Carroll Shelby spent most of the Seventies in Africa, undergoing his own Heart of Darkness: hunting wild game, , and , mostly involving guns and brush planes.
But by the Eighties he was back, baby! And now that he had checked off stints with Chevrolet () and Ford (GT40 program, and everything else), he found himself thoroughly ensconced with Lee "If You Find A Better Car, Buy It!" Iacocca. , nobody in the heady, booming Sixties other than maybe Timothy Leary would have called that that in two decades, the K-car would be a phenomenon, the Charger and Daytona would be front-drive cars, Chrysler's bread and butter would ride atop a chassis designed by the French, and Shelby's name would be emblazoned in italics right across its flanks?
Life comes at you fast. Iacocca set up Shelby with the Chrysler Shelby Performance Center outside Los Angeles, gave Shelby free reign across the whole 80s lineup: the Omni, the Charger, the Daytona, the Lancer ES. No, the other Lancer. They may have started off as simple graphics, bodywork, and suspension tweaks, but by 1985 Ol' Shel really began to turn things up: turbocharging! It didn't take much to go fast in the Eighties, but the Shelby Charger and Omni GLH-T could blow the doors off a Porsche 944 to 60!
According to : "It was the GLH Turbo that caused BMW to pull an ad that touted the 535i as the "fastest four-door sedan sold in the US."Sure, the car was "the plug-ugliest little box Chrysler made," in Shelby's words, and the rest of the car fell apart, but at least it was 1.) under warranty, mostly, and 2.) moving too fast for the driver to go back and retrieve any parts that fell off.
A 1984 ad quoted Car and Driver as saying, "…further proof that Dodge's 2.2-liter engine is destined to be a legend." Well, it should have been. In addition to Ol' Shel's icy-cold thousand-yard stare across the Mojave Desert, framed by black cowboy hat, the 2.2-liter Turbo II engine also allowed one to accomplish great things—. Need we remind you that that is way cooler than a Hellcat burnout.