Here’s what every gearbox should know about the 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger

Most car enthusiasts have heard of Carroll Shelby, and for very good reason. Carroll Shelby was an entrepreneur, race car driver and had a hand in designing many of America’s most iconic muscle cars. Carroll Shelby is best known for his collaborations with Ford. But a lesser-known fact about this legendary man is that he actually worked with Dodge for 10 years, from 1983 to 1993.


Cleverness‘s line of muscle cars are as iconic as Carroll Shelby. Glowing steel with powerful engines underneath and hundreds of horses waiting to hit the road – these are the features you can expect from the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger.

Inviting Carroll Shelby to collaborate with Dodge on the 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger feels like a natural choice. Two legends in the American muscle car world unite to customize a car that already has so much to say for itself. Talk about a match made in heaven.

At first glance, the 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger may seem a little unassuming. But what excitement is in store for gearheads once they get behind the wheel is certainly what Shelby and Dodge had in mind when they brought the Shelby Charger to the masses. The production number of Dodge Shelby Chargers in 1983 was less than 8,500, making this iteration of the Charger an award worth winning today.

Let’s step into a time machine, back to when there was nothing that better represented pure American brawn than an alliance between Dodge and Carroll Shelby. We present to you the 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger (and what you need to know about it).

RELATED: Here Are The Biggest Problems With Dodge Charger Ownership


A brief history of the Dodge Charger

Through Dodge

The 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger is a somewhat lesser-known car that was named Shelby. This particular collaboration was Carroll Shelby stepping in to modify the Dodge Charger.

The Dodge Charger’s reign began in 1966. The introduction of the Charger was Dodge’s way of bringing a pony car into the mix that they believed was more refined than the Ford Mustang. Since then there have been seven generations of the Dodge Charger, and each generation brought something for everyone.

American muscle cars wouldn’t be what they are today without the influence of the Charger. Dodge Chargers are some of the most fun cars for gearheads to restore, especially with Dodge announcing that it is discontinuing the Dodge Charger and Challenger in 2023.

With many gas guzzlers disappearing in favor of electric vehicles, we still celebrate the Dodge Charger and all the magic of a muscle car it embodies.

1983 Dodge Shelby Charger specifications and features

1983 Dodge Shelby Charger Turbo four-cylinder classic car
Via: Mecum

Cars bearing the Shelby name were synonymous with speed, racing and raw power. The 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger was different in that there was no power increase. Instead, Shelby decided to make several changes.

Changes to the Dodge Charger include a suspension upgrade, general style change, engine compression, manual transmission with a modified gear ratio, power steering and more. 8,251 cars of the 1983 model were produced. Many models shipped to the dealers came with the body kit and other custom parts for the dealers to install themselves. This was to reduce the time between production and delivery and to address the tight clearances of these vehicles, which caused delivery problems when fully assembled.

The engine modification of the 1983 Dodge Shelby Charge included a 0.03-inch block milling, increasing the compression ratio from 9.0 to 9.6:1. The camshaft timing needed a bit of adjustment by moving the camshaft forward a few degrees. The Dodge Shelby Charger had engine electronics modified to squeeze as much performance out of it as possible. It wouldn’t be Shelby without that aspect.

The 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine was boosted to 107 hp, up from the original 94 hp. It also gained torque, increasing the original 117 lb-ft to 127 lb-ft. The 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger could go from 0 to 60 mph in 10 seconds. The adjustments to the front and rear shocks meant heavier springs and half a foot less play.

RELATED: 8 Cars You Didn’t Know Were Built by Carroll Shelby

Carroll Shelby’s Impact on the Muscle Car Industry

1983 Dodge Shelby Charger
Through mecum

The Shelby name has graced Mustangs, race cars, the 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger, and the Shelby name is even its own brand.

Carroll Shelby was a man of many talents (including knowing how to fly airplanes), but nothing can diminish his importance to the American muscle car industry and the world of high-performance aftermarket motoring, for which Shelby himself takes credit. deserve, undermine. Carroll Shelby was ambitious and motivated to produce cars that were the best in the business. The lesser-known 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger is just one example of the legacy Shelby carried over to the muscle car universe.

Sources: Shelby Dodge, Road and Track, Automobile Catalogue

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