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Is It A Classic? 1986 Dodge Shelby Charger Turbo


If I told you that reader Charles H. had found a factory high-performance edition car with 39,000 original miles in mint condition with connections to Carroll Shelby, you’d be thinking high-dollar classic, wouldn’t you? Let’s see what you think about this 1986 Dodge Shelby Charger Turbo, which is located in Westland, Michigan and is up for sale here on craigslist for $5,800.


The third owner acquired the car from a Chrysler executive; according to the seller both previous owners worked for Chrysler. The car has always been stored under cover; I can believe this as the non-turbo version that I owned in the early 1990’s already had oxidized paint from exposure to the elements. I remember it being great fun for a little economy car and the hatchback made it pretty useful as well. It holds the distinction of being the only car I’ve ever purchased where the air conditioning really only did need to be charged; one added can of freon kept the a/c ice-cold for the two years I had it! This car is wearing non-original aftermarket wheels, but the owner says the originals are included with the sale.


The 1980’s interior really dates these cars; you can just barely see the “CS” monogram on the top of the seat backs. The economy origin shows in the dashboard, but this car was about going quickly (for the time) on a budget. Personally, I really like the interior, but I certainly see how it could be polarizing. Regardless of whether you like it or not, this one certainly looks to be in nice shape.


It’s a shame the owner didn’t include pictures under the hood; I hope it’s been kept up as nicely as the exterior and interior cosmetics. I’d have room for this one in my barn; what about you? I don’t know how much interest there is in these Dodge “Shelbyized” cars as collector items, but I’d mount some new tires on the original wheels and have a great time! And where else can you find a low-mileage Shelby for less than $6,000?



  1. dj

    Some say tomato, some say tomatto. I liked them but a lot of folks hate their guts. That’s too much for it. I was looking at a maroon one here with the sunroof for $350 but the decklid was rusted out. Where would you find that at? I passed on it. By the way, 793 were made blue for 1986.

    Like 0
  2. Marty Member

    Amazing how gone from the face of the Earth these are now.

    Like 1
  3. The Walrus

    I often hear how ‘cheap’ the Shelby-Dodges are. How they won’t be collectible, etc. Apparently nobody remembers that the Mustang of the 60’s was a ‘cheap’ car too… based on the Falcon, its materials of construction/fit and finish were low end. I don’t think this is a terribly high price for a low mile example. However, if you could find an ’83 & 1/2 non-turbo for the same money it would have better investment potential.

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  4. JW

    A friend who lived with me and the wife in the 80’s bought one new. I taught my wife how to drive manual transmission with it. Nothing like the original Shelby’s but for the times it wasn’t bad.

    Like 1
  5. Chris

    A classic is whatever you have fun maintaining and driving. Several years ago when I didn’t have much money I bought a tired 442. Got it running pretty well and had a lot of fun taking it to shows. It was not a great car, but OK. I was really bummed one night when I heard a couple of a holes talking about all the problems with it. I think guys like that ruin this hobby. It is cool to see cars like this Charger at shows, I almost completely forgot what they looked like. I am very fortunate now, and have built out a nice collection, but I still have that tired 442. Ironically it is the fastest car in my fleet, and I am currently interviewing resto shops to go completely thru it. I’ll never sell it.

    Like 3
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Chris, thanks for sharing. You and others like you share my view. 😀

      Like 1
    • dj

      Thanks for sharing Chris. A classic and collectible is what you want it to be. One with fond memories or one you wished you had when you were a kid. People would think I’m crazy for having 25k and 4 years of my time in my 1930 Chevy. Sure I could have bought one for 8k already done. But it wouldn’t have been the one my grandpa had.

      Like 1
    • Louie

      Nice GSX

      Like 0
      • Chris

        Thanks guys. I love Barn Finds! I must waste 20 minutes a day reading all the finds.

        Like 1
    • Cattoo CattooButt Member

      You have one of my if not the dream car, the envy of my eye sitting there in Saturn Yellow. Pure beast that Buick GSX.

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      • Chris

        Just got the GSX about 4 months ago. Very hard to find a 4 speed, its an original 53k mile car, original paint. Found the build sheet in the A-pillar too. Sometimes you get lucky…I’ve wanted a yellow GSX since I was 5 and had the hot wheels.

        Like 2
    • Zach Huffman

      Nice car!! One of my dream cars is a 1990 Quad 442. I know they’re not what the old ones were, but given the power to weight ratio, they can kick some a$$!

      Like 1
  6. Kevin

    hmmm the price isn’t to bad.

    Like 0
  7. juwald knightlly

    these old Chargers were fun in early to mid eighthties, looked good, ran ok,
    decent interiors, you had to maintain them, though, not most reliable, great graphics
    fun rides, they have vanished !

    Like 0
  8. Jason Houston

    History is history… So, Shelby built little squat-boxes like this – hey – it’s history, like it or not. This is another example of a rare, nice original 1980’s car that should have caught on a long time go.

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  9. jim s

    i think the seller should post some more photos. it does look like it could be a driver and if the miles are right could be a good deal. great find.

    Like 0
  10. HeadMaster1

    These were NOT real Shelby’s, these were Dodge’s licensed to use the “Shelby” name……Shelby DID build cars like this, at his own factory (GLHS, CSX, Shelby Dakota)……The REAL Shelbys had serial numbers and unique suspension, brakes engines….This car is a Dodge Charger with a Shelby trim package…..still a fun little car, but as an investment, get one of the Shelby built cars.

    Like 0
  11. piper62j

    Not bad looking.. Nice interior and has the Shelby attitude.. I like it and the price is right on..


    Like 0
  12. Keith

    As much as I would like to NOT admit it, back in 1987 one of these Shelby Charger Econo Boxes spank me in a red light to red light encounter. I was driving a 1986 5.0 Capri and this Shelby GLHS turbo got me by several car lengths! After that little episode I installed a 150HP nitrous kit and 4.10 gears in my Capri. Never found the dude again with the Shelby for a re-match. Ahhhhhhh those were the dark days of humiliation, I still cringe to this day at that defeat!…….LOL. P.S. Now that I got that off of my chest I STILL DON’T FEEL ANY BETTER!

    Like 2
    • Richard V

      Kieth, isn’t it interesting how those events stick with us after all those years! I have similar stories.

      Like 0
  13. Mark S

    I had the Plymouth counter part, the torismo mine was a 2.2L engine with a manual, I want to say 5 speed but may have only been a 4 speed interior was really good when I got it but the paint job was falling off. My brother in law worked in the aviation industry and brought me home some very bright red two part aviation paint. That car had one of the shiniest finishes I’d ever seen on a respray. It looked great and was still shining when I gat rid of the car 5 years later. The one thing I can say is that Holley carb wasn’t great on warm up but after that it ran well, I used to drive the crap out of that car and it was still going strong when I sold it. It gets a pass in my books.

    Like 0
  14. Karl

    These were too close to a K-car in the family tree to interest me. Wisely I instead chose the Dodge Conquest (Mitsu Starion) at the time. The paint fell off it in the Texas sun, but otherwise the 140K miles were nearly flawless.

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  15. Doug Towsley

    I have not seen any of these in many years, When I was in the air force, i knew several people who owned variations of these. One lady i dated briefly had one in red? I vaguely recall it was a maroon color. A Staff Sgt I worked with was a die hard mopar guy and had a hotted up one of these. As I recall it was the same color scheme. I rode in it a couple times and was surprised at how fast it was, even more importantly, It seemed to handle well. He scared the crap out of me on some corners i never would have dared to go that fast. The thing was like on rails. Far better than my old creaky 60s and 70s era hot rods.
    It was very hard to be enthused about any factory “performance” cars in the mid 1980s but I was impressed with it. This thing wouldnt be on the top of my list to acquire, but it sure does bring back a lot of memories. Thanks for posting it.

    Like 0
  16. LD71 :D

    These were used as showroom stock cars in SCCA racing back in the day. A friend bought one brand-new, he drove faster than anyone I knew…on the way to work – most of us left it for the track.
    The car was just a few weeks old when one day a cop and tried to pull him over.
    He turned off the road onto a windy shortcut. A downhill very sharp right turn caught him out, he went off the road and did a pretty fair amount of damage.
    Being such a new car parts were scarce so the car was under repair for what seemed like months. Somehow he kept his license and eventually enjoyed this car and many others. Sadly, he was on the 9/11 plane downed in Pennsylvania. It’s always good to think about him so I appreciate this listing. LD71 :D

    Like 1
  17. Jim

    If it’s good enough for the Shelby Museum, it’s ok with me.

    Like 2
  18. shawn

    i just found one for 8000 with only 22000 miles its mint and im getting it…black and silver

    Like 0

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