Final Year: 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger

When people hear “Dodge Charger” I’d be willing to bet they first picture 1 of 2 eras – either the first 3 generations (1966-1974) or the newest iteration (2006+). So, let’s not forget the L-Body Charger of the 1980s, as we see here. This 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger was sent to us by an anonymous Barn Finds reader who found it here on eBay in Puyallup, Washington. This no reserve auction has seen just 5 bids push the current bid price to a paltry $1,700.

The L-Body Charger was introduced in 1982 after a 3-model year break from the model name. The Shelby variant hit showroom floors in 1983. The Shelbys received a host of performance and styling upgrades, which are detailed here. With the sun setting on the L-Body Chargers in 1987, just 1,011 Shelby variants were built in that final model year – 445 were painted red with the remaining 566 finished in black like this one.

If you’re in the market for a Shelby Charger, I’d guess this is the condition you’d be looking for, as this one is claimed to be rust free and wearing its original paint. The paint does look weather worn and the striping isn’t even close to perfect. It is riding on factory-issue wheels with mudflaps installed behind all 4 tires.

This interior is 1980s simple – which could also be described as office park cold. However, the Shelby theme is on full display inside with the “CS” insignia embroidered in each seat’s headrest. Perhaps my quality expectations are too low for 1980s cars, but I’m rather impressed with the condition – there’s some minor wear and tear, but the upholstery looks to be in rather good shape. I’d merely be speculating if I said the C-pillar hinders your over-the-shoulder rear view, but the glass hatchback should offer decent straight back vision.

Under the hood you’ll find a 2.2-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder. The seller tells us the “turbo works great, clutch feels nice and tight, and gears slip in perfectly.”

I’m no soothsayer, so I don’t know if the Shelby Chargers will ever garner the fame and collectability that some of Carroll Shelby’s other work has. But, for those who are willing to roll the dice on such a possibility, this looks like an ideal candidate to take that chance on.

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Comments

  1. Superdessucke

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t recall that there was blue trim around the silver center stripe. I think that was added.

    2
    • Saabvertguy

      My 1st year as an auto tech was spent in 1987 working at a Dodge dealer. All of our black Shelby’s for that year had the blue stripe like this version. I believe it was a one year only thing for 87.

      9
      • Superdessucke

        Ah, ok. I learn something new every day! Given the condition, I figured it was added a long long time ago if it wasn’t original.

        4
    • Michael Sigmon

      I had a red one and the pin stripping matched the red color of the car

  2. Keith

    These cars were pretty fast, I raced one of these (back in the late eighties) with my 1986 Mercury Capri 5.0 and he smoked me by multiple car lengths. Quite embarrassing so I installed a 150HP shot of nitrous on my 5.0 but never saw that car again.

    11
    • Ohio Rick

      Strange. I sold mine to a young man who totally smoked a 5.0 Mustang in it. Unfortunately the race ended when my car’s new owner missed a curve and rolled it into a ball. Unhurt.

      3
  3. 67GT

    I owned one identical to this, best car I ever owned. Absolutely bullet proof.

    3
  4. kiteflier

    Check out the 1987 Shelby GLHS. Mine was a low numbered car.. Actually the DMV put “Schelby” on the title for make instead of Shelby and said “we can’t change it”. So I had the world’s only Schelby.

    12
  5. mjf

    too bad that car is ugly for a charger

    2
  6. Mulewrightpaul

    Shouldn’t this have a Turbo II in it? The one with the intercooler. I don’t see the intercooler piping so maybe a replacement engine?

    • Superdessucke

      No, these it did not have the Turbo II. The GLHS technically didn’t even have the Turbo II. It had the Turbo I block with the Turbo II components bolted onto it by Shelby. The standard Shelby just had the regular Turbo I.

      4
  7. MarveH

    I would pick this over the current Charger for a couple of reasons, light weight, and the biggest reason of all, a manual transmission. The current Charger is a just a big, heavy sedan with lots of power.

    4
  8. Major Thom

    There was a 4th generation Charger before Chrysler put the name on this L-body. Built from 1975 until early 1978 when it was replaced by the first Magnum, this Charger (with various suffixes) appeared as a replacement for the 2-door Coronet as well as Dodge’s version of the Cordoba. There was also a Daytona version which has appeared here several times.

    4
  9. bikefixr

    I had an ’84. Huge sunroof, metal louvers, AC, I loved it. It was fun to drive, easy to service, good on gas, and the hatchback was big enough to haul my crap. I’m still looking for a very low-mile, mint GLHS to buy.

    4
  10. James Martin

    Dog-on-me

  11. CVPanther Member

    What an embarrassment to both the Shelby and Charger names.

    1
    • Mr.BZ

      Not when you are able to put things into perspective. The 80s offered some of the worst American cars ever across the spectrum, and small cars were typically among the worst of those. Fit and finish was poor for sure, but comparative performance for these Shelby-tweaked vehicles was at or near the top of their classes. CS himself was quite proud of the GLH-S, as it routinely put the Rabbit GTI in its place–second. Shelby modified cars that other companies manufactured, he had to start with what they gave him and make improvements. Most of the vehicles that display his name are indeed improvements over the factory cars.

      13
    • Blaine

      I don’t think that’s the case. This little fella surprised quite a few people in its day, I think it was a home rub for an under dog. I feel it looks no worse than today’s 4-door variant of the same name.

      2
  12. Chris

    I was promised my dad’s ’86 Shelby Charger for my 16th birthday… 2 weeks before I turned 16 it blew up so I got it early… pulled the motor and then sold it for parts to my cousin who had the same car.

  13. John617

    Going to lunch with 3 friends in my 11 sec GN I was embarrassed when I turned a corner behind a turbo Shelby, punched it to pass but that Shelby showed us his taillights and completely outran us.

    7
  14. Johnny Cuda

    I like these. My first brand new car was a 1984 Plymouth Turismo Duster with the 2.2 engine. That was a nice little car. I also had a 1985 Dodge 600 Turbo. That was a great car until the Boston area winters did a number on it! Loved the turbo!

    1
  15. Lynn Member

    My 83 Shelby was a total pc of crap.

    1
  16. Jerry

    Gone already!!

  17. Jcs

    Not surprised. Quite simply, these are fun little cars.

    4
    • Jerry

      I wonder what it sold for?
      Listing said there was one day left on the auction but it was pretty clean…worth more than $1800
      I called the number in the agg a couple hours ago but he never called me back.

  18. RacinRob4

    Owned an 87 just like this back in early 2000’s paid $1500 for it. Drove it with a couple of minor mods: Map sensor bleeder, shimmed wastegate, adjustable FPR,+20% injectors and maybe it made all of 175HP without an intercooler. Clutch crapped out so I ordered a better clutch and started a poor man’s Turbo 2 conversion lost interest when I found an 88 Shadow CSX-T and traded the Charger for it. Miss both my old Shelby cars but they both went to good homes one to TN the other to FL

  19. Michael Sigmon

    My dad ran across a 1986 Shelby Charger sitting in a backyard with weeds growing up around it. My dad always liked the 85 Shelby Charger I had, so he stopped to inquire about the car. Owner said it was his brother bought it new put about 30k on the engine and the turbo went out. He bought the car from his brother but never did anything to it. Unfortunately the guys home was in foreclosure and the bank was going to take possession of anything left on the property the next week. The guy told my dad he could have it if he got it towed out of there. So for about $150 flat bed tow, my dad has a 30k, 1986 red/silver Shelby Charger. The paint was done but interior was perfect. He had it repainted and stripes put back like original, went through all the usual stuff after a car had been sitting for like 15 years. Engine, brakes, gas tank, etc. wound up selling it for $4500. Yes he lost a little money but he sure enjoyed that little car. This was a God send for him right after my mom passed away. They had been married 62 years.

    4
  20. Stevieg Member

    There is a low mile Shelby Charger like this sitting in a driveway in a suburb of Milwaukee, rotting away. Next to it is a 1971 Imperial. Both are 1 owner, low mile vehicles. I personally don’t understand the mindset to do that to not just one, but two really cool cars. But they are there, sitting in the open for the world to see.
    If I get a chance, I will go past there & get a picture of them to post.
    They are willing to sell them. They want $4,500 for the Imperial, $3,000 for the Shelby. They tell me “the cars will clean up nice”. I am not convinced the underside of either of them is solid enough to worry about whether they will clean up well lol.

  21. Steve S

    Back when I was in highschool I had a 88 dodge Daytona that was like this but not a Shelby edition that was blue with blue interior. With a 2.2 turbo charged engine and automatic transmission. The car was in shop more than I drove it.

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