Here’s What Gearheads Forgot About The Dodge Charger Shelby

When you are reminded of the iconic name of Carroll Shelby, your mind may wander to the lightning fast Ford Mustang GT500 or the classically stunning Cobra 289. Shelby has created a number of beauties over the years, making his way through the ranks and his right claim as a true car legend. One of Shelby’s most legendary vehicles is the Cleverness Charger Shelby – a vehicle known for its custom suspension and impressive styling.


In an era of monstrous four-door Hellcats, the Dodge Charger Shelby is often a small four-cylinder memory, but one that deserves to live on. Carroll Shelby added some much-needed performance enhancers, allowing extra power and excellent handling. Beautiful two-tone paint adorned the exterior of the Charger, with iconic Shelby graphics on either side of the body. The Charger was the first production Shelby Dodge and it is truly brilliant.

Related: Here’s How the Hennessey Venom 1200 Mustang Shelby GT500 Hit the Magic Number on the Dyno


The hood of the Dodge Charger Shelby takes center stage

1985 Dodge Charger Shelby
Via: Pinterest

The exterior of the Dodge Charger Shelby was breathtakingly beautiful, with a cool front spoiler and sporty side skirts. Thickly placed C-pillars and a subtle yet exciting rear spoiler sat up. A few two-tone shades were available, either Santa Fe Blue accompanied by silver stripes or Radiant Silver with blue stripes.

When the Dodge Shelby Charger first hit the market in 1983, car enthusiasts enjoyed a vehicle with a little more pizzazz than previously offered by Dodge. 8,251 units were built in the first year, with a price tag of $8,567, which was rather high considering the cost of the base charger of $6,513. A five-speed manual or three-speed TorqueFlite transmission was available, with only 1,955 buyers signing up for the three-speed, as opposed to the 5,597 who couldn’t wait to cruise around in the five-speed manual. Due to the lack of interest in the automatic transmission option, the three-speed TorqueFlite was subsequently dropped after the 1984 model year. After this flop, in 1984 a beautiful, bold shade of red with striking silver stripes joined the gang.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Hennessey’s Venom 1200 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

The Dodge Charger Shelby features 146 horses

1985 Dodge Shelby Charger Turbo four-cylinder classic car
Via: Mecum

Production of the upgraded Charger began in 1982 at the Chrysler Shelby California Development Center in California, where the compression was adjusted to a 9:6:1 ratio and the camshaft timing was adjusted by four degrees to provide sweet peak performance. In Shelby’s efforts, along with Chrysler’s help, to improve the Charger’s overall performance, the engine was slightly modified. To extract optimum performance from the 2,213 cc inline four-cylinder engine, the Charger developed an additional 12 horsepower from the original 107 horsepower and an additional 10 lb-ft of torque.

Thanks to these smart changes, the original Charger’s 0-60mph time was reduced from 9.3 seconds to 9 seconds, and the quarter-mile record improved by 0.3 seconds to 16.8 seconds. The Dodge Charger Shelby reached a top speed of 210 km/h. Carroll Shelby knew that the Charger’s handling had to live up to the family name, so the vehicle got high-speed power steering, lightweight aluminum wheels and larger rear drum brakes. The front suspension featured MacPherson coil springs, which were shorter and stiffer than previous Charger models.

Fast-forward to 1985, and the California-based center significantly improved the vehicle’s performance with the addition of multi-point fuel injection accompanied by a T3 turbocharger, providing a maximum PSI boost of 8. Performance increased to 146 horses and 168 lb-ft of torque. The Dodge Charger Shelby’s 0-60 mph time was again reduced to 7.8 seconds, with a quarter-mile record of 15.9 seconds.

For 1987, Chrysler produced just over 2,000 Shelby Chargers, and the remaining 1,000 vehicles were picked up by Shelby American. Here, the Dodge Shelby Charger GLH-S received an intercooled Turbo II engine, capable of producing 175 horses and 175 lb-ft of torque. The car raced from 0 to 60 mph in 6.95 seconds, with a top speed of 134 mph. This Shelby Charger was significantly more expensive than the Ford Mustang GT, costing $12,995.

The Dodge Charger Shelby boasts a stylish interior

Dodge Charger Shelby interior
through Pinterest

A slim steering wheel took center stage in the roomy cabin, accompanied by three analog gauges peeking through the top of the steering wheel. A small infinite Chrysler tape stereo sat above two storage areas, leading to a section with two cup holders. To the right of the wheel, air conditioning and a thermal control gauge were readily available and quite luxurious for the time. The front seats bore Carroll Shelby’s initials, a constant reminder to the driver and passengers that they were driving an iconic masterpiece.

Carroll Shelby enabled the Dodge Charger Shelby to take on high-performance manners and provided owners with an extraordinarily beautiful, exciting hatchback.

Source: Hemmings, NoTraction YouTube, MotorWeek YouTube

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