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Mopar-nac The Moderator
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Both made Corvette owners cry :)
 

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As did the Spirit RT....I blew the doors off several 5.0 (4.9) Mustangs, one of which took place @ midnight in pouring rain (yes in hind-sight it was foolish) with wheels breaking traction at +100 mph. Other muscle cars dricers were left with jaw on the ground as well. MOPAR....gotta lov'em!!!
 

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Interesting side story to the Shelby Omnis. In a multi page spread on Shelby in "Motor Trend" after he died, they reported his relating the story on the birth of that model. Being friends with Lee Iacocca from the Ford Shelby days, he discussed what he could do to create similar performance buzz for a Chrysler model. Iacocca professed interest so they settled on the Omni and Shelby went to work. There were a few glitches and not unexpected delays in getting the cars engineered and completed. Iacocca began to lose interest in the program and Shelby had to call him personally several times to keep up Chrysler support and funding for the program. According to Shelby, the program barely survived to completion due to the fading enthusiasm from the head of Chrysler.
 

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Owned both a GLHS Charger and GLH Turbo Omni. Great fun cars.
 

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Mopar-nac The Moderator
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Dave said:
Lee did tend to be more into gobs of chrome and Italian logo stickers... though I have to say, I liked Dynasty’s looks...

It's hard to say how real any of the recollections are. Shelby created a lot of aura but ... anyone here read that book by one of his employees?
It is interesting you say that. I can't tell you how many times I've heard glowing things from Shelby fans and horrible things about Shelby from people inside the auto industry.

The turbo Dodge thing is really interesting. I've heard stories that Shelby's group did little with the engines on the cars and basically the help handle styling and testing of the cars, pick combinations, etc. We know Chrysler's powertrain engineers were doing brilliant things with the four cylinders during research and development well before The Shelby name went on the cars.

I love Shelby Dodges, but I prefer to think of them as Shelby approved cars designed and build by Chrysler.

Mike
 

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A lot of what was produced in limited numbers was experimental. The Omni GLHS had an early form of the Turbo II. The 89 CSX had the Variable Nozzle Turbo. The 91 Spirit had the Turbo 3 Lotus head. The Variable Nozzle Turbo was super cool, but was highly unreliable. The Lotus head was the same way. The manufacturing and engineering was generally done by others. However, engineers have never been confused with entertainers. And Shelby was a great charismatic personality to attach to performance cars. Still, he did a lot for FWD performance enthusiasts.
 

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As to Shelby's hands-on involvement on the numbered cars: My favorite example of Shelby Skunkworks in action is the way that the workers in Whittier had to cut/trim the underside of the turbo vent water diverter (underside of the hood) on the L body cars with tin snips in order to clear the raised two-piece intake. They then slathered seam seal and blended black paint to crudely "finish" the job.

Chrysler engineers told Shelby that a Turbo 1 would not fit in the L body. Shelby responded by installing a Turbo 2.
 

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Plymouth Makes It
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Both MOPARs mentioned were within reach entry level workers that could do some overtime. Could use a few of those now.
 
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Dave said:
Lee did tend to be more into gobs of chrome and Italian logo stickers... though I have to say, I liked Dynasty’s looks...

It's hard to say how real any of the recollections are. Shelby created a lot of aura but ... anyone here read that book by one of his employees?
I read the book Fast Days by former Shelby employee Joel W. Jackson, it's a good read.

Thanks
Randy
 

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These were the original "tuner cars". I also remember seeing an Omni FTH (Faster than Hell) that featured a supercharged 2.2 rather than the turbocharged variant.
 

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jerseyjoe said:
Both MOPARs mentioned were within reach entry level workers that could do some overtime. Could use a few of those now.
The Lil Red Express truck was around $7K MSRP in 1978. In inflation adjusted dollars that about $25,100. For about $27k MSRP you can get a (faster, safer and more econimical though a little less flashy) Hemi regular cab 1500 so it's not as far out of line as it appears. $7K was a lot of money in 1978.
 

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valiant67 said:
The Lil Red Express truck was around $7K MSRP in 1978. In inflation adjusted dollars that about $25,100. For about $27k MSRP you can get a (faster, safer and more econimical though a little less flashy) Hemi regular cab 1500 so it's not as far out of line as it appears. $7K was a lot of money in 1978.
When I went to buy the '79 LRE it was $8,500. My '79 D150 318 was $6,500 and faster than a 360 Dart Sport (amongst others).
 

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Mopar-nac The Moderator
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Charger Red said:
As to Shelby's hands-on involvement on the numbered cars: My favorite example of Shelby Skunkworks in action is the way that the workers in Whittier had to cut/trim the underside of the turbo vent water diverter (underside of the hood) on the L body cars with tin snips in order to clear the raised two-piece intake. They then slathered seam seal and blended black paint to crudely "finish" the job.

Chrysler engineers told Shelby that a Turbo 1 would not fit in the L body. Shelby responded by installing a Turbo 2.
It's stories like this that actually solidify my opinion.

The majority of the Shelby Dodges were not touched by Shelby.

Cars that had final assembly by Shelby:
1986 GLHS
1987 Shelby Charger GLH-S, Shelby CSX, and Shelby Lancer.
1988 Shelby CSX-T
1989 Shelby CSX-VNT, and Shelby Dakota.

Additionally, these cars were simply finished there. No major assembly was done at the Whittier facility. Take the Omni GLHS for instance, GLH Turbo's were taken off the assembly line and shipped to Whittier. The Koni suspension components and ancillary T2 engine components were added (inter cooler, manifolds, etc.)

The Charger was the same way, they started life as Shelby Charger's and then were converted to GLHS's. The Shelby Charger GLHS appear to be Turbo II's but are not. The T1 components were removed and the T2 components added, but they still used the T1 engine internals.

Even Shelby's personal 1987 GLHS Charger #1 was just a modified Turbo 1 to near Turbo 2 specs (basically bolted on components, engine internals were still T1)

So how could Chrysler, who put Turbo 1's in the Shelby Charger, tell Shelby a Turbo 1 wouldn't wouldn't fit?

Mike
 

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Mike V. said:
It's stories like this that actually solidify my opinion.

The majority of the Shelby Dodges were not touched by Shelby.

Cars that had final assembly by Shelby:
1986 GLHS
1987 Shelby Charger GLH-S, Shelby CSX, and Shelby Lancer.
1988 Shelby CSX-T
1989 Shelby CSX-VNT, and Shelby Dakota.

Additionally, these cars were simply finished there. No major assembly was done at the Whittier facility. Take the Omni GLHS for instance, GLH Turbo's were taken off the assembly line and shipped to Whittier. The Koni suspension components and ancillary T2 engine components were added (inter cooler, manifolds, etc.)

The Charger was the same way, they started life as Shelby Charger's and then were converted to GLHS's. The Shelby Charger GLHS appear to be Turbo II's but are not. The T1 components were removed and the T2 components added, but they still used the T1 engine internals.

Even Shelby's personal 1987 GLHS Charger #1 was just a modified Turbo 1 to near Turbo 2 specs (basically bolted on components, engine internals were still T1)

So how could Chrysler, who put Turbo 1's in the Shelby Charger, tell Shelby a Turbo 1 wouldn't wouldn't fit?

Mike
It was during the non-turbo Shelby Charger days (Model years 83 & 84) that Shelby wanted a Turbo 1 in there.

I don't know of anyone who was making a distinction between modification and final assembly in this thread. I was giving evidence for hands-on modification similar to what Creatine Industries had done on the wing cars (including paint). To collectors/enthusiasts, skunkworks modifications to special interest vehicles make them "more cool."

One big difference between anything that had been subbed-out prior to the Whittier effort was the fact that these vehicles were not Dodges; they were titled and federally certified as Shelby Automobiles Inc. vehicles.

With respect to complexity, the hands-on Shelby effort followed the historical path of the Mustang for the most part - less Shelby, more factory as newer models ensued.
 
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