In high school, my best friend Vince had a Plymouth Horizon. That silver beast was excruciatingly slow but it handled damn well, for what it was. There was some kind of an issue with the radiator, but it would get us to McDonald’s at lunch, where on our way out we’d fill our soda cups with water, pour it into the radiator, and that would get us back to school without overheating. The spring on the carburetor was also broken, but a rubber band and a paper-clip did the trick. Since we were broke, we’d put about $1-$3 of gas a day into it. All of that did not matter, what mattered was that we had a car.
Vince loved that POS and ran it into the ground, which didn’t take much. The whole time he kept yapping about how awesome the Carroll Shelby-fied GLH or GLHS must be. It was with good reason, as the French/American Company actually entered Horizons into Group B Rally… precisely at the same time that Audi entered with their Quattro. Needless to say, those efforts did not pay off, but old Carroll was paying attention.
Big hat tip ton this car to Brandon of DailyDerbi.com
The Horizon twins started out as French Simca Horizon, which was a replacement for the aging Simca 1100. Due to car companies buying each other out, it was later branded at Talbot Horizon. They were manufactured all over: France, U.K., Finland, and of course United States. While produced in substantial numbers, they were not considered great cars anywhere, and were constantly overshadowed by the VW Golf.
In the United States, the Plymounth Horizon and Dodge Omni twins, received different engines, but differences did not end there. Typical of the Malaise Era were U.S.-spec larger bumpers. Different engines were used too, specifically VW’s own 1.7-liter. The suspension was completely different too; Euro front torsion bar was ditched for MacPherson struts, which further helped with the installation of the VW engine. The engine was later supplemented by Chrysler’s own 2.2, as well as Peugeot’s 1.6, which was only available with a manual transmission.
Around this time Carroll Shelby was working with the Chrysler Corporation. In 1984 they came up with the GLH, which stood for Goes Like Hell, but it wasn’t until 1985 that a turbocharged version came out with 146-hp and 170lb-ft. Combined with a 2200lb. weight, this translated into 8.7 second 0-60 time and a 16.7 second quarter mile at 81mph. Not bad!
Along with the extra power in the GLH Turbo, came chassis improvements. Most notable were the 15-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in 195/50-15 GoodYear Eagle GT tires, which was a crazy dimension for mid-80s. Other modifications included larger vented rotors, stiffer suspension, and quicker steering. This was a serious hot-hatch!
But wait, there’s more!
In 1986 came the Horizon GLHS, or Goes Like Hell, Some-more. 500 GLHSs came in black with gray interior. Higher compression ratio, more boost, and an intercooler to keep all that from going boom, and it translated into 175hp and 175 torques. Those 0-60 and quarter mile times dropped to 6.7, and 14.7 at 94mph. Oh mama! I can’t think of a faster factory hot hatch than this until the 1990s DSMs.
Chassis was equally improved with bigger brakes, 205 tires, faster steering rack, thicker sway bars, and adjustable Koni struts. All cars came full loaded with A/C, and a radio. Further separating the men from the boys was black trim, sporty pedals and shifter, and a thick leather-wrapped steering wheel. Options? There were two: oil cooler and a roll-bar. How fucking hard core is that?!
The first thing I did after seeing the Dodge Omni (not a Horizon but the same damn thing) GLH Turbo picture here, I emailed the link to Vince. He needs to own this. He has been looking for a small fun car to fit in between his lifted 4Runner and lowered 3-series, and this is perfect! 100,000 miles, completely rust-free, updated interior and exterior, stock. Perfect.
What else are you going to get for $3500? A rusted Civic? A beat-up Miata? A beat-up and rusted E30?
Maybe I should get this for myself?