Compacts made a big impact as soon as the VW Rabbit (Golf in Europe) debuted in 1975. Chrysler fought back in 1977 with its European-acquired Talbot, altering it for the US market and calling it the Omni. It was significant as it was the first front-wheel drive compact from a US manufacturer. Things hotted up when VW launched the GTi, but Dodge fought back with their 1984 134ci (2.2-liter) Omni GLH, tuned by Carroll Shelby. A year on they turbocharged the engine for 146bhp (109kW), then in 1986 released just 500 of their hottest version: the GLH-S. It ran an intercooler and different intake for the extra power and could do the quarter-mile in 14.9 seconds. Strut suspension with uprated springs and shocks made it handle like a dream, but torque steer was a problem under boost, barely controllable with the 205/50 Goodyear Eagle tyres.
Shelby Omni GLH-S (1986) Specifications
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