High Performance Build: 1985 Dodge Omni GLHS

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When it comes to performance cars, a single letter can spell a world of difference. And as it relates to the Dodge Omni GLHS, that last letter represented a significant boost in performance over the already zippy hot hatch. The car shown here is a runner but one that apparently has significant enough floor rot issues that the seller is including a roller with good metal so you can either swap over the running gear, interior, and front fascia, or cut it up to repair the complete car. The package deal is listed here on Facebook Marketplace for $3,500.

The seller begins the listing by noting that he is “…putting it up for sale one last time,” which makes me wonder if he’s had difficulty moving it along in the past. Now, I would say a high asking price would certainly make the transaction process potentially tedious given not everyone has the desire to take on a bodywork project, but the ask here doesn’t seem out of line for a fairly rare version of an already rare car. The GLHS was built for the 1986 model year and came equipped with numerous upgrades over the standard GLH, which included a bump of 29 horsepower thanks to improvements like a new turbo, intercooler, and larger throttle body.

The listing for this forlorn GLHS also comes with a few screenshots of receipts that indicate the hot rod Dodge was further upgraded before being left to gather dust in the seller’s garage. The upgrades range from engine performance to transmission reinforcements, so it seems like you’re getting far more high performance hardware than what the Shelby team installed. When new, the GLHS also benefited from a revised intake manifold and engine control module, along with a higher-capacity radiator, and all of these upgrades yielded 175 b.h.p. and identical torque figures, good for a 0-60 run of a scalding 6.5 seconds.

The roller that’s included with the sale also comes with good doors and factory wheels, so if you ever lose a rim to a pothole or a door to a parking lot fender bender, you’re covered there as well. While no one looks forward to performing bodywork, if the rust is limited to the floors as the seller claims, it is not a massive job to replace the rust in the running car. Plus, I have a feeling there will be a day where even a moderate investment in a real-deal GLHS Omni will pay off as these cars seem very under-valued at the moment. The seller’s asking price seems fair to me; what do you think of this hot hatch project package?

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. HoA HoAMember

    I think we can all agree, the only reason this car exists at all, is because of its affiliation with the greatest high performance car maker of all time, albeit, on the low end of the scale. While 175 hp.( seems like a lot) is about all you’re going to get out of this motor, I suppose compared to most Omnis, it did “go like hell”, but certainly not a GT500 KR, something Ol’ Shel’ should be remembered for, but not this. Probably a favor to Iacocca to put some zing in an otherwise pretty boring car, but newsflash, Americans didn’t buy Omnis to go fast, all they cared about at the time, was the pump and for that it worked well. If it was pristine, and I’m sure SOMEONE has one, but I doubt anybody will want to restore this, I don’t think.

    Like 6
    • Matt

      To be fair, Shelby himself said these Omnis were closer to his idea of fun and his idea of what a sports car should be than the GT500KR. He loved the 65-66 but by 67 felt they were getting away from the original concept and moving towards luxury and comfort with an auto tranny in a good many of them. Eesh!

      Like 22
      • Dan

        Faster than 289 Rustang up to 75 mph approx.

        Like 4
      • HoA HoAMember

        Hi Matt, I don’t know. After you mentioned Shelby actually liked the car, I’m the skeptical type, and you can’t tell me a guy that created the fastest, most awesome cars on the planet, was “reduced” to a mere Dodge Omni. After 1970, there was a lapse in Shelby vehicles, and returned in ’83 with the FWD renditions. I think ol’ Shel’ was just as bummed where the car scene went, but still had a swanky, yet deserved lifestyle to support and did Iacocca a favor, and still paid the bills. Seems he had a 6 year fling with these, the pickup being the last, before going back to muscle. He may have SAID he liked it, but I really wonder?

        Like 2
      • Guy Wind

        One of my employees had a GLHS. I had a bone stock 79 Horizon that I drove like I stole it. The GLHS was an absolute riot to drive. I’m sure that part of the joy psychology was “it’s just an Omni”. Oddly, it was surprisingly agile on some very winding roads.

        Alas, that’s a lot of money for something that needs so much work to recreate “its just an Omni” It would be a different story (and price) if it was minty.

        Like 5
    • OIL SLICK

      Don’t kid yourself these cars were fast. I tangled with one on the interstate for miles on the tollway. I had an 11 second Grand National at the time and out of the gate he would beat me off the line. It didn’t take long for me to overtake it but it was a peske Little car. I learned to respect that junk and yeah if I had room I’d buy it.

      Like 37
    • Jim

      People who bought these most certainly did buy them to go fast. They were faster than the VW GTI, which was itself a fast, fun little car. And either of them could outhandle a Shelby Mustang. I’ll take fast and good handling over straight ahead fast any old day. Driving a fast car on a curvy road is loads more fun than having a fast quarter mile time.

      Like 22
      • HoA HoAMember

        Sorry to call you out, Jim, that’s not what I said. I said, people that bought REGULAR Omnis, didn’t buy them to go fast. Fast is a relative term. My Opel Kadett was fast off the line, but that’s it. I tend to disagree, while driving fast on a curvy road is a rush, in the 1/4 mile, nobody is coming the other way,,,

        Like 4
    • David Frank David FrankMember

      0–60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration time of 6.5 seconds and a 14.8 second quarter mile time. Top speed was 135 mph. That was fast in its day. Mr. Shelby knew what was fun for him. There is a following for these. There was one at the museum (California Auto Museum) for sale a while back and it went pretty quickly for good money. The “Me too” crowd is pretty big, but there are also folks who just love to go fast and have their fun.

      Like 8
    • Luke

      Whens the last time you built, tuned or modded a 2.2 Chrysler motor? My last one made 535/643…..on a stock cast crank too. These regularly make 400hp on stock t2 rods and pistons. Not sure where you heard your figures.

      Like 7
      • Bill LaFaveMember

        I have and 83 Shelby charger and 285 Shelby Chargers, wondering what it would take to get that kind of horsepower. I’ve had them for years, use to raise them, it was a lot of fun. I would like to learn more about a high horsepower 4-cylinder

        Like 0
    • luckless pedestrian

      These were very much cars of their time… Everyone was building ‘hot hatches’… So why not Carroll… At the time I was running Siroccos and GTIs, and these Omnis were faster… but crude. Crazy fun though. They were thrown together, and I’m surprised any survived.

      Like 8
    • Rob

      In response to your retort to Matt’s statement, I’ll pose a question: have you ever driven one? They’re quicker than you think, and that 175 hp has easily been topped with the 2.2. I have one making over 300 hp from a built 87 Shelby Z Daytona. These things were real sleepers and still today surprise many folks. I own na 86 GLHS, #117 and an 87, # 306, both fun and fast little cars for their day.

      Like 13
      • Steve S

        You own ‘86 GLHS number 117? I bought that car from the original owner, who was a friend of mine, in 1996, and sold it about 10 years later to a guy in Virginia. You know that car has a Quaife limited slip in it right?

        Like 4
    • Gregg

      Well….. You’re wrong. I would absolutely restore this bad-a$$ little hot hatch! I am apparently not the only one who appreciates these cars, as the listing has already been removed… So it’s SOLD!

      Like 7
    • Steve S

      To this day, there are plenty of these 2.2 FWD cars running in the 11s, the 10s, a couple in the 9s, and there was one that ran 8.04 at 178. Carroll said that these were closer to his philosophy with the original GT350 than any of the later Mustangs were. He did not like the big block cars because it threw off their handling balance, and he didn’t like luxury interiors. Carroll liked bare bones American cars that could run circles around cars costing three or four times as much on a road course. He kept an Omni GLHS as one of his personal drivers up until near the end of his life when he auctioned off his collection. These 2.2s are bulletproof little power makers. You can squeeze over 300 hp out of one and it’ll last forever. You can squeeze over 400 out of one and it’ll still last years. Once you get closer to 500 you’re talking about probably rebuilding it every season or two. When this car came out, Carroll issued a public challenge. If anyone who could bring any bone stock car on its style original tires out to Willow Springs Raceway and cut a faster lap than he could in a GLHS he would give them 50 grand. If they lost, he got their title. No one took his money. It’s a good thing it was 1986, because the Ferrari F40 came out in 1987 and would have roasted him.

      Like 5
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

        Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but I recall that the GLH cars were the first to use a low profile performance tire from the factory.

        Like 0
    • Smokey Smokerson

      Coworker has one that looks like it has never been driven. The only time we see it is when they hold the annual car show at work.

      Like 3
      • Todd Steichen

        I have the original OEM ground effects for this car and if the owner or whoever buys it, can have them.
        Still in the Mopar box.

        Like 3
    • Adam

      On the gas mileage side of things I had an 87 Shelby Daytona same driveline larger package that car got atleast 30 miles to the gallon on the highway everytime i checked it sporting 18 inch rims usually 2 people in it and this was when it was a 30 year old car getting the same fuel economy as my wife’s boring 2002 Honda accord sedan way more fun to drive and faster acceleration when the turbo starts spooling.

      Like 1
  2. Melton Mooney

    I kinda miss these days; when Shelby’s tiny turbo coupes with raging torque steer drove the global market for brown pants.

    Like 17
    • Philbo427

      For sure! I drove a friend’s Charger GLHS back in the late 80s and the torque steer practically ripped the steering wheel out of my hands when I was accelerating from a stop trying to make a left turn. Caught me off guard!

      Like 8
  3. Greenhorn

    I had a friend who had a regular GLH and he really enjoyed it. His only complaint was the really cheap interior bits , and the door handles. My father knew a guy that raced an S, and he had the quarter times down in the 11’s. I know they are high quality, but I love the way they look and they have a lot of potential.

    Like 7
  4. Jake Thenake

    Dodge Omni?? Don’t make me laugh…

    Like 0
    • Jim

      You’d be crying, not laughing, if you took one of these on. Fast little fun cars.

      Like 2
  5. Mitchell G.Member

    Take the roller, drop a Neon SRT4 drivetrain in it, build the Omni SRT4 that never was

    Like 2
    • Herbert

      But it will still have that rubbery shifter and pot metal door handles.

      Like 4
      • G Lo

        Both of these issues are easily remedied.

        Like 5
  6. Philbo427

    For sure the regular Omnis were nothing to write home about. The 80s were a dismal time in auto performance history but Shelby did what he could to spice it up. Imagine if he made a Shelby K-car variant? That would be nuts! I loved working on those K cars back in the 80s. They were so simple to work on.

    For what it was, these were a quick little cars and again this was the 80s. Long gone were the days of the 60s and early 70s performance. I remember when these came out one of the car magazines had a comparison between this car and I think like a 65 or 66 Shelby GT350. This car was quicker on the corners, but would get lost in the straightaways, but overall the performance did not disappoint. This car came from humble beginnings, but keep in mind before Shelby created the 289 cobra, the car that he used was just a little four-cylinder convertible. He had a way of making things go fast that was his business and he did it well.

    Like 4
    • SubGothius

      The Dodge Spirit R/T could be thought of as a quasi-Shelby K-car variant in all but name. It was basically a stretched and lightly restyled Aries K, with the Turbo III 16v engine and other tweaks clearly descended from what Shelby started with the GLHS and Shelby Charger

      Like 2
  7. Jay McCarthy

    I sold these new and they were a lot of fun to toss around although the torque steer was vicious on hard launches and the shifter was rubbery to say the least

    Like 5
  8. Car Nut Tacoma

    Awesome looking car. Although I was way too young at the time to drive a car, I remember cars like the Dodge Omni and the Plymouth Horizon. I’d prefer cars of the 80s any day to today’s cars. Although I was never a performance car guy, I appreciate a car that’s well-built and a good reliable performer on the road. If only more pics were posted on FB Marketplace. IMHO, there’s no such thing as too many pics.

    Like 2
  9. LynnMember

    Run away NOW

    Like 2
  10. Eric Haulenbeek

    “High Performance Build”? ROTFLMAO

    Like 0
    • Steve S

      ‘87 Shelby Charger. 2.2L FWD. 8.04 @ 178. You were saying?

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bCZ8NMPmICY&pp=ygUTc3RlcGhhbmUgYmVhdXJlZ2FyZA%3D%3D

      Like 6
    • Steve S

      Sorry. 174.

      Like 2
    • Steve S

      Right up to this day there are plenty of these cars running in the 11s, the 10s, a couple in the 9s, and one that went 8.04 at 174 mph. To this day, they also will compete on a road course with the overwhelming majority of cars. Yes, high-performance build.

      Like 5
  11. Robert Woodward

    I had a 1986 Omni GLHS and they were a blast to drive. Ran a 14.6 1/4 mile at the track. That was faster than stock GT’s and Z28’s. Miss that car. Good times

    Like 5
  12. PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

    As I have mentioned every time one of these appear here at BF: these were a blast to drive and I am never surprised at the naysayers – back then and now.
    It is part of the mystique of owning one – a true sleeper if there ever was one.

    Over 60 positive comments about a Dodge Colt twin stick when this car here, or the GLH-T that I owned back then would eat it and most other cars of the day for lunch always get blasted.

    Like 6
  13. Mike Jarman

    Luke- glad you corrected that fella. I had an 86 GLH that I set up for autocross. I consistently placed in the top three and won my local chapter with it. And yes I kicked GT mustangs in a straight line weekly. I’ve read articles where that little 2.2 can pump out over 400 horses with no problems. Wish I’d had the money to build mine like that but it was fast ’nuff.

    Like 2
  14. Kenny Jahnsen

    In Hot Rod magazine they tested the omni GLHS against the gt 350, and the GLHS was faster in every way. Later Shelby invited the gt 350 group to challenge the omni at I believe willow springs, and the mustangs were losing all day. Hot Rod also posted the actual tested quarter mile time for the GLHS was 14.3. Shelby said he was not trying to disrespect the gt350, he was mearly showing the capability of the GLHS.

    Like 5
  15. HCMember

    Just Why? Would any car guy want this thing?

    Like 2
    • Steve S

      Because they are as much fun to drive as anything you could ever own.

      Like 6
    • luckless pedestrian

      If you had ever driven one, you would know…

      Like 4
      • HCMember

        Luckless pedestrian, I would haven’t been caught dead driving in this 85 Omni 37 years ago, and certainly wouldn’t be today. Total POS from the day it was built.

        Like 1
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

        HC, your loss then.
        I enjoyed every minute behind the wheel on my GLH-T. It was fast, cheap, and fun!

        As for the POS statement, they made millions of the standard Omnirizon, so of course there are going to be bad ones, especially owned by the typical, never maintained, econobox owner. Those people spend zero dollars on maintenance and still harp on how much of a crapbox their car was.

        The GLH-branded versions had a completely different type of owner.

        Like 1
    • Steve S

      You clearly know nothing about them and shouldn’t be commenting. When these were new, nothing that didn’t cost three or four times as much could hang with one on a road course.

      Like 2
      • Eric

        Oh please…

        Like 0
      • HCMember

        Steve S, I know enough about them to know they were and still are, crap cars. Those and many other similar, foreign rice burners, that don’t belong on BFs.

        Like 1
      • luckless pedestrian

        Ha, ha… I had no idea that Chrysler’s Belvidere, Illinois factory and Shelby’s Whittier California shop where located on foreign soil… Silly me…

        Like 1
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

        HC, I guess you are technically right, this is not a Barn Find and doesn’t belong here, but I guess being in a Garage is close enough.

        So, I guess that means that we will be reading a lot more negative posts from you since most of the stuff here are not truly Barn Finds. That goes for all of the Boss 429s, “real” Shelbys, etc.

        Better buy a new keyboard.

        Like 2
      • Steve S

        PRA4SNW. That’s true. Almost no “barn finds” are found in barns. Some aren’t even inside. It’s just a universal term for a car that has been neglected/forgotten/abandoned or has otherwise been sitting somewhere for years.

        Like 2
    • Steve S

      No, you really know nothing about them.

      Like 1
      • HCMember

        And really don’t care to either.

        Like 0
      • Steve S

        At least you finally admit it.

        Like 1
      • Steve S

        Eric, Read The article Jesse posted. They went out to Willow Springs Raceway and put it up against a 65 GT350, that actually had some mods to the engine. The 65 GT350 was essentially a street legal race car. The GLHS handled it fairly easily.

        Like 1
    • James

      Because not everyone wants a Hardley Ableson.

      Like 1
  16. Luke

    This was my car. My dyno vids are all still online from like 15 years ago when it made 540. Car never hooked or was set up right but was a super fun/sketchy car.
    https://youtu.be/e8bJBOQCYKM?si=XZZmu7_iW0QJxfqs

    Like 0
  17. mr haney

    Ad says 1985 Omni GLHS was 1986 only, I went to facebook in the ad and never saw a car. Where is it? ID#? I used to own #311.So what is it?

    Like 0
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

      That’s what I recall GLHS was ’86 only, but I could be wrong.

      Like 0
  18. mike england

    my family use to have omni/herizons and i miss the little car & wish i could have again i love them both in the pictures

    Like 2
  19. Marques Dean

    Omnis and Chargers weren’t the only cars Shelby tinkered with. Remember the Shelby CSX? Dodge Shadow on steroids…and meth!!
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelby_CSX

    Like 1
    • Steve S

      They did a Shelby Lancer and a Shelby Dakota as well. All of these Shelbys were fun as heck to drive. More fun than anything else that was available at the time unless you had many times the amount of money to spend.

      Like 1
  20. TinIndy

    They were fast as the Dickens all right. I had a 1985 Trans Am with the 5.0 TPI and WS6 package back when these were new and lost the one of these by a pretty good margin. They only had 175 horses, but they weighed about as much as a shopping cart! My T/A had 205 HP but was a lot heavier.

    Like 2
    • Steve S

      Yes, they could beat up on a lot of the cars that were around at the time. I had a guy in a Corvette try and follow me up a mile and a half long stretch of very fun back road. He could start to reel me in on the straight, but when we got into the turns I would leave him in the dust. When we got out of the fun part and back out onto the regular straight road he pulled up beside me at the first light and asked me to pull over because he wanted to take a look at the car and find out what the heck I was driving that he couldn’t keep up with. He was pretty stunned to find out it was a 2.2L four-cylinder front wheel drive car.

      Like 2
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

      Even the GLH-T model with 146HP was fast enough to beat the current IROCs and T/As. It took a little doing, but was possible.
      I did it often enough.
      Never got a chance to try it against a GT 5.0.

      Like 1
  21. Luke

    I love all the haters out there saying what “belongs” on here 🤣 and whats junk and whats not. Guess what…..55 chevys are junks, all mustangs are junks, squarebody trucks are junks, AD era gm trucks are hot garbage (i own one that I daily) grand nationals were junks, all camaros were junks especially from 70 and up, model A’s were junks, model T’s junks, ALL corvette’s are junks, dont even get me started on mopars….yuck. Junks. There that should pretty much cover everyones picks on what “should be on BF” hahaha. The problem is there is a a** for every seat. Sometimes people appreciate different things. My 86 GLHS has been gone for over 12 years now but that car would tear up literally everything it encountered on the street/highway. That included vipers, vettes, mustangs, 1000cc streetbikes, “built V8’s”. You name it that car skated around them while doing 100+mph rolling burnouts. Sure it was just a junk omni but it embarrassed so called “muscle cars” or “fast” cars. 👍

    Like 3
    • Eric in NC

      My horse wasn’t junk. It died and became glue.

      Like 0
  22. Jesse JesseStaff

    It belongs on here…

    Like 2
    • OIL SLICK

      It does Jess. I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of negativity on here lately

      Like 1
  23. PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

    Car is now gone from FB Marketplace.

    Like 0

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