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Humpty Dumpty: 1986 Shelby GLH-S

1986 Shelby GLH-S

Last night we had an affordable Maserati and this morning we have an affordable Shelby. Well, maybe. The seller mentions how great these cars were, that they were real Shelbys, and that this one only has 19,750 on the odometer. That all sounds good until you dig deeper. Turns out that the previous owner had used this as a parts car for his other GLH-S. So this one has the not-so-good parts from the other car. It has been pieced back together and is fittingly nicknamed humpty dumpty. Take a look here on eBay and let us know what you think. Thanks goes to Jim S for the tip!

Turbo Power

Most people think of Ford when they hear the name Shelby, but he did work his magic on a few Dodges too. Strangely enough the Omni hatchback was one of them. Only 500 were built and they all featured a long list of standard features and a turbocharged engine driving the front wheels.

Omni Interior

It was a quick little machine and the suspension tweaks did help it go around corners well. It may seem odd to see the Shelby name affixed to a little car like this, but you have to remember that hot hatches were hot at this point in time. The GTI had already shown Americans that a car could be economical, functional, and fun to drive.

GLH-S Intercooled

I like the concept of this car, but I’m not sure this is the one I would spring for. Seven grand is a lot to pay for a Frankenstein. There are other options out there in the 80s hot hatch world and I’m sure if you are patient enough, you could find another. That sounds like a good challenge actually. Can you guys find another one of these that is currently on the market? If so, please post the link in the comments below.


  1. Avatar photo Mike Astringer

    I totaled the non-Shelby version of this car (my Grandmother’s 1984 Plymouth Horizon) 12 days after I received my driver license on Tilton Road in Northfield, NJ. At the time it was the coolest car on the road (AM radio and all). That could have had a lot to do with the fact that I was the only one of my friends with a car to drive!

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  2. Avatar photo Walter Joy

    It’s the later one: Goes Like Hell S’More

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    • Avatar photo Mark-A

      Also “Goes Like Holy Sh*t!!” 😊

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  3. Avatar photo Sofakingfast
  4. Avatar photo rdc

    No love for this car for me. Never liked any version of this model and era Dodge. Dodge makes cheap products from my personal experience. Just sayin…

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  5. Avatar photo Danno

    Shelby 101: Stuff a hot engine into a basic car, go buy a new set of tires with a perma-grin. I wanted one of these when they first came out, there’s still a bit of longing whenever I see one up for sale. These weren’t meant to please, standing still.

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  6. Avatar photo mark

    There were 2 models of these. The GLH (Goes like hell) and the FLH (Faster than Hell). These are very quick cars and lots of people in their Camaros, Mustangs etc. were surprised when there doors were blown off by these 4 door pocket rockets.

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    • Avatar photo MM

      FTH – Faster than Hell. Mopar supercharged.

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  7. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    This kind of was the answer to the question no one asked. I had a Plymouth turbo mini-van, that did have a lot of power ( for a 4 cyl.) I just don’t understand why Shelby would modify this particular model. They were hot, but not for their performance image, just a reliable econobox, that you threw away when you were done with it. Shelby did make a nice mini-pickup, the Shelby Rampage, that I thought would be cool, but this, I’m afraid, you’d never shake that “econobox” image. http://i1.wp.com/hooniverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/31827050001_large.jpg?resize=720%2C540

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    • Avatar photo The Walrus

      Actually the ‘Shelby Rampage’ is a unicorn… it exists in mythology only. There was never any Shelby name applied to a Rampage from the factory. Because the Rampage was basically a Charger, all the Shelby Charger gear fits a Rampage. And there have been many conversions to that look (like the one in your link). The closest thing to an actual Shelby Rampage was the ‘California Special’ that had charger stripes and CS badging. Some dealers in CA called it a Shelby, but it was never licensed from Shelby American as such.

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      • Avatar photo dj

        A guy here would buy them new and swap over all the Shelby stuff to the Rampage for our local dealer. He did quite a few of them. They’ve been long gone now.

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  8. Avatar photo Andrew Minney

    This is basically a Sunbeam/Chrysler/Talbot we got in Europe and called Horizon. Only the Talbot versions were good cos they actually rallied them.
    That said a turbo package on this one plus the Shelby connection should make it better.
    Not for me though, too many bad memories!

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    • Avatar photo Boo

      They share the outer body shape but not much mechanically.. US Horizons were OHC engine (VW derived), Macpherson strut supension etc, where European ones were pure Simca under the skin.. OHV engines, torsion bar suspension.
      The rally car was the Talbot Sunbeam which was a very different RWD car based on Hillman Avenger mechanicals, though styled somewhat similarly to the Horizon.

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      • Avatar photo Andrew Minney

        Thanks Boo I did not know that about US Horizons.
        I had a Chrysler (Simca) 1301. Manky car but indestructible engine.
        Car broke up around me but the engine went on & on. Finally sold the car – with a small profit too!

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      • Avatar photo dave

        No yhe 2.2 and the 2.5 were MOPAR the 1.7 was the vw moter.

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  9. Avatar photo Paul

    I have never seen a listing with TOO MUCH INFORMATION until today. My gosh, talk about long winded and rambling on and on and on and on and on…lol get my point?

    Nice car though! Im a foreign car guy myself but have driven one of these and they will make you smile and giggle right from the first stomp of the gas pedal.

    I kind of like the 2 door Charger glh-s style better though….

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  10. Avatar photo Jim

    These were very potent little cars, but potentially dangerous. I wanted one, but knew better. I test drove a used one in gold; that thing had incredible acceleration, but when I got back to the dealership, there was anti-freeze all over the ground…no thanks. In the end, I bought a Plymouth Horizon with a standard 2.2L motor and a nice little trim package. Not a very reliable car after three years, but it had some serious stank with that five-speed on the floor. I took my niece out to learn to drive in it, and she lit the front tires up like a match…several times! BTW, Paul, you’re right…the eBay description was more like a documentary!

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  11. Avatar photo MH

    Very rare. Not many of these left. One of my favorite cars.

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  12. Avatar photo John K

    had a non-turbo version of Dodge Shelby Charger. Absolute junk. I wouldn’t touch any Shelby/Omni car.

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    • Avatar photo Rick

      I raced a non-turbo Charger in SCCA for a number of years, both in Showroom Stock and Improved Touring. The thing took a helluva beating and kept on ticking. On several occasions I accidently shifted into third instead of fifth at the end of the Mid-Ohio straight, threatening the limits of the tach. Kept on running. I can’t say a bad thing about the car. Won a few races with it as well!

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      • Avatar photo jim s

        any photos/video? what other tracks did you race at? thanks.

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      • Avatar photo Rick

        Only raced this car at Mid-Ohio (15 minutes from my house).

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      • Avatar photo jim s

        looks great, thanks for posting the photo. ITA was a fast group to race with.

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  13. Avatar photo Steve

    I fell asleep, woke up, forgot what the ad was about, remembered what it was found my musket was rotting and rusty, my beard is a foot long, and my dog is nowhere to be found. I returned to my village where I recognize no one. I discovered that my wife had died and that my close friends have fallen in a war or moved away. I got into trouble when I proclaim myself a loyal subject of King George III, not aware that the American Revolution had taken place. King George’s portrait in the inn has been replaced with one of George Washington. I was also disturbed to find another man called Rip Van Winkle. It is my son, now grown up.

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  14. Avatar photo Euroclassics

    That’s gotta be 119k not 19!!!! It would be much nicer

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    • Avatar photo Gnrdude

      I agree If you read the sellers Add it says it basically came to Him as a Basket Case, so chances are the ODO was replaced or came out of another car. It just doesn’t look like a Car with 19K Miles on it to me. More like 40-50K or more.

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  15. Avatar photo Andy

    I had an 84 Plymouth Turismo, basic 2.2L engine and a 3 speed automatic. I know from personal experience that car could hold the road like a slot car. Used to take a 90 degree bend in the road at 55 mph, and the back tires barely squeaked. Another time had a guy pull out in front of me, not 50 feet away, yet I was able to swerve around him and get back on the road with no problems. I had many a time where I would blow someway from a stop light, and they were stupefied that a little 3 speed automatic mated to a little 4 banger could blow away their big V8’s…

    I can only imagine what a blast a Shelby in one of these incarnations would be to drive!!! Oh yeah, I got 25/33 mpg all the time from that baby. Felt bad sending that to the junk yard with “only” 150,000 miles on it, but, typical dodge, it rotted away…

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  16. Avatar photo AMC STEVE

    Its 1989 and I was driving home from Indiana in my 87 Grand National on the toll road and this little black car blows by me. I put the hammer down and caught up to him and left him in the rear view.
    I stopped at the next toll and left the gate and the little black box shoots past me again. I again got past him with ease and left him in the dust. I set the cruise ar 65 and relaxed. All of a sudden the little shitbox blows past me again. This time I pulled up for an inspection up close. I saw no identifying markings but could tell it was an Omni or Horizon.
    I got even with the guy and motioned for him to hit it which he did. He kept up with m for a little while but I had to much for him and pulled away.

    This cat and mouse game kept going for miles and tollbooths till I got off on another route. I didn’t know what it was till yrs later and now I want one.

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    • Avatar photo PRA4SNW

      I used to do this to GT’s and IROC’s in my ’86 GLH-T (non-Shelby) that I bought new. That thing was fast, I wanted a GLHS but couldn’t afford it.

      I like this ad -yes it’s long winded but you have to appreciate the honesty. With 133 watching it right now, I imagine someone will click the Buy It Now button soon enough.

      You would get a decent car that’s been recently worked over, read the entire ad and you will know what I mean, sold by a real enthusiast.

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  17. Avatar photo Bo Wagner

    I loved my 1985 Dodge Omni GLH–was Blue, sported 50 series (factory) wheels and was a BALL to drive in the mountains. More than enough scoot (around 9 seconds to 60 I think) and made it to around 80-90K without serious issues. Now there were plenty of ‘cheap’ things about it (as a bottom-feeder Omni would be expected to have) and some quirks (like falling out of 3rd gear in the middle of a curve–not fun for snap oversteer) but all in all one of my favorite cars (and my first ‘new’ car). The S models (or any of the Turbo GLH’s) were well known for their torque steer–be ready for BOOOOST if you get one of those!

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    • Avatar photo PRA4SNW

      Yep, torque steer by the boat load, you had to learn how to drive this car.
      And yep, build and parts quality were atrocious.
      IIRC, the GLH was the first car to come out of the factory with low profile tires.

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  18. Avatar photo Victor Anderson

    These things are actually pretty darn fast for what year they were made in. It is actually faster than a Porsche – but uhh – no class whatsoever and the build quality not very good either.

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