Shelby Dodges: 1986 Shelby GLHS

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Sorry for the interruption, but the Dodge Deora post led to a 6,500 word rabbit hole that ended up at the Buick GNX and an upcoming interview with Mike Alexander, of the famed Alexander Brothers Custom Shop. Wrapping that up and a massive post on obscure show cars means I’m going to have to cheat on this post and rely on Wikipedia and Allpar. I did track down a period Car and Driver test from 1986:

Thanks to what feels like a V-12 under the hood, the Shelby in sedan clothing will knock the stuffing out of most of the V-8s on the road. It zips to 60 in a mere 6.5 seconds, then keeps right on charging to a 130-mph terminal speed. The athletic GLHS has the legs of a sprinter and the wind of a miler.

Wikipedia stuff after the break (check Allpar for accuracy).

The ‘1986 Shelby GLH-S’ was a modified Dodge Omni GLH, with changes made at the Shelby factory. They were retitled as Shelby Automobiles cars sold at select Dodge dealerships. GLH stood for “Goes Like Hell” and GLHS stood for Goes Like Hell S’more. Just 500 were made.

Edit: The GLH-S originally stood for Goes Like Hell Shelby. Over the years it somehow changed to “(and then) Some”. In the #4 issue of The Shelby Times (1986) there is an interview with Carroll Shelby starting on page 7. In it he is quoted as saying “The first one we’ll build is the GLH Shelby which is based on the Omni and, if you can believe it, that car is going to sell for less than eleven thousand dollars.”

Dash plaques used a 3-digit serial numbering system (as only 500 were made).

The Turbo I engine was modified with pre-production pieces from what would become the Turbo II inline-four engine. These changes included an intercooler and other changes to produce 175 hp (130 kW) and a flat 175 ft·lbf (237 N·m) torque curve. Not included were any of the durability changes to the short block (forged crank, full floating pin, stouter connecting rods, etc.) of the 1987 Chrysler Turbo II engine. Luckily, the Shelby engines have proved to be reliable even without the durability enhancements of the production Turbo II. Performance was impressive, with just 6.5 s needed for 0–60 mph (97 km/h) and 14.8 s for the quarter mile (402 m) run. Top speed was 130 mph (209 km/h).

Shelby Automobiles received the first T-2 induction pieces (prior to Dodge/Chrysler), and installed them on the 500 GLH cars that shipped to the Whittier factory. Engine mods. included: New T-2 fuel rail, T-2 injectors, wiring harness, larger throttle body, bigger turbo, tuned intake & exhaust manifolds, intercooler/rad. & fan assemblies, induction hoses, T-2 airbox, GLHS specific logic module, CS-Shelby-CS windshield decal, & tape graphics pkg. Interestingly, there was a Dodge emblem left on in production. A black/yellow overlay sticker was placed at the bottom of the speedometer to read to 135 mph (217 km/h). A Momo leather-wrapped shifter knob, Izumi leather-wrapped steering wheel, and shift pattern sticker were also installed. A Use only Mobil 1 in your GLHS plaque was affixed to the front of the standard production valve cover.

The primary differences between the Shelby engine and the Chrysler Turbo II engine are the torque: Shelby’s unique engine computer shaved the torque to save the stock Omni transaxle, Chrysler Turbo II engines had 200 lb·ft (270 N·m) of torque; the trimetal bearings, forged crank and extra oil passages weren’t present; and the wiring harness is a conglomeration of original Turbo I, with splicings for the heated oxygen sensor.

All-in-all this was a very formidable car, especially on short tracks. In SCCA Solo competition, it was never allowed a place in the stock categories because it failed to meet the required 1000 unit a year production quota. It also was significantly faster In the quarter mile than the Chevrolet Camaro with the 305 V8, Pontiac’s Firebird/Trans Am with the 305 V8 and pre-1987 302 V8 Mustangs, and equal or slightly faster than the 1987–1993 V8 Ford Mustangs and Corvettes.

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