left and right corners. It was a good highway car comfort wise and brakes were good. Turbo lag is there a bit but usually only in first gear off the lights. not that big a deal if you keep the rpms above 2000.
    This sounds like a good price for fun to me.

  18. Joe

    I bought a red GLH Turbo new in 85. The mods were as follows: Direct Connection computer, 3 inch exhaust with turbo muffler and no cat. I removed the side scirts, front spoiler and hood vent and had a local Dodge dealer paint then red with flex agent to match the body color. At Carlsbad raceway the car ran 14.2 at 97 mph in the 1/4. Additionally, the car regularly got 30 mpg on the highway ( as long as you kept it out of boost). I was in the Marine Corps at the time. I bought the car in Beaufort, SC and sold it 3 years later in El Toro, CA. This was my first new car and I loved it. The only problems I had were the windshield leaked and the alternator died 3 times (over revving I was told). All fixed under warranty. I’ll never forget the fun I had in that little car! Thanks Dodge!

    • carbuzzard Member

      Windshield leak? Me too.

  19. Rich

    I bought an ’85 GLH, red, from a dealer in 1991 as my first car. I paid $500 for it, and it was in pretty good condition. I drove it off the lot, and it was the first ime I ever drove manual. Awesome little car. I didn’t appreciate what I had. That son of a gun handled like no other car I’ve ever driven. Being 16-17 years old when I owned it, I’m not sure if it was upgraded in any way, but dang was it fun to drive. Way too much for someone my age. I’m lucky to be alive. I soldit to a friend who was two years younger than me, and he drove it for a few years, then sold it. I swear that car was still driving around our town for the next 15 years with different owners. Hard to kill, I guess.

  20. Mike

    I used to own a Black 1985 GLH Turbo. That car was so much fun back in the day! The ultimate factory sleeper back then. Unfortunately I ended up flipping the car and the insurance company totalled it. I would love to own another one today. Is the car in this post still available?

    Like 1
  21. Withan

    My family had a 1986 GLH Turbo in Santa Fe blue and a GLHS. Those are still two of my favorite cars ever and I presently drive a Giulia Quadrifoglio. Between the pair of them, my father and I outran enough cops in those cars to make East Saint Louis a safe place to live.

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