In the mid-1980s, Carroll Shelby — a legendary designer, car racer — and his team at Shelby Automobiles were done with Ford, and Dodge was the racing icon’s new playground (via Car and Driver).
The VW Golf similarities were more than skin deep as originally. The Omni borrowed a powerplant from Volkswagen, but by the time the mid-1980s rolled around, the Omni moved with the help of a Chrysler-made 2.2-liter inline four-cylinder engine that made “enough” horsepower (via Allpar). The slightly spruced up version, the Omni GLH (literally “Goes Like Hell”), utilized a turbocharger to boost horsepower to 146. After Carroll Shelby and his team of engineers got a hold of it, that engine was given an intercooled turbocharger, and horsepower was bumped up to a healthier 176. Shelby also tuned the suspension, gave it new wheels, and painted it black. The new Super Omni was dubbed the Omni GLHS (Goes Like Hell – Shelby). Only 500 were ever made for 1986, it sole year of production, according to Car and Driver.
At this time in Chrysler’s history, the company had basically said goodbye to sedans and wagons powered by huge emissions-strangled V8s from the past that barely provided any power. Forced induction was the way to go, and Dodge was slapping turbochargers on everything from minivans to convertibles, something practically unheard of among American automakers in the 1980s. Turbochargers were certainly in use by models from Ford and Chevy, but not nearly the scale that Chrysler used them.