Skip to main content

In the 1980s, Chrysler did some pretty interesting things with turbo engines. It seems like a turbo engine is nothing to turn your head for in today’s world. Virtually every automotive manufacturer has at least one turbo engine offering. However, in the 1980s, it was a bit of an oddity. Though Chrysler is now back to classic American muscle ways (putting a V8 in everything), it had some pretty wild turbo offerings. Here are five quirky and fun turbocharged Chrysler vehicles from the past courtesy of The Cars Hub!

Dodge Daytona

1980s advertisement for Dodge Daytona Turbo Z
Daytona Turbo Z Ad | Stellantis

For those who aren’t fully in the know, Chrysler owns Dodge and Plymouth. Together, these companies form Mopar. So, though these aren’t all branded as Chrysler, they are all under the Chrysler parent company.

First on the list is the 1980s Dodge Daytona. The Daytona is an often overlooked car because of its front-wheel drive layout. However, the Daytona is a stylish ‘80s relic that carries the design cues of muscle cars from the era. Interestingly enough, the Daytona got upgrades from iconic names like IROC and Shelby.

With its turbocharged 2.2-liter inline four-cylinder, Dodge offered the Daytona with up to 174 horsepower in the case of the Shelby Z coupe

Dodge Omni GLHS

shelby Dodge Omni GLHS Hot hatbach front 2/3
Dodge Omni GLHS | Stellantis

Another fantastic classic Chrysler product is the Dodge Omni GLHS. The GLHS is a hot-hatch version of Dodge’s compact hatchback, the Omni. The man behind the GLHS is none other than iconic motorsports hero Carroll Shelby. He even named it! GLHS is a tongue-in-cheek acronym for “Goes Like Hell S’more.”

That’s no joke, either. This puny little hot hatch came with a potent 175 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. That’s far more power than its closest competitor, the Volkswagen Golf GTI. Of course, the Shelby touch just makes it that much cooler.

Dodge Caravan

Dodge Caravan First generation front 3/4
Dodge Caravan | Stellantis

That’s right, folks. Dodge was really on a turbo tirade in the 1980s. Much like the company does with V8s now, nothing was safe from a turbocharged engine. Not even the world’s first minivan.

Under the hood of the fearsome turbocharged Dodge Caravan was a 2.5-liter turbo inline four-cylinder. What’s even more enticing to automotive enthusiasts, though, is the fact that they were also available with manual transmissions. Though they aren’t easy to find, you could find yourself manually rowing gears in a turbo minivan. How cool is that?

Dodge Stealth Turbo

While the previous cars on this list have been fun and quirky, the Dodge Stealth is no joke. It’s based on the iconic Mitsubishi 3000GT.

Under the hood is a twin-turbocharged V6 engine that makes 320 horsepower. Making it even more potent, though, is its all-wheel drive system. According to Fastestlaps, the Stealth could spring from zero to 60 miles per hour in 5.5-seconds. Upon its release in the 1990s, the Stealth could keep up with supercars of the time. It truly is an underappreciated relic.

Chrysler PT Cruiser GT

Electric Blue Chrysler PT Cruiser GT Covnertible, Driver's side with top down
Chrysler PT Cruiser GT | Cars and Bids

The poor PT cruiser seems to be the butt of every automotive joke. A quick glance at one makes the reasoning for that pretty clear. However, just because they’re one of the goofiest looking cars to come out in the past handful of decades doesn’t mean they can’t be fun to drive!

The PT Cruiser’s turbo engine is the same one found in the SRT4 Dodge Neon. So, there’s a monumental amount of aftermarket parts and upgrades that will bolt right to the engine. Furthermore, owners can tune the car with the same software and hardware tuners use for the Neon. Plus, you could get them with a manual transmission!

Wouldn’t it just make your day to be driving a terrible-looking convertible PT cruiser with a manual transmission? Give it a little rev at a stoplight and let the turbo flutter. You’re guaranteed to get some hilarious reactions from people around you!

The world needs to embrace the wacky turbo cars of Chrysler’s past

You’ve got to give it to Chrysler. It was way ahead of the game in terms of slapping turbo engines inside of everything as a company. If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon one of these quirky turbo cars for a reasonable price, don’t hesitate to buy it!

Even with no intentions of owning one, one can certainly appreciate the funkiness of a turbo minivan or an 80s hatch with almost 200 horsepower!


What Is the Difference Between A Turbo and Supercharger?