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Shelby Fresh Outta The Barn!

If I told you I had found a dusty, forgotten Shelby in a barn, your heart might start beating a bit faster. A genuine Cobra? A Mustang wearing the iconic stripes down the hood? What, pray tell, could it be? Well, I hate to disappoint you, but this Shelby is a bit more tame than any of those – but it is dusty! Barn Finds reader Jonathan from Dallas discovered this 1985 Dodge Shelby Charger here on craigslist and in need of a bath. 

It needs fresh paint, too! Since this is a Texas car, I’m not surprised to see a mixture of dust and sunburnt paint. But like many cars we feature from Texas, this example is wonderfully rust-free. Unfortunately, it was stored with the windows down when a fuel pump took it out of commission, so cleaning may be the biggest part of the job once a new pump is fitted. Those wheels are instantly recognizable as being the design seemingly always bolted to the late-80s Shelby cars.

Also recognizable are the sport seats, those these are wearing a thick coating of dust that will require the use of a steam cleaner, in my opinion. That dirt looks thick, and before you get to tackle that job, you’ll need to replace the door handles as they’re currently broken and preventing anyone from opening this Charger up for detailing. These Shelby Chargers weren’t exactly the fire-breathing monsters that Carroll Shelby was known for, but they did provide respectable performance in a budget-friendly package.

1985 is a great model year to buy, as the Shelby team bumped up performance with the help of a Garrett T3 turbocharger, with the resulting power increase good for a 7.8 second run to 60 m.p.h. The power bulge hood seen on this example was also a new-for-’85 feature. Although many of these Shelby Chargers have ended up in junkyards or otherwise fallen into disrepair, there will come a time when they become downright scarce – I’d grab one while I could as a project car. For $1,450, the price seems reasonable, but I might show up with $1K in cash and see what happens.


  1. Moparman Moparmann Member

    I’m guessing that the windows were left down to facilitate entry, since the door handles are broken?! Still, that is no way to leave a car for an extended period of time. This is more like an archaeological find, you’ve got to remove the dirt carefully to find out what you’ve got! LOL!! :-)

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  2. Rabbit

    Door handles probably aren’t broken, just out of adjustment. Omni’s/Chargers are notorious for it. Five minutes with an allen wrench could fix that. That is one dusty interior.

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  3. That Guy

    I’m never encouraged by seeing large things dangling on wires from under the dash. I suspect there’s more work here than cleaning, door handle-fixing, and fuel pump-replacing. This car would be a labor of love even if it was free.

    Nonetheless, it is an interesting and pretty rare machine. I’d guess there might be fewer of these left than there are ’65 Shelby Mustangs. I hope someone takes it on.

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  4. Gunner

    20 days on CL for 1450? Hmmmmm. Seems someone would have snatched it up before now for that price. A good cleaning would do wonders for it.

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  5. edh

    There has to be more problems than they are letting on about. These were poor quality even by ’80s low standards.

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  6. MikeG

    I’ve seen a youtube video of a woman powerwashing the inside of her car, this one could actually use it.

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  7. Vin in NJ

    With that amount of dirt inside, rain, at one point or another had to flow into the wide open windows, soak the carpets and possibly rot the floorboards.

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  8. Jay M

    I wonder how long it was submerged?

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  9. nessy

    I always liked this car in the blue and silver color combo. This model came out in 83 but this 85 was the first year they turbocharged it. Why on earth this dumb seller refused to wash the thing is a mystery. Just look how filthy the interior is from leaving the windows down. So stupid. You can tell this was stored in a filthy building and no question, many mice and maybe even racoons climbed around inside that car. The smell must be unreal. From the looks of the rust, the barn/building/shed must have had a leaking roof. Very damp looking storage. A dry tight garage would never make a car that filthy even after decades. As I said, I like this car but whoever left it to get like this is pittyful. Oh, guys, any idea on when the thumbs up and down are coming back?

    Like 1
  10. CJay

    I’ve seen cars setting in buildings (really sheds) in the southwest that end up in this condition. The metal beams will sweat and drip leaving the pattern you see on the rear hatch. The buildings have 1,2 or 3 walls with dirt floors. The dust blows in settles and never leaves.
    I guess it’s better than being 100% exposed to the weather

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  11. Rustytech Rustytech Member

    Looks more like a river bottom find than barn find! This thing is just plain scary.

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  12. stillrunners

    gee………you got to love these guys negative comments…..you know they don’t get any love at home…….

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    • Jason

      Is “stillrunners” the seller? This is why we need the thumbs-down button back!

      Like 0
  13. Texas Tea

    I’ll take two please, and you all should know what for……………………..

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  14. Howard A Member

    Even though, this car is historically a low point in the “Shelby” history, it is significant, and showed, you could make a lowly Omni 024 a sporty, pretty quick car.( probably with lots of support from Chrysler. I can just hear the conversation, Mr. Shelby, ” You want me to do what with this car”? Mr. Iacocca,”just make it happen”.)The Charger had become a mere shred of what it used to be, but this is where it was going. This car is cashed, sorry, got to be a nicer one around, if you’re really into this. They also made a Shelby Rampage ( not many) I’d be interested in, this, not so much. http://www.allpar.com/photos/dodge/omni/shelby-rampage.jpg

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    • DG

      i think rock bottom of Shelby history has got to be the ’89 Shelby Dakota pickup. At least with the Charger/Omni they still were in the spirit of what Shelby was known for. Taking cheap, “secretaries cars” and turning them into road course terrors.

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  15. Steve B

    Someone get this in LeMons! I see a Christmas Carol Shelby theme here

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  16. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Strange, I just read about this 1986 Shelby yesterday in the April 2017 edition of Hemmings Muscle Machines. I had never heard of one, only 500 produced. https://www.allpar.com/omni/GLHS.php

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    • PRA4SNW

      The car in this post is just the regular ‘ol factory Shelby Charger, similar to the Omni GLH-T I owned back in the day.

      The GLHS was a different story completely. More of a real Shelby, just not a label added to a factory car.

      I wanted an Omni GLHS badly and there was even a dealer nearby that sold them, but they were pricey.

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      • Bo Wagner

        I did get to test-drive the GLHS; two words: TORQUE STEER :)

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      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Thanks for the heads up PRA4SNW. I have been doing a little more research since reading the Hemmings mag and reading the comments here, sounds like quite a hot rod in its day. I was not surprised to see your comment from this Find in 2015. Take care, Mike. http://barnfinds.com/hot-hatch-1986-shelby-glhs/

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  17. Cleric

    Sell off some of the Shelby-specific parts to get its value down to $500.00. Get it running well and make it a LeMons car.

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  18. Bo Wagner

    I had a 1985 Omni GLH and it was a ball. I enjoyed the two-lane mountain roads in West Virginia (from home in KY to school in VA) and enjoyed its’ power and handling. I could keep up with some much quicker vehicles in the twisties and it wasn’t terrible off the line either. Build quality? Well, it was an Omni and had quirks (like ‘falling out’ of 3rd gear; always fun in the middle of a hard curve; I just had to hold it in place : ) Great fun and e-brake slides…. Lots of fun. I try to ‘channel’ that energy in my Fiat 500 Sport to this day (I still love ‘hot’ hatches…)

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  19. Frank Thompson

    I bought one,,in 2005,in Northern Maine,,it was stored in a enclosed garage,,cleaned the tank and fuel lines + a new battery,,started right up,,I paid $80.00,,it was on its way to the crusher,,sold it for $1,800 2 years later.

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  20. Wayne

    I have to disagree with DG. I snagged a Shelby Dakota from one of my scrappies. traded a 69 Chrysler wagon for it and have been loving it ever since. It’s fast and fun to drive!

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  21. Mitch Member

    That’s a car to buy now and slowly restore. In ten years they will be drooling over these.

    Like 0

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