Carroll Shelby Enhanced: 1983 Dodge Charger

When you hear “Shelby” and “Charger,” you think OK, now we’re talkin’! But when you put them both together maybe some of the enthusiasm dies down a bit. But maybe it shouldn’t, there may be more to the combination than you initially realize. For your review, today we have a 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger. It is located in Cream Ridge, New Jersey and is available, here on eBay for a BIN price of $6,300.

Dodge’s iconic Charger nameplate returned in 1981 as a performance variant of the compact, FWD Omni 024. In 1983, Carroll Shelby lent his skills, and name, to the Charger creating the Dodge Shelby Charger. At this initial point, the Shelby package was more about road-handling capability and appearance than straight-out power, though there were some mechanical enhancements included. Sales were good with over 8K units finding homes that year. The Shelby themed Charger continued production through 1987.

Considered a survivor, this 85K mile Dodge looks great. The two-tone blue and silver finish is fade-free and still bright while the skirts and spoilers are, well, unspoiled – they’re not cracked or crooked. The seller states, “The paint looks original with absolutely no rust anywhere on the car“. There are many, many images of this Charger accessible via the listing and none indicate any evidence of crash damage.

Power is provided by a 107 HP, 2.2 liter, in-line, four-cylinder engine which is attached to a five-speed manual transaxle. The seller provides no description of how this Charger performs but does claim, “Full service was performed on this beauty. Fluids along with filters have been changed. New Struts, Tie Rods, Timing, Fuel Filter and battery have been installed“.  The Shelby mechanical enhancements at this point included a higher compression ratio, alternate gear ratios, revised spring rates, unique tires and wheels, and quicker power steering. The high performance, turbocharged 2.2-liter engine was still two years away at this point but this Shelby “enhanced” engine did manage to up the horsepower total by 7 over the standard 2.2-liter, 100 HP Charger engine.

The interior of this Dodge shows extremely well for being 38 years and having experienced 85K miles of use. It is almost surprising as the Omni/Horizon cars worked within a budget and didn’t go for broke on interior quality. The two-tone vinyl upholstery works perfectly with the exterior and the seats appear to be nice quality pieces. From what can be seen of the carpet (it’s covered with protective sheets) it looks fine and there is no evidence of degradation with the dash and door cards. The dash and instrument panel are rather plain-jane affairs but pretty much what one would expect in an ’80s economy car. The outlier is the center console and gearshift surround; unless it’s a trick of the light, but both pieces appear to be beige and not the silver/gray accent employed elsewhere inside.

I have never owned, driven, or know anyone who has owned a Charger from this era. They and their 024 counterparts were popular cars at one-time and in totality sold well. Some may not consider this Dodge to be a true Charger or worthy of the Shelby moniker but  I would disagree. While I’m glad that the Charger ultimately found its way back home, this was the state of affairs for both Dodge and Shelby in the early ’80s – it’s just the way it was. So, what’s your thought, is this Dodge Shelby Charger, enough of a Shelby or a Charger to be worthy of consideration?

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Comments

  1. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Seems like a decent little car for the money; you have to admit it looks pretty good in and out. It has A/C and a stick shift which should make it a fun daily driver. While I’ve never been a fan of a car that looked fast but wasn’t, this little Charger is a nice looking car. Maybe an engine transplant would add a little excitement, perhaps one of the later turbo mills?

    Like 1
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    We bought an ’86 black on black leather Shelby Daytona Turbo Z 5 speed new off the dealer floor. It was a comfortable, fast car and a blast to drive. No problems, no recalls, etc. just a fun, well built car. This one won’t be that fast but I’d guess the fun factor would be there.

    Like 7
  3. Moparman Member

    I always thought these cars looked much better without the addition of the blind spot causing rear side panels. Change for the sake of change, or maybe the panels were cheaper than glass. At any rate, this looks to be a nice, well kept car! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 3
    • Steve stutesman

      I bought one new and hurt a couple of mustang and camaro in fun. It was peppy but it would corner hard.

  4. Dadsage

    I bought one of these as my first car when I was 17 in 1992. It had 90,000km on it and was original coming from its first owner. It was a blast to drive, handles really well, and was decent on fuel. This particular example looks pretty good, my notes tell me that the seats are not original, they should be the same cloth at the door panels, the shifter boot isn’t original, it should be molded rubber, and the sticker on the front fascia to the right of the pentastar is not a stock item. Other than that sweet ride!

    Like 5
  5. i8afish

    “Yep, I drive a Shelby. I just smoked a Yugo and Johnny Tenspeed. Yep!”

    Like 7
    • stu

      This car DEFINITELY is not a shelby…And it will never will be…..

      • Stephen Swaney

        This car has more Shelby DNA than a lot of cars that you’d consider to be “real” Shelbys.

        Like 1
      • stu

        One second…when I hear the name Shelby….I think motor, Hp, speed…Please tell me what can a 2.2L Dodge offer? Now if your talking about a 60’s or 70’s Dodge, now you have something. I would not drive this car and boast it’s a Shelby…it’s a joke

      • Dave Windsor

        Stu… in 1981, PPG Motorsports were commissioned by Dodge to build a technology demonstrator car. It had the same Audi / VW 2.2 liter I-4 engine fitted out with Cosworth heads, twin Garrett T25 turbos, and a bunch of other goodies. This engine made 440 hp and was put into a highly modified Pontiac Fiero GT body and it was dubbed the M4S Turbo Interceptor. the car went 195 mph at Indianapolis as a pace car. That is what you can get from a fully tuned 2.2 liter.

      • stu

        Dave Windsor….
        You could be right but I would spend the money on something like a 124 fiat with the abarth kit. There are two versions if I remember correctly. There is a 650HP kit and an 850HP kit. These kits worked on a 1.8L 4cylinder motor. This would be going back about the 80’s. The Dodge (for me) is not a sporty looking car. This is just my opinion so I hope not to offend.

  6. Steve Clinton

    Calling this a ‘Charger’ was the same as calling a Gremlin an ‘AMX’.

    Like 5
  7. erodian

    My mom had an ’83 she bought new. It was the reverse color scheme – silver with blue stripes. I just remember there being a lot of torque steer. I also don’t remember them having vinyl interiors; I thought they were all fabric.

    We lived out in the country. I walked out one day and her car was listing to one side. I came in to let her know she had a flat. Once I actually looked, I noticed that someone had stolen all 4 wheels and left a cinder block under the one side.

    Like 4
    • nlpnt

      I had forgotten the all-vinyl interior option existed for these, too. I’d never seen one, and they were fairly rare on the standard late-model Omnirizons.

  8. Doc Member

    I owned this MY Shelby Charger. Pretty much junk IMO.

    Like 2
  9. ADM

    We had bought an almost new, two tone bronze and brown, ’84 Turismo. The carbs on these were known to cause a bit of trouble. We had absolutely no problems, for three years, until the winter night I had to take my wife to the hospital, for the birth of our daughter. It wouldn’t start. So, I rolled it into the street, and took her in my Dodge D-50. A day or two later, it fired right up, and had no more issues for the rest of the time we owned it. Go figure.

    Like 4
  10. Sam Shive

    Same home from a World Cruise in 83 and found myself SINGLE. So with a pocket full of money I went looking for a new car. Brought a NEW 84 off the lot and put it right back in the garage to have the SUPER CHARGER put on and a few other mods done. Turned out to be a sweet little hot rod, Ended up trading it when the new wife couldn’t drive it,

    Like 1
  11. JCA

    On paper it actually competed with a GTI but in driving, it was a world apart

    Like 4
    • Steve Clinton

      It was THAT good? (wink)

      Like 1
    • Mr.BZ

      Build quality was a joke but my box-stock ’83 Omni 4 door beat GTI’s on a regular basis, stoplight to stoplight.

      Like 1
      • Steve R

        Were they aware the two of you were racing?

        Steve R

        Like 1
  12. OhioLou

    If you are thinking about buying this car, better look at in person. BBB and yelp reviews of Rover Classic are eye opening to say the least.

    Like 4
    • Steve Clinton

      I thought you were referring to the British car…it took me a minute to figure it out. (no flies on me!)

      Like 1
    • Bob Wallerick

      OH MY!!
      It is such a terrible sounding company that it should not be promoted in any way on Barn Finds!

      Like 1
      • susanmckee Member

        Agreed that the company is terrible, but so is the choice to not spend a few hundred on a plane ticket to go inspect the car themselves before committing thousands of dollars.

        I had a stock 1986 Charger with a manual. First new car. It was really fun. Sold with 150K miles on it.

        Like 1
  13. Charles Sawka

    I think my 83 Charger was one of the most fun cars to drive I ever had. Not a great car, but certainly well put together.

    Like 4
    • ChrisC

      I couldn’t agree more. Had this exact car in school. Mine was an 84. Fun care for a 17 year old. Then again everything in the 80s was fun compared to today.

  14. JCA

    I mean, just look at the stance. Looks like a boat on the water. Twice the fender gap in front than the rear. Are the springs shot? Maybe some coilovers might help?

    Like 2
  15. Motorsport Whse

    theres enough undercoating on the car for 2 Lincolns..scary imo. I liked the Omni GLH, but thats about it.

    • Bob Wallerick

      It is very scary with all of that new undercoating, even on the transmission and all of the suspension parts. No rust because it is all hidden under the undercoating?

      Like 2
    • RAMPAGE

      Check the floors
      L-Bodies tend to leak around the front cowl and floors rust out.

  16. steve flynn

    just another blue smokein k car with a ‘real’ name plastered on it… sad, ugly… carroll should be ashamed and embarressed… :(

    • MoPhil

      L-body… these pre-date the K-car by half a decade.

      Like 6
      • Ralph

        sorry but the k cars were introduced in 1980 or 81…

        Like 5
    • Mr.BZ

      I’m sure your opinion would have crushed Mr. Shelby.

      Like 3
    • glhs0075

      Not a K car, and I don’t think Carroll would appreciate you telling him how he should feel.

      Like 1
  17. MoPhil

    I’ve owned three of these (two n/a like this one, one turbo) and I have to say that there are a number of red flags on this car considering it being advertised as a survivor.

    Vinyl seats? Never. All were cloth. Tan center console as noted? Obviously replaced. Same with the shift gaiter. No paintwork? Why do the stripes not have the original pinstripe around them then? Why do the rear sailpanels not have the black detailing inside of the depressions? And why do they have blue overspray on their forward edges where it should be black? Why are most of the exterior factory emblems missing? Why have the side SHELBY stickers been replaced with those of a different size and color than the originals? If there was no rust underneath, why was it recently undercoated so heavily? This much undercoat might have saved the Titanic from the iceberg! Wheels should be machined and clearcoated, not painted. Why is the middle of the underhood slam panel painted black? Where are the rubber pads for the clutch and brake pedals?

    This could be a solid car but to represent it as a survivor is less than honest.

    Like 20
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      MoPhil, you really know these cars!
      Thanks for the expert observations, I hope that it helps anyone that is (was) interested in this car.

      Personally owned an ’86 GLH-T and have fond memories.

      Like 5
  18. Dale S.

    Rating from 1 to 5 – Exterior styling: 2 Interior: 4 I’ll pass.

  19. Arby

    Even a man as accomplished as Carroll Shelby can have some regrets…

  20. RacinRob4

    In 2001 I bought a Black/Silver 87 TI Shelby Charger with 85,000 miles for $1500 and loved it for the most part. Then I learned about the power I could get by converting it to TII status but sadly in the middle of the process I traded it off for an 88 Shadow CSX-T and been hooked on the P body cars ever since. Sold the CSX-T to a guy in VA in 2004 and I’ve regretted it since then. Nice N/A Shelby Charger still have a place in my heart for them. GLWTA !!!!!

    Like 1
  21. Darren

    My first car was a 85 Shelby Charger. It was the 2.2 liter Turbo with a whopping 146 hp. It was 7 years old and had 71000 miles and the turbo had just been replaced. Being 16 i was pretty rough on the car and it was not built to take it, only had it 6 months (5 of those months were prior to getting my license) and broke 2 motor mounts from the torque and side stepping the clutch shredded the clutch cable and also broke linkage in trans speed shifting…. needless to say we had it fixed and traded it. Somewhat fun to drive but at 70 mph the rear end felt light. Not a good car. Wasn’t built like a car with the Shelby name on it!

  22. Rustytech Member

    These were poorly built rattle traps but, you were having so much fun you didn’t notice!

    Like 2
  23. bikefixr

    I bought my wife a Red ’84 Shelby Charger for a wedding present. We loved it. Yeah, it was typical 80’s Chrysler penny-pinching, but it was a FUN car to drive and easy to hot-rod. We loved it. I’b buy another in a heartbeat if I could find a super-low mile GLHS.

    Like 1
  24. Raymond

    107hp 2.2 thats turkey engine no power get out its own way

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