Straight to Hell: Mopar’s Dodge Dart GLH SEMA Concept


Straight to Hell: Mopar’s Dodge Dart GLH SEMA Concept

Nov 10, 2015

In last summer’s Coolest Cars of the 1980s piece, we made sure to leave room for a modest little Dodge hatchback among the F40s and 959s and GNXs. Fettled by a certain Texan with a penchant for chili and victory, the Shelby-fied Omni GLH was America’s answer to Volkswagen’s GTI, a cult classic from an era of often-desultory American iron. For this year’s SEMA show, Dodge has brought back the “Goes Like Hell” badge and slapped it on a Dart.

FCA’s parts-and-accessories division has gone hog-wild with its own line of bits and pieces, fitting an aluminum Hellcat-reminiscent hood and a body kit featuring a front splitter, rear diffuser, and side skirts. Mopar 18-inch wheels fit over their high-performance brake kit. Inside, the seats get covered in Katzkin leather featuring red mesh seat inserts and red stitching to match the lower-body stripe. The pedal kit, shift knob, floor mats, and sill plates are also Mopar items.

But what Mopar didn’t do with the Pitch Black–painted Dart is upgrade the powertrain (beyond adding a pair of exhaust tips). The original GLH cars offered a 26-hp boost over the 84-hp Omni. And in 1986, when Carroll Shelby turned out the sporting Omni’s ultimate evolution, the GLHS, it featured a 175-hp turbo engine. The thing scooted to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. America had never seen anything quite like it. The last Dart we tested, a 2015 2.4 automatic, took 8.2 seconds to do the same thing. A Dart with a body kit and exhaust tips feels like it’s just trading on the name, more a Challenger-badged Sapporo than a modern GLH. C’mon, Mopar. You can pay more fitting tribute than this.


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