1986 Dodge Omni GLH Turbo

While Carroll Shelby is most famous for his work with Ford vehicles, he spent much of the 1980s working his magic for Chrysler. Mike featured the Shelby CSX in a previous post, which is definitely worth checking out if you missed it.

In addition to the CSX, Shelby and Chrysler created a high-performance compact car based on the Dodge Omni. Shelby called it the “GLH” for “Goes Like Hell” and it was available in three different levels: a non-turbo base model, a turbocharged model, and the top-of-the-line GLHS model (for Goes Like Hell S’More).

This particular car is a 1986 Dodge Omni GLH Turbo – the mid-range model. Shelby American took this boring, underpowered car from Chrysler and turned it into one of the most coveted vehicles of the 1980s! Today, these cars are highly collectible and this one was so clean, it looked as though it had just rolled off the factory floor!

The base model Omni came with a Chrysler 2.2L inline-4 cylinder engine that wheezed out 84 to 96 horsepower, depending on the year. In comparison, the base model GLH started with 110 horsepower while the GLHS featured a whopping 175 horsepower! This turbo model makes 146 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque.

Shelby accomplished this extra power through the use of a turbocharger with front-mounted intercooler, a special camshaft, and a higher-compression ratio. But this was more than just a straight-line car! Shelby also added alloy wheels with wider, low-profile tires, vented front disc brakes, a stiffer suspension, and quicker steering. This meant the pocket-rocket could handle itself around corners, too!

Much like the Taurus SHO, this car is pretty light on style. Not even the little vent in the hood gives a clue to this car’s true performance nature. It is a factory-built “sleeper” that looks like nothing special on the outside but is actually quite fast.

The limited production only adds to the mystique of the car. Only a few thousand were built, and even fewer were built as the final GLHS models. As these cars are getting up there in age, I predict that both interest in them and values will start to increase. In the meantime, I am glad to see that the legend of the GLH lives on in the hearts and minds of automotive fans everywhere.

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