Rare Mashup? 1981 Shelby Charger Convertible

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

I don’t know where to start with this one. Is it a viable car or just parts? And, it’s a custom convertible at the same time. The seller states it to be a barn find parked for 25 or 30 years but also claims to know little about it. There’s a lot going on here so let’s unravel this listing and see what’s what. The car in question is a 1981 Shelby Charger convertible, located in Taylor, Michigan and available here on Facebook Marketplace for $1. Yup, unless it’s a big misprint, it’s a buck.

The ’80s Dodge Charger (1981-1987) was intended to be a sporty version of the Dodge Omni. It upped its game in 1983 when Carroll Shelby lent a hand in creating a hopped version and the Shelby inspired variant proved to be a sales success with about 72K units rolling out the door. Shelby also had exclusivity for 1,000 specially modified, Shelby Charger GLHS high-performance models but that’s another story. One thing that is certain is that neither Dodge nor Shelby’s operation offered a convertible version but then sometimes a convertible is just a Sawzall away. Oh, and the biggest disconnect? This Shelby Charger “convertible” is listed as an ’81 model even though Shelby didn’t get involved in the Charger project until part of the way into 1983. And the front clip looks more like an ’87 Shelby Charger, a model year typo perhaps? We would need the VIN to know for sure.

Whatever the case, this ’81 Charger is pretty clapped out. The seller claims that the engine, which if this Dodge is an ’81 model, should be an 84 HP, 2.2-liter in-line four-cylinder motor, has only experienced 35K miles. That doesn’t add up based on appearances but with the mismatch between the stated model year and the Shelby production commencement, who knows what the engine really is.

The seller does state that he’s selling this Charger for parts and references it as, “Shelby bucket seat(s) interior Good tail lights, good rear facial bumper”.  It’s also stated as being “unmolested” even though the roof has been removed – seems incongruous. But wait a minute, searching around, I found a reference to 1981 and 1982 Dodge Omni/Chargers that have undergone a topless conversion with one source stating that as many as twenty-five were created. By whom or how was not disclosed though here is a 1982 example referenced. Any of our BF readers who can shed some light on this potential rarity, please advise. Anyway, seeing this Charger convertible immediately reminded me of a ’78 Camaro convertible that I spied on the Jacksonville beltway about 30 years ago (and no, Chevrolet did not offer a Camaro convertible in ’78). The two dudes piloting it, who looked like they were headed to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, were having a grand old time in this trashed out Chevy that had had a permanent roof removal. The body flex was crazy, I was surprised that the subframe didn’t just separate from the rear portion of the car right in the middle of the expressway. Clearly, it was a back-yard conversion. It’s hard to say how this Dodge with its “hand convertible top” was modified but it’s probably past the point of relevancy.

So it’s $1. Or maybe the seller had to include a price of $1 just to get his listing posted and the parts are being sold, ala carte with individual prices. This is clearly an “inquire within” sale if one has an interest. Just remember, however, the seller’s final statement is, “I don’t have any info on the car”. Good luck!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Jim

    This car would look best in the crusher.

    Like 11
  2. Big_FunMember

    “Either that car goes, or YOU do!” Said ( insert wife, dad, mom or landlord’s name here)…

    Like 10
    • Steve R

      If he can get someone to buy it he doesn’t have to pay to have it towed away.

      Steve R

      Like 4
  3. Will Fox

    “Hey maw! Looky at what I done cooked up out in the back yard!”

    Like 3
    • jeffro

      Would of been better to cook meth in the back yard than this thing!

      Like 0
  4. Jay

    The Rampage in the garage is better

    Like 3
  5. Mark

    Remember the promo model cars with the molded chassis the body was screwed to?
    And how it looked after you took it apart and set the body back down on it backwards?
    Yep, same result in full scale here.

    Like 2
    • JC

      I did that when I was a kid, too!

      Like 0
  6. ras_austin

    THIS is the garbage that should have been a candidate for Cash for Clunkers in 2009.

    Like 6
  7. KEVIN

    seems over priced

    Like 12
  8. Steve BushMember

    For once, an old rusty POS Mopar priced right.

    Like 3
  9. MitchellMember

    Best I could do is tree fiddy

    Like 1
  10. William Shields

    Why do I feel the creation of this car started with that famous phrase;

    “Hold my beer!”

    Like 2
  11. Superdessucke

    This is the result of too many Busch Lights and too few brain cells is what this looks like. Ugh!

    Like 3
  12. nlpnt

    If this was a commercial conversion I’d think it’s an ’81 that had been reworked with later Shelby body trim at some point. The end of those aftermarket conversions came pretty quick once the official factory convertibles came back, beginning with Chryco in ’82.

    Like 0
  13. Ralph

    I know where to start, at the scrapyard

    Like 0
  14. Arthur

    If the body shell is still straight, I’m thinking that this Shelby — if indeed this IS a genuine Shelby — should get a new roof similar to the one found on the Dodge 024. I always thought these L-Body sports cars looked better as coupes than convertibles.

    After the installation of a new roof, I could see this car as a candidate for a Hellcat swap. A strong custom chassis would be needed to make it work, however.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds