Modern Classic: 1989 Dodge Lancer Shelby

1989 Dodge Lancer Shelby

I can hear the comments now, It’s from the eighties! What is this – a used car dealership? What a piece of crap! Remember guys, we are all getting older. The 70s are the new 50s. Some cars from the 80s and 90s are even starting to appreciate so if we want to experience the good ones before they all go up in value, now is the time! A 1989 Dodge Lancer Shelby probably isn’t on everyone’s bucketlist, but there can’t be many left out there in good condition. This one isn’t perfect, but the mileage is low (67k) and it sounds like it’s ready to go. Take a look here on eBay where it’s listed for $3,100 and let us know what you think about this “modern” classic. Thanks goes to Jim S for the tip!

Chrysler Turbo Four

You may have noticed that we placed the word “Shelby” after the word “Lancer” in the title. That’s because these were built by Dodge in their own factory after Shelby built the Shelby Lancer in 1987. That one may be the Lancer to get, but this Lancer Shelby still benefited from an ungraded suspension and quicker steering.

Plush Accommodations

There’s also leather inside and a turbo-four out front. It may not look that amazing today, but I bet this was actually a very nice car when new. Does anyone remember checking this out at the dealer or maybe you actually owned one when they were new? If so, please let us know in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. Mitch

    I remember when the Shelby GLHS’s came out in 1987, & I read at the time several were buying 2, one to drive, one to put away in storage. I wonder if those owners still have them.

    • The Walrus

      The first year of GLHS’s was ’86. The Omni based GLHS’s were ’86. The Charger based GLHS’s were ’87. There were 1000 ’87’s and 500 ’86’s. You see about 1 Charger GLHS a month come up for sale on eBay, usually several owners into it with tons of miles. The ’86 GLHS’s, on the other hand, seem to generally have stayed in original owners hands. Seems like 2 or 3 a year come up on eBay with less than 20K miles and from the original owners.

      Like 1
  2. RayT Member

    Drove one of these when new — picked it up from Shelby’s shop in CA — and, after a week’s driving, was definitely of two minds about it.

    The horsepower boost and suspension upgrades were definitely nice, but the car itself exuded cheapness despite the leather seats. Too many low-buck trim pieces and plenty of sloppy assembly. Certain parts Shelby’s people couldn’t upgrade, like the shift linkage, were not equal to their counterparts in contemporary Hondas, VWs, etc.

    But it was quick! At the price, there was nothing quite like it. Today, I think I’d find it less attractive. It would need to offer substantially more performance to offset the mediocrity of the basic car.

  3. Matt B

    Yep, a best friend in high school had one, although just a Lancer turbo. An automatic, but still surprisingly quick for the time. My grandfather had a Caravan and was a huge Chrysler fan, but once I found out they had a turbo version of that, I was smitten and begged my dad or him to get one.

  4. Tirefriar

    Much better choice than the K car posted here few weeks ago for about the same scratch. Yes, it is cheaply made but you will be hard pressed to beat the bang for the buck value. I prefer black leather interiors because they look better and last longer, at least in those cars that I owned

  5. grant

    My sister dated a guy who drove one of these. When she dumped him the little douchetard cut across the corner yard, and wiped out the mailbox and a tree. Ran off and left the car. Tried to say it was stolen…. hahaha.

  6. Bob's your uncle

    The first thing that comes to mind when I see one of those are cracked heads. Right between the valves. I owned two, one Chrysler, one Dodge. We didn’t have the Dodge long enough for the head to crack, but it was a common thing by the time the Chrysler started spewing steam.

  7. Ed Taylor

    I’ve seen these before, still love them. I still drive my 89 Shelby Daytona every chance I get!!

  8. LD71 :D

    I bought the original Shelby Lancer in ?87? I was racing for a Dodge dealer in CT, bought it new after a test drive at Lime Rock. Most memorable is the hard suspension and the first car with a CD player standard. The combination didn’t work so well, going over a big bump would jar the CD player into a skip ! Fun to drive as first turbo I owned and held the road pretty well. But this series production 89 doesn’t seem like a Find LD71 :D

  9. The Walrus

    The ’88 and ’89 Dodge Lancer Shelby’s are much rarer than the ’87 Shelby Lancer. There were 279 built in 1988 and 208 built in 1989. This is compared to 800 ’87 Shelby Lancers (approx. 400 automatic/leather cars and 400 5-speed/cloth cars). The ’88’s and ’89’s are much better cars than the ’87s’s for a couple of reasons.

    First, the ’88’s and ’89’s had Chrysler Turbo II blocks, which were designed for the added boost associated with the intercooler. The ’87 Shelby’s were a converted Turbo I, which is not as robust.

    Second, all ’88’s and ’89’s had the Getrag 5-speed, a transmission again designed for the higher torque and horsepower of the TII engine. The ’87’s had either an automatic or 5 speed designed for the Turbo I. Chrysler, because of the warranty, never designed/sold an automatic for the Turbo II.

  10. Timmay

    I bought an ’89 Lancer Shelby in ’94, with about 73K miles on it. Original window sicker was $18K, five years old and I got it for $5K. I loved the car, seats were comfortable, the Infinity stereo sounded great, and that 200 lbs/ft pulled hard. It could cruise pretty well at 120 mph, too. Unfortunately, the suspension design left a lot to desire, and didn’t react well at the limit, so it didn’t survive a corner.
    Many years later, I picked up an ’88, installed a heavier clutch, upgraded the bushings and shocks, swapped in a 4-wheel disc brake setup from a Daytona, and a set of larger wheels. That made a HUGE difference, and it was the best handling car I’ve ever owned. It helped I also installed the Daytona seats with power lumbar support.
    If Dodge had put a tiny bit more effort into this particular model, it might have been a contender.

  11. Steven J

    I BOUGHT THIS CAR!!!

    Flew in to Boston and drove it home to middle Missouri. The car handled very well but began to overheat just before coming into St. Louis – bad head gasket; a typical issue. Besides that, the car is very comfortable, steering is sharp and responsive, and the handling belies its size – in the ‘large’ category when new, but now about the size of a new Honda Accord!
    I owned an ’87 Shelby Lancer and loved it; the great thing about this car is that I can ‘modernize’ it (remote door locks, upgraded stereo, suspension, etc.) and not worry about ruining a ‘true’ collectable. I love the looks – still holds up.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Cool, Steven — post some pictures and keep us informed!!!

      • Steven Jepson

        Here you go!

        Like 1
  12. Tirefriar

    What did you end up getting it for?

    • Steven Jepson

      3100.

  13. Serena

    My mother bought a 1989 Shelby Lancer brand new she said it was fast I think she loved it because it is still in her yard, it doesn’t run she thinks it maybe worth something someday, is ot?

  14. Brendan

    My parents bought one of these new in white. Later, it was my first car in 2000 when I was 16. I only drove it for three months before I slid through a slick corner after a thunderstorm and flipped it. Don’t entrust your rare, overpowered torque-steering cars to 16 year olds. RIP Lancer.

    I wonder if that red is the original paint. Ours had what we were told was the CalEPA-approved paint and it all started to fall off at around age seven.

  15. ken stone

    I’m looking for an 87, 88, 89 mostly for exterior parts, whether running or not. I’ve got an 89 Lebaron gts that is my daily drive but the body is in rough shape. If any one reading this knows of either a GTS or Lancer, please contact me at kendime@aol.com

  16. KP

    I had the Chrysler version an 89 Le Baron GTS Turbo, fast for the day. By 1989 they solved most of the torque steer problems. The only complaint we had was with the wide tires it had poor turning radius. One of the cars I wish I had kept.

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