Your Chance to Own A Shelby: 1986 Dodge Omni GLH-S

If you’ve just gotta have a Shelby, and you’re not keen on the modern Mustang versions, many of which have been made after the time of the iconic man’s death in 2012, this 1986 Dodge Omni GLH-S might be your ticket. It’s available here on eBay for the classified ad price of $24,900. You’ll find it in Fraser, Michigan.

If you’ve got that amount of money to spend on a collector car, and you don’t mind that car coming from the decidedly un-muscular 1980s, then you might find this appealing. The styling has worn rather well, with a VW Rabbit-Golf kind of Euro look. But note that you’ll proudly take this to car shows, and then you’ll endure the following questions from attendees: What kind of Shelby is that? Is it real? Why do they ask? Because there’s a general blank in the memory banks of enthusiasts, for whom car collecting stopped in 1974 and resumed again when the horsepower wars heated up a couple of decades or more later. If you can get past that, this car has 175 horsepower, not bad for the time. The engine is a turbo-charged, intercooled 2.2-liter 4-cylinder, with engine mods having been made at the Shelby shop along with other changes.

The other reason you might buy this hotted-up econobox, of course, is that you have a collection of Shelby cars and don’t want to miss one in the lineup. Think of what you’ll be doing by preserving this car: saving a part of history that might otherwise be entirely erased. The GLH-S was a one-year offering, legitimately modified in the Shelby skunkworks while “Ole Shel” was still active. Only 500 were produced, and each had a serial number and dash plaque. This one is #125 in the series. By the looks of the stuff in the hatch area (car mags?) perhaps an enthusiast owned this before.

As for the price—it would lead you to think this one must be low mileage. Nope—almost 110K have rolled underneath this Omni’s wheels. Who knows what the real history is, as the advertised AutoCheck report lists 52 notations. Might want to spring for that before you jump at the nearly $25K ask. You’ll also want to verify what work has been done to it, because the seller says zip about that, perhaps because he’s a dealer, who may have taken the car in from a source like an auction. For a Michigan car with a six-figure odo, it sure looks clean and shiny. There are no shots of the engine, unfortunately, or underneath. So it’s going to be a decision: There are only 499 more of these, and some of those must have succumbed to time. If this completes your Shelby collection, or if it’s the sum total of your Shelby collection, do the condition and mileage warrant the price?

Comments

  1. Chris

    Love it always wanted one

    Like 6
  2. JBP

    In Europe they was sold as Talbot. I dont hope the drivetrain and suspension parts have much in common with the Eu model. They where pos. Cars. Rusty and with engine sounding like a box of screws and bolts. Oh no.
    But they look a lot alike.

    Like 2
    • Carbuzzard Member

      Distant cousins. And this one spent a lot of time in the gym.

      Like 6
  3. Mikefromthehammer

    The dealer’s website has more pictures available (including interior, engine, and underneath).

    https://www.showdownauto.com/vehicles/792/1986-dodge-omni-glhs-shelby

    I’m trying to remember if my 85 Dodge Lancer (2.2 naturally aspirated, 5-spd) had a factory tachometer, but my brain seems to have sprung a leak on that memory. One thing that hasn’t escaped is what a turd it was when it came to things breaking. Twice the shifter cable snapped meaning the auto club had to tow me to the dealer. I wonder if this Shelby has the cable (or rod) shifter?

    Like 6
  4. alphasud Member

    I looked up the definition of torque steer and 2 pictures came up. One was the GLH-S and the other was my friends Yugo with a 1.3 Fiat engine with Weber side drafts. Both were effective tools and a hoot to drive. Like giving a surgeon a hatchet to do open heart surgery. Things are going to get a little messy. All kidding aside Carol Shelby created a potent weapon with the S version. Nothing else could touch the acceleration these had in that segment. I was happy with my Golf GTI which was a more rounded package and easier to live with.

    Like 3
    • Carbuzzard Member

      Torque steer? As a former owner of a GLH Turbo, I know these cars have strong enough power steering to keep the wheels pointed where you want them to go. Just hang on and aim. Don’t worry about the rear wheels. They follow along.

      Like 5
      • Cadmanls Member

        Using Willow springs International Raceway as their introduction location the Shelby group put the automotive press in a standard 1986 GLH. They were impressed but then they brought out the hammer, the GLH-S and later on the same track a restored and modified GT 350 went out on the track with that little monster and it was faster that the the old standard. Was able to corner harder and it out accelerated the V8 mustang. These were wicked fast cars and the Shelby American shop knew what they were doing using a modern platform. True pocket rocket.

        Like 1
  5. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful car! Although I was too young to drive a car at the time, I remember when the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon was on the market. At the time, I found the Omni GLH the best looking car of its class. I would’ve preferred mine with an automatic gearbox and all the instrument gauges a car needs to have.

    Like 1
    • Jack Gross

      The seats are not original as a GLH-S would have had cloth with the Shelby logo.

      The engine in these and the Talbot are not even distantly related and in fact, although they bear a similar look, are vastly different platforms https://www.allpar.com/threads/the-chrysler-horizon-talbot-horizon-and-simca-1100.228732/#post-1085222830

      The GLH-S were fast cars and in fact, any of these cars with the 2.2l were pretty quick in the day

      Like 4
      • nlpnt

        Steering wheel is off an older model, too, this should have one color-matched to the dash and without the exposed metal spokes.

        Like 2
      • Car Nut Tacoma

        I’ve heard of the Talbot Horizon, but for some reason were never sold as Talbot. Unless the Omni/Horizon were in fact Talbot, just renamed Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon in order to be sold here in North America (USA)

  6. David Infante

    Car mags of the time said the GLH stood for Goes Like Hell. The additional S on this model stood for “Somemore”.

    Like 7
  7. SaabGirl900

    Mike–

    Yes, the later L bodies had a cable driven shifter……I remember having to replace the cable in my GLH Turbo…but only once. Sorry to hear about your Lancer….my GLH was pretty bulletproof in the engine room. The tinworm eventually attacked my GLH and I didn’t have the cash at the time to repair the damage. Too bad, too….I still miss that car.

    And no, the Talbot had very little in common with the domestic L bodies. US L bodies used the VW sourced 1.7 litre engine, the Chrysler developed 2.2 and the 1.6 litre Peugeot engine that almost no one bought. I worked in a Dodge dealer’s service department in the early ’90’s when these cars were still plentiful on the ground, and never once saw one with the 1.6 under the hood. The gearboxes were Chrysler sourced and, if memory serves, even though the two cars look very similar, I do not believe that any of the body parts interchange (sort of like the Saab 9000 and its Type Four siblings).

    Torque steer was not an issue as long as you didn’t pancake the accelerator without having both hands on the wheel.

    I would not pay $25K for this car….missing its GLHS sticker on the right C-pillar, non-standard nomenclature on the decklid and, with 110K on the clock, it had better have service records. These cars were either pampered or beaten to within an inch of their lives, so without service records, you are really buying a pig in a poke.

    Like 9
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I’d buy an Omni GLH if I could find one near where I live and one that hasn’t been abused in any way or neglected.

      Like 3
    • Todd

      Exactly! All excellent points. I don’t think those seat covers are original either.

      • Car Nut Tacoma

        So what? Maybe the original seat upholstery was worn from years of use and possibly abuse and needed to be re-upholstered?

  8. SaabGirl900

    Now…..I wonder why they replaced the interior?? The carpet is either wicked dirty or it’s been replaced with one of the incorrect colour. I have to wonder if this one went swimming somewhere…..but I don’t see any evidence of a flood under the hood. The listing says “clean title”, but I wonder what I’d find if I ran the VIN through a database or two……………….

    Like 4
    • SubGothius

      Carpet colors can age weirdly, as some pigments degrade with heat and age more rapidly than others, leaving only the longer-lived pigments in the mix remaining evident — e.g., I’ve seen brown carpets turn green, black turned red, etc. Google Image Search turns up other GLH-S with black or faded-black/gray carpeting, some verging on the brownish hue seen here, so that’s probably what happened.

      The seats are definitely not stock, nor just reupholstered, as the stock Shelby buckets had cloth seating surfaces in a high-back style without separate headrests as seen here. I wonder what model they’re from?

      The exterior decals may also be replacements, suggesting it’s had a respray. Original decals had a gradient fade without any CS logos, whereas these are solid color plus blue CS logos.

      Also, technically the GLH-S (no “Omni” in the model name) is a true Shelby by marque, having been substantially assembled (not just “modified”) at the Shelby skunkworks in Whittier, not just a Dodge with Shelby parts/trim like the original Dodge Omni GLH.

      Like 2
  9. Sam Shive

    Sept 83, I came home from a World Cruise on my birthday. I drove everything on CAR DEALER ROW and ended up at the dodge dealer. Ended up with a NEW 84 Shelby Charger. Paid Cash and drove it right into the service bay to have the DIRECT CONNECTION Super Charger Installed. Fast Foward 2 years. BIGGEST POS Ever Put On 4 Wheels. In fact I wrote The Man himself and told him what a mistake he made putting his name on a mopar. I tried to trade it on a 86 dodge pick up and the dealer told me to take it across the street, HE DIDN’T WANT IT ON HIS LOT. I’ll walk on bloody stumps before another mopar sit’s in my drive way

  10. angliagt angliagt Member

    In 1986,a friend & I were manning the finish line at the
    KENO HILLCLIMB just out of Keno,Oregon.When you heard
    that a stock-classed car was coming up the hill,you knew it was
    going to be a long time before it would pass us.
    We were both shocked when it came flying by us!It was
    driven by Andy Anderson,who bought it on Thursday,& raced it
    on Saturday.He set a new class record,& got the first win for a
    new Shelby car in many years.He was also in a magazine ad.

    Like 2
  11. Larry

    First car out of college, factory ordered 1979 Flame Orange Omni with 4-speed, Rabbit engine. Nice for the $, nothing much better in the snow back then with it’s FWD. Useful storage with hatch and seat down. Traded it after 6 years and 100K+, still looked good, dealer very upset I insisted on filling in miles on title…

    Like 4
  12. Cadmanls Member

    Using Willow springs International Raceway as their introduction location the Shelby group put the automotive press in a standard 1986 GLH. They were impressed but then they brought out the hammer, the GLH-S and later on the same track a restored and modified GT 350 went out on the track with that little monster and it was faster that the the old standard. Was able to corner harder and it out accelerated the V8 mustang. These were wicked fast cars and the Shelby American shop knew what they were doing using a modern platform. True pocket rocket.

    Like 2

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