Turbo Hatch: 1985 Dodge Shelby Charger

1985 was a good year for fans of the Shelby-ized Dodge Charger. Following an introductory offering that largely focused on suspension improvements, ’85 saw the turbocharged engine option materialize with performance that could match its upgraded handling chops. This example has had lots of maintenance thrown as it recently, but the seller says he’s moving it along for the next owner to finish. Find it here on eBay with bidding approaching $2K. 

The Shelby Charger shows a fairly straight body, although the seller notes the presence of rust along the rear wheel wells. The body is far from perfect, but it’s clean enough to be the foundation for a driver-quality restoration. The maroon paint with silver stripes reminds me of the Saab 900 Turbo we just featured, and I’m torn as to which car wears it better.

The steering wheel is certainly more attractive in the Saab, but it’s hard to top the overly-bolstered sport bucket seats found in the Shelby Charger. Despite close to 100,000 miles on this example, the cabin remains quite clean and we’re always happy to see a manual transmission inside a turbocharged car. The accommodations are spartan, but you’re here to drive, not count cupholders.

The seller has tackled some sizable maintenance jobs on this example, including a fresh head gasket with new head bolts, and rebuild the turbocharger. The brakes and components like the MAP sensor and idle motor have also been freshened up. There’s a lot to like here, as this Shelby Charger strikes me as an honest car you can simply use and enjoy or take to the next level with a total restoration.


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  1. Miguel

    This would be a fun car to put around in if the price stays low.

    Like 4
    • Miguel

      I was getting those messages, but not today.

      You guys are still getting them?

      I clicked the link and then went back and it let me in.

      Thank you by the way.

      Sorry, I spoke too soon. I just got that message again.

      Like 3
  2. edh

    Back then good for a fun time but not for a long time, but now the performance would be bested by almost any car.

    Like 3
    • Billy007


      Like 1
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    ….. back when there were minimal, or perhaps no, controls on the steering wheel…..

    Like 3
  4. Lynn Dockey Member

    U needed really long fingers to work the hi-lo switch on the column and keep ur hand on the wheel.

    Like 1
  5. Rx7turboII

    Love these cars! Had an 85 GLH turbo as my first car in 1986 and loved every minute of driving it! On a side note, you won’t see me very much here on barn finds anymore since they are limiting views and forcing memberships..i love and appreciate what you guys at barn finds do here but not enough to pay $10.00 a month for it. Guess I’ll have to be choosey what I read now…😪

    Like 19
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      @Rx7turboII – What would you be willing to pay for access to the 500+ stories we crank out every month?

      Like 2
  6. Rick A. Loera

    Yes. Ten dollars a month is a bit steep for this. Everyone on you tube seems to have an account where you can donate. Also, Simple Radio has multiple stations which also ask for donations. If I had to pay for all the content that I look at I’d be broke. I guess if push comes to shove it will be back to antenna tv.

    Like 11
  7. Ike Onick

    A “turbo hatch”. Does that mean it opens really quickly?

    Like 4
  8. Lynn Dockey Member

    No it means that the bearing goes bad and then the hatch doesn’t open at all.

    Like 2
  9. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Last week I donated to Wikipedia again, painless. Just one less beer for the month.

    Like 4
  10. John G.

    I owned an 83 1/2 Shelby in 1984. In its day it was fast (they had ads that 0 to 50 faster than a Porsche), handled like a slot car, and had enough unique looks that it would draw attention wherever it went. I drove it, autocrossed it and enjoyed the car. The interior was genuine Chrysler quality of the day and it road so hard that about every 6 months I tightened all of the screws on the trim because they would all loosen and start to fall out.

    I then traded it for an 87. The 87 Turbo was faster, more comfortable, a bit better quality interior, also a sunroof, louvers, and 5 bolt wheels made it feel better. But honestly, it never had the ‘character’ of my 83 1/2. While it still had the rough edges, it just missed the overall feel of the non-turbo cars. After I bought it, I had wished I had kept my 83.

    And as most have said, most cars today would run circles around it. I think my daughter’s 2011 Fiesta could outrun, outhandle and certainly last longer than my Shelby – but in its day – it was a pretty cool car for a low entry price.

    • Lynn Dockey Member

      I owned an 83 and it looked cool. Not much good to say on the mechanical side.

      Like 1
      • exartist

        Yep, same here. Mine left me stranded on the side of the road (usually in the winter) more times than I care to remember. I called it my Pentastar Jaguar: it ran well, WHEN it was running.

  11. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Having owned an ’86 GLH-T, this would be $2000 worth of fun.

    Like 2
  12. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    We tried the donation thing and guess what happened? No one donated. Come on guys! Some of you literally spend hours on here every day and you think $2.50 per week is a rip off?

    Like 4
    • Carstories Member

      Really? How many hours of enjoyment do you guys get out of this site each week, and you expect it to be free?

      Man, I gotta say, I have witnessed a lot of complaining on here over the years, about various different things, but it’s really difficult for me to believe that grown men would actually whine about spending a piddly 33 cents a day for all the enjoyment these stories bring us, as we unwind and enjoy reading them.

      Jesse, to me, it’s well worth the price of admission and I will continue to help you meet the expenses, as long you have this site up and running.

      Thanks for bringing us these stories to enjoy each day. Take care.

      Like 3
    • BMW4RunninTundra

      I have been a member for a while. So, all the things that are being complained about, I had no idea where taking place. Honestly though, what did you expect? These guys bust their tails, offer an awesome platform, and were doing it for basically free for……… however many years! They even tried selling swag to try and raise money! I will step out of my box and say I am disabled and live on a limited income. To me, it is about priorities. (and education, I have learned tons) This site is different everyday!
      Thanks Guys!!!

      Like 2
  13. Stevie G

    Jesse, I recently discovered Barn Finds. I absolutely love it. I know that what you do running this site is time consuming. Your time has value. And for $2.50 for a week of entertainment is VERY cheap lol. Unfortunately for me, I just bought a new Harley Davidson. I worked @ the dealership I bought it from & got a great deal on it, 25% off. Here it is, 10 days later, and I was let go from that dealership. Yes, I am starting a new job Monday, & I will be making more money. But for now, until I can start collecting checks (1 week off work, plus having to wait one extra pay period because of my first check being withheld), I can’t even afford that $2.50 a week for now. Christmas will be late this year in my household. Not everyone is being cheap. Sometimes there are economic reasons. I will too join when I am caught up. For now, I apologize for abusing the system. Had I known I would have been unemployed as of this week, I still would have bought the bike…it was too good of a deal lol.

    Like 1

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