1984 Dodge Shelby Charger 42K Survivor – $5,000

by | Jun 2024 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Malaise Monday

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If you’ve been following our posts on GuysWithRides.com, you know that our Malaise Monday theme focuses on classic cars built between 1972 and 1984.  Our cutoff point is 1984, as computer-controlled engine management technology allowed automotive engineers to extract more power from an internal combustion engine while meeting ever-increasing emissions standards for the first time.  Thus the early 1980s started to see a resurgence in automotive performance cars.

Flush with cash and strong sales of its popular K-Car compact models, Lee Iacocca looked to the success of his partnership with Carroll Shelby in the 1960s to reestablish Dodge as a performance brand in the 1980s. Both shunned by Ford by this time, Iacocca and Shelby agreed to “get the band back together” by offering Shelby-enhanced models sold through Dodge dealerships.  Unlike the Mustangs of the 1960s, the partnership was launched in 1983 as a sports and handling appearance package.  Once Chrysler engineers began offering a turbocharged 2.2 Liter inline-four engine for 1985, Shelby also started to tweak those engines.

The initial offering from this revised partnership was the 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger. While Shelby improved the base Charger’s front-wheel-drive handling, the 1983 model made do with only 87 horsepower.  For 1984, horsepower improved to 110 via the normally aspirated inline-four.  Dodge Shelby Chargers always sold in small volumes compared to their bread-and-butter economy-focused siblings.  For example, Dod ge only produced 7,552 Dodge Shelby Chargers for the 1984 model year.

One of those 7,552 produced is this Red 1984 Dodge Shelby Charger for sale, first spotted on Craigslist in East Aurora, New York (Buffalo), in June 2024. It is a survivor-quality example with just under 42K original miles. While this Dodge Shelby Charger for sale does not feature air conditioning, it did leave the factory with the desirable large removable sunroof.

Currently offered for $5,000, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask aligns with this guide’s six-month results for all fifth-generation, K-Car-based Dodge Chargers produced between 1981 and 1987.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $3,600 and its #3 “Good” appraisal of $6,200 before making a five percent positive adjustment for the desired factory removable sunroof.

The 1984 Dodge Shelby Charger is a notable example of a”hot hatch” vehicle from the 1980s. Dodge’s engineering prowess was paired with the legendary Carroll Shelby’s performance tuning expertise, resulting in a sporty, front-wheel-drive coupe that stood out in the compact car segment of its time.

The exterior of the 1984 Dodge Shelby Charger was distinct and sporty, featuring a two-door hatchback design. The car’s body was aerodynamically styled, characterized by a front air dam, side skirts, and a rear spoiler, all contributing to its performance-oriented aesthetics. The front fascia was adorned with a unique Shelby-specific grille that initially featured single square headlights (later models featured a smaller square four-light setup). Additionally, the car featured racing stripes and prominent “Shelby” badging, which underscored its performance heritage.

At the heart of the 1984 Shelby Charger was a naturally aspirated 2.2-liter inline-four engine. For the 1984 model year, Dodge engineers were able to increase this engine’s output from 87 to 110 horsepower. More power would become available for the 1985 model year with the launch of the turbocharged 2.2 Liter inline four producing 146 horsepower. 1984 Dodge Shelby Chargers featured a floor-shifted five-speed manual transaxle as standard equipment.  1984 was the first year Dodge offered Shelby Chargers with an optional automatic.

Shelby Chargers featured a performance-tuned suspension system designed to enhance handling and driving dynamics. The front suspension consisted of MacPherson struts with coil springs and an anti-roll bar, while the rear utilized a semi-independent torsion beam setup with coil springs and a Panhard rod. This configuration provided a good balance between ride comfort and sharp handling characteristics.  Shelby Chargers also came equipped with power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, which offered precise and responsive steering feedback, crucial for spirited driving. The braking system included ventilated front disc and rear drum brakes, providing adequate stopping power for the car’s performance capabilities.

The 1984 Dodge Shelby Charger featured a comfortable cockpit with sporty design elements inside. The seats were bolstered to provide better support during aggressive driving and upholstered in a unique Shelby-specific fabric. The dashboard included a full array of gauges, including a tachometer, boost gauge, and oil pressure gauge, allowing the driver to monitor the car’s performance parameters closely.  While the Shelby Charger prioritized performance, it did not completely forgo comfort and convenience features, making it a practical choice for enthusiasts who also needed everyday usability.

The 1984 Dodge Shelby Charger represents an interesting period in automotive history as part of the collaboration between Dodge and Carroll Shelby. This partnership brought performance enhancements and a racing pedigree to Dodge’s compact car lineup, which helped to revive the brand’s image in the performance car market during the 1980s. The Shelby Charger was well-received for its blend of performance, style, and practicality, and it laid the groundwork for future performance-oriented models from Dodge.

The MotorWeek Retro Review YouTube Channel provides this 1985 road test of the improvements made to the 1985 Dodge Shelby Charger that included Chrysler’s new 2.2 Liter turbocharged inline-four:

Based on the pictures, this red 1984 Dodge Shelby Charger for sale appears to be a nicely preserved survivor-quality example. Unfortunately, the pre-1985 Shelby Chargers, such as this example, will always remain a bit less desirable due to the lack of the turbocharged engine that debuted in 1985. However, if you’re looking for a RAD Era classic on a budget that can provide great gas mileage, this Shelby for sale might be the ride for you. Our only two pauses about this example are the worn and missing brake and clutch pedal pads and the seller’s comment that the car features “very little rust.”  Knowing this car is from Western New York, we would ask the sellers for more pictures, specifically pointing out the extent and severity of the rust really is.  We also note this Shelby Charger for sale does not feature factory air conditioning.

If you are serious about buying this rare Dodge Charger, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their Mopar Shelby featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1984 Dodge Shelby Charger, all original, just under 42,000 miles, great cruise night driver. Removable sun roof with factory storage bag and strapping still in place. Very clean, runs great, new brakes and recent new head gasket and timing belt. Very little rust.

Show or go: What would you do with this survivor-quality, 42K original mile, 1984 Dodge Shelby Charger for sale? Please comment below and let us know!


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