Just a Name: 1983 Shelby Charger

1983 Dodge Charger Shelby

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How many of you have recently purchased a brand-new car for the sole purpose of mothballing it for future sale? None of you? I’m shocked. Perhaps it was a generational thing, as the lackluster performance cars of the ’80s seem to pop up in almost unused condition with greater frequency than any other era of vehicles. With the exception of the Buick Grand National and perhaps a Saleen Mustang, there aren’t a ton of cars from the Malaise era that are worth much more than they were when new. That doesn’t make them any less fun to reminisce over, especially when graced with the signature of someone like Carroll Shelby. Check out this heirloom quality ’83 Dodge Charger Shelby edition here on eBay, with a BIN of almost $20,000!

Dodge Charger Shelby

Now I am certainly not one to throw stones and question the judgment of others when it comes to collector vehicles. There are cars that I picked as winners (I thought the Ford Taurus SHO was destined for stardom) that sure didn’t turn out that way. But I wonder how, when it becomes clear the vehicle in question hasn’t realized true cult status, why the owner doesn’t just start enjoying it and racking up some fair-weather miles? This Charger isn’t a bad looker, with an awesome Shelby-ized interior, great colors, and some of the best looking 80s Mopar wheels. Plus, it’s a 5-speed so you have the added enjoyment of rowing your own gears, which you might need to keep this Charger on the boil.

Shelby Charger Interior

A few weeks ago, we wrote up a cargo-friendly version of the Charger with our entry on the Rampage mini pick-up. What I’d love to see is the two combined into a Rampage Shelby edition. That would be the ticket, with style and space in abundance, not to mention the added power thanks to higher compression and a hotter camshaft unique to the Shelby models. But I suppose that would defeat the purpose of keeping this Charger to only 13,000 original miles, as what value it does have is tied up into the limited use it has seen in its 30+ years on the road.

1983 Dodge Shelby Charger

Although I am not an investor or anything approaching a speculator, it is fun to try and predict what the next great collector car will be. If you picked up a Porsche 356 in the early 90s, you’re sitting pretty now. Likewise, the BMW M3 of the late 80s has risen to near six-figure pricing for original, low-mileage examples, so keeping a car preserved in your garage can bring big rewards. But given how much of a guessing game it can be, the smart money seems to be on enjoying it rather than storing it, especially since the truly desirable cars will be worth good money regardless of what the odometer says. What do you predict the next “bubble” car to be? Let us know in the comments below. And if your a Mopar nut, stay tuned for the next post!

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  1. Jamie Palmer JamieStaff

    I had one of these in the late 90’s that was the exact opposite of this one…both in color and condition. It caught on fire once underhood…shouldn’t have put it out. That being said, when it ran, it was a fun little driver, and it cost almost nothing.

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  2. Mark

    Is it my eyes or is the left rear backing plate look like it is rusted through?

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  3. Rich

    Please let it be the BMW 2002 that rises in value. PLEASE!

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  4. Eric

    I had an 84 turbo and a friend had an 83. They were fun cars at the time. There were some Shelby only things done to them but 20k really.

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  5. Mark Reynolds

    I worked at Chrysler when these were new. A bit crude, granted, but they were fast, easily hopped up and cheap to buy and run. You can get all of these attributes individually today, but not this combination of them.

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  6. DolphinMember

    Ways I look at this…

    1) The presentation by a pro dealer is ‘perfect’. Everything and more is listed so you know almost everything about this car.

    2) What you don’t know is whether the car will perform $20K-worth for you. This ’83 Charger is rated at 107 HP, and a lot of cars have been built before and since 1983 that are cheaper now but perform as well or better on the road.

    3) What other cars or cars could you buy for that $20K that might be better or more satisfying than a 107 HP Charger and (mostly) cheaper?

    4) My answers to #3:
    – the Mk 1 Tiger from yesterday
    – the TR8 from 2 days ago
    – the ’69 GT6 from a week ago if the ownership doc comes through
    – the 1985.5 Mustang SVO from 1+ weeks ago if my offer of $4K were accepted
    – etc…

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    • jim s

      i hope you get the svo and keep us updated on it. there is/was a real low miles miata for sale on hemmings for a lot less then this charger.

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    • Brian

      I totally agree with the point your making, while this is an interesting find and it does take me back “to the day” when there was alot of excitment about a new Shelby street car model, these cars had a reputation that was less than perfect – they were, after all, just an Omnirizon with sport suspension and a turbo, which was kinda hard on this little 4 banger! Although it was pretty fast when it was new, we’ve come along way now! Almost any new sports sedan offers you more power than this in SE or less form. I also must agree that you could buy a car with alot more collectability and bankability for 20G.

      With that said, wouldn’t it have been fun to have been the guy who found this car tucked in a garage, covered in dust from two decades of sitting, with a “make me an offer” price? If you like the style, I bet there are still some plain-jane Turismo Dusters and Chargers in garages with sub 80k on the clock, still covered in dust that can be bought for cheap money. As I remember it, they were rather popular with older buyers back then. You can always throw a turbo at it found from a u-pull-it yard?

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  7. Dave Wright

    I agree with Dolphin. I too owned one of these cars when I was buying K cars for use in my company. I drove it for a couple of months until someone thought it was worth more than I did and sold it. The car was trimmed nicely, the only real advantage it had over a regular K was it was pretty slippery at speed. I remember a run from Fresno to Winnemucca and back one day to look at a Unimog that was for sale by the BLM…………peddle to the floor the entire way but fun. The Unimog was a great buy too

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  8. achman

    “The Shelby has a 0 to 60 time of 10 seconds flat and a 117MPH top speed.”

    For a lot less $ and a lot more go, I think my 1997 BMW M3 Sedan is a much better buy….

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  9. Jeff LaveryAuthor

    achman, I feel the same way! Though mine is an S50-equipped ’95, they’re still a great buy for the mixture of speed and reliability. Although, I find myself more and more liking my E30 better than the E36, and considering an older replacement…

    This car will still find a new owner, despite its flaws and puffed-out chest of badge-based confidence. There was a 15-year-old somewhere who thought this was the coolest damn thing this side of a Corvette. We may not understand it, but that doesn’t matter much when it comes to collecting what we love.

    Regardless, Chrysler sure threw a lot of ideas at the wall given the number of badge-specials and turbo’d econoboxes they churned out in the 80s.

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  10. Jim

    Mom got one of these when I was 16. They handle very well and are pretty zippy once you learned to ignore the massive torque-steer. I’m still in love with these wheels even though they are a pain in the ass to clean. The inner part of those holes have a pebbled finish that is a brake dust magnet.

    I’m surprised that the paint looks so good. The clear-coat started peeling off of ours within the first week after delivery and the dealer ended up repainting it twice.

    Also be prepared to replace the shift linkage. The part at the end of the stick that links to the shaft that goes to the tranny is some sort of cheap vinyl block that disintegrates rather quickly. Had that happen 3 times in 100K miles.

    Finally. Vapor lock. Jesus did this thing vapor lock. I’m sure it had something to do with a 17 year old kid who thought he was the next Nigel Mansell driving like a maniac in 100F summers but still. If it was hot and you really kept your foot in this thing you were sure to vapor lock it.

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  11. Vince Habel

    What is a 78 Monza Spyder worth now? I liked them much better than these. I would buy something new before this.

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  12. jim s

    listing has ended, last bid was $14800.

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    • Horse Radish

      …….and relisted with B.I.N. for $19,900 …or MAKE OFFER !

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    • Brian

      14.8k was a mighty generous offer – seller shoulda snapped it up!

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  13. tom999p

    If he doesn’t get his $ he should store it for another ten years; maybe they’ll be super valuable then. In the meantime, if he wants to drive one, he can buy a used one for $500 and drive it all day…

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  14. Pat

    I don’t have too much problem with this car.
    I had just read a article a few weeks ago about endangered cars of the 80’s
    and even though that probably wasn’t the most desirable era of automotive history
    it does show what styling was like, people could recall that car “back in the day”.
    I see cars in a “historic” object to be taken care of for future generations (if they care)
    and to be appreciated but not put on a pedestal as a “god”.
    Due to all the hype from the car shows on television the muscle cars and other desirable cars in favor, they are out of reach of most hobbyist!
    I do find it disheartening that the person that “loved” that car didn’t get to enjoy it more than that, but he probably believed that he was doing the right thing preserving it.
    It does show that that person had some since of collector cars “way back” then,
    so even though it’s not my type of car I do appreciate his effort!

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  15. tom999p

    I had an 80’s Shelby CSX-T Thrifty rent-a-car, it was the 80’s dodge equivalent concept to the Shelby GT350-H Hertz rent a car. Shelby had ads in magazines that you could rent a CSX-T for $35 per day from Thrifty and take it to the track and race it. They only made 1001, all numbered on the dash. About 300 exist today….

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  16. Horse Radish

    I cannot imagine why nobody, I mean really nobody, has stepped up and swoop away with this plastic econo-box with the name Shelby in the back window !
    If it was offered locally, I would consider it, if you scratched any of the 5 digits, but that’s about it.
    And that’s just, because it sounds cool to have a Dodge with a 5 speed (who would have thunk that such a thing even exists).

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  17. Peter

    I remember these well plus the 024. They were cheap then and they are still cheap.

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  18. andrew

    In Aust. the 1990 Holden SS commodore VN 5.0Ltr V8. They were the big tough aussie muscle car of the time. They’ve bottomed out in price now & i think next year when they turn 25yrs old they are about to see a resurgence even though i thought they were ugly back then & still think they’re ugly! Google “vn ss” to have a look.

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  19. PRA4SNW

    Hey, at least the guy drove it 13K miles and didn’t just store it. Should have been driven more, though. This was probably fun back in the day.
    In 1986, I bought new a Dodge Omni GLH Turbo. At 146 HP, it was a blast, and rated as one of the most fun cars I ever owned. It smoked IROC Z’s all day long, not that that is saying very much.

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  20. ConservativesDefeated

    An Omni trying to burp. Amazing

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  21. Sgt. Rock

    WOW…$20k… I guess I should spend $5 or $6 K and restore my ’87 Daytona Shelby Z and make few thousand! An I even have the original window sticker! (Or I could just have the fuel lines replaced and put a battery in it and drive it arouns as a “survivor” ….maybe new tires and brakes, just for safety’s sake.

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  22. John

    I had one exactly like this when I was in high school back in the late ’80s. My favorite thing to do with it was turn donuts in reverse! lol :)

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  23. Roger L Kuba

    I have a 1983 dodge Shelby in my garage now for over 15 years. I paid 2500 dollars for it and take it out on weekends. Love this car. It has some rust on bottom of doors and a little bit around front window. The car is so fun around corners . If you can hang on. Saving it for my grandson who is 8. Unless someone wants to give me 20 grand. LOL

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