Ten Gallon Hat: 1986 Shelby Omni GLHS

In 1986 and 1987, Shelby Automobiles modified about 500 Dodge Omnis in their California based factory for shipment and sales directly through Dodge dealers around the country. These econobox legends were outfitted with a modified engine, upgraded wheels, brakes and suspension and given a factory Shelby VIN…so don’t call it a tuner car or a kit car. Find this 1986 Shelby Omni GLHS offered for a starting bid of $8000 in Fredericksburg, VA via craigslist.

From the seller:

1986 Dodge Omni
condition: excellent
cylinders: 4 cylinders
drive: fwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 51000
paint color: black
size: compact
title status: clean
transmission: manual
type: hatchback
Currently listed at www.zero260.com
$8,000 is the starting bid. This is a reserve auction, the winning bid must meet or exceed the undisclosed reserve amount.

“Goes Like Hell, S’more”

Carroll Shelby’s Take on a Mopar Hot Hatch

1 of Only 500 GHL-S Made

Great Torque & Handling

Menacing Factory Tint All Around

Shelby-Designed Intake Manifold & Air-to-Air Intercooler

Garrett Turbocharger w/ 12-psi Max Boost Pressure

Retains Original Shelby Decals

Bosch Fog Lamps

Original Shelby Centurion Wheels

An Exciting Blue Chip Modern Classic

In 1978, Dodge introduced the Omni, a compact four-door hatchback that proved to be a solid sales success. Simple, the Omni was reliable and durable, and on a large scale, customers were very happy with it. In the early 1980s, Ford, Honda, and Volkswagen began introducing hatchbacks of a performance nature and Dodge wanted to join the bandwagon with their Omni. Contacting Carroll Shelby, the Omni GLH was born for 1984.

Initially to be known as the Omni Coyote, Chrysler brass declined on the name, and GLH was used instead, an acronym for ‘Goes Like Hell’. Applying engine modifications from the High Output, 110hp 2.2L inline 4-cylinder engine used in the 1983 Dodge Charger, it also adopted the Charger’s stiffer suspension, bigger brakes, and wider, low-profile tires. In 1985, an optional turbocharger became available, creating the GLH-T with 145hp from the 2.2L. The GLH line was making waves, and it was spelling sales for Dodge, while helping the company reestablish their performance reputation and show the world that when it came to technology and engineering, the Chrysler Corporation was still a major player.

For 1986, Shelby bought the last 500 GLH-Ts built, each one in black, and brought them to their facility in Whittier, California. Tere, the GLH-T 2.2L was further modified with an intercooler, larger turbocharger, larger throttle body, tuned intake and exhaust manifolds, a new wiring harness, and a new radiator and fan, all conspiring to create a whopping 175hp and 175 ft-lbs of torque! The chassis was also upgraded with adjustable Koni struts and shocks, stiffer springs, and wheels designed by Shelby to accommodate even wider tires. A host of other details separated the GLH-T from the GLH-S, and in the end the ‘S’ can sprint from 0-60 mph in 6.5-seconds, clear the ¼-mile in just over 14-seconds, and top out around 135 mph. All things told, it’s in the same neighborhood, and sometimes better, than the 5.0L Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Pontiac Firebird of the era. On top of that, the GLH-S is an astonishingly capable handling car thanks to the lightweight body, torque, front-wheel drive, and all the chassis modifications.

Today, finding a GLH-S in good to mint condition is relatively difficult – only 500 were made and a fair number of them were beaten into submission early on, leaving just a handful. This one shows just over 51k miles on the odometer and presents very well, the Shelby and GLH-S decals intact, the paint shining with good reflection and depth, the Shelby wheels shod with what appear to be healthy tires all around. Photographs reveal a few deficiencies, such as the center console lid slightly separating from its frame, but overall, this Shelby seems to be very nicely preserved. The interior overall presents like the exterior, very nicely. The original radio is still nestled in place, the light grey cloth upholstery looks to be in great condition, and all the trim is mostly similar.
Making it a show winner probably wouldn’t take a lot of effort, but it would serve fabulously as a fun weekend car at cruise-ins. One thing’s for sure, it’s not likely the new owner will cross paths with any others too often.