Dodge Daytona

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Dodge Daytona
1991 Dodge Daytona C/S
ManufacturerChrysler Corporation
Also calledChrysler Laser
Chrysler Daytona
Chrysler GTS
AssemblySt. Louis, Missouri, USA
Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA
PredecessorDodge Challenger
SuccessorDodge Avenger
Body style(s)3-door hatchback
LayoutFF layout
Engine(s)2.2 L K I4
2.2 L Turbo I I4
2.2 L Turbo II I4
2.2 L Turbo III I4
2.5 L K I4
3.0 L Mitsubishi 6G72 V6
Transmission(s)5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
Wheelbase1987-89: 97.0 in (2464 mm)
1990-93: 97.2 in (2469 mm)
Length1987-1991: 179.2 in (4552 mm)
1990-93 ES & IROC: 179.8 in (4567 mm)
1992-93 Base: 179.0 in (4547 mm)
Width69.3 in (1760 mm)
Height1987-89: 50.1 in (1273 mm)
1990-93: 50.3 in (1278 mm)
1990-91 IROC & 1992-93 IROC R/T: 50.6 in (1285 mm)
1992-93 IROC: 50.4 in (1280 mm)
ManualsService Manual

The Dodge Daytona was a front-wheel drive hatchback based on the Chrysler G platform, which was derived from the Chrysler K platform. The Daytona was produced from 1984 to 1993. The Chrysler Laser was an upscale near twin version of the Daytona. The Daytona was restyled for 1987, and again for 1992. It replaced the Mitsubishi-based Challenger, and slotted between the Charger and the Conquest. The Daytona was replaced by the 1995 Dodge Avenger, which was built by Mitsubishi Motors. The Daytona derives its name mainly from the Dodge Charger Daytona, which itself was named after the Daytona 500 race in Daytona Beach, Florida.


The Daytona originally used the 2.2 L Chrysler K engine in normally-aspirated (93 hp) or turbocharged (142 hp) form. The 96 hp 2.5 L K engine was added for 1986. In 1985, the 2.2 L Turbo I engine's horsepower was increased to 146 hp (109 kW). The 1984 Daytona was available in three trim lines - standard, Turbo and Turbo Z. Total production was 49,347. The Daytona Turbo was on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1984. Both the Daytona and Chrysler Laser were available with the Chrysler Electronic Voice Alert system through 1987. A "Shelby" version of the Daytona was introduced in 1987.

Chrysler Laser

The Chrysler Laser was Chrysler's attempt at creating a sporty car to expand their upscale brand lineup. The Laser was a virtual clone of the Dodge Daytona. It was produced from 1984 to 1986. The only differences were limited to cosmetics, such as spoilers, side skirts and air dams, and the use of a digital instrument cluster in the XE trim. The 1984 Laser was available in two trim lines - standard and XE. In mid-1985, the XT trim was added as the top-of-the-line version. The standard, XE and XT trim lines would continue until the Laser’s demise in mid-1986. After 1986, the Daytona was exported to Canada as the Chrysler Daytona when it crossed over to the second generation. The turbo version of the Laser could be recognized by its use of black hood louvers. The 2.2 L Turbo I engine was available as standard equipment in the XE and XT trim lines and optional on the standard model. The Daytona and Laser were intended to replace the Chrysler Conquest, a rear wheel drive vehicle which competed directly against the Toyota Celica Supra. The Laser name was silently terminated after the first half of 1986 model year, then resurrected for the 1989/1990 model year with a new Plymouth Laser, built by Diamond Star Motors - a joint venture between Chrysler and Mitsubishi. The rebrand Laser shared its chassis with the Eagle Talon and Mitsubishi Eclipse.

In 1987, the Chrysler LeBaron was restyled as a more proper sports car and there was no need for the Laser anymore. However, the Laser’s luxury performance image would be carried over into the 1987 Dodge Daytona Pacifica as well as the Lancer Pacifica and other Chrysler vehicles styled by Chrysler's Pacifica Studios.

The Laser was specified to have an estimated 22 mpg city/35 mpg highway fuel mileage. Chrysler offered a 5 year or 50,000-mile (80,000 km) warranty, or a Protection Plan with outer body rust-through protection, based on United States Automobile Club tests.

Mark Cross leather seats and a six-way power options were available as options.

Production numbers

  • 1984 - 59,858 (Laser- 33,976/Laser XE- 25,882)
  • 1985 - 50,866 (Laser- 29,221/Laser XE- 18,193/Laser XT- 3,452)
  • 1986 - 36,672 (Laser- 14,134/Laser XE- 15,549/Laser XT- 6,989)


Changes were minimal for the Daytona's second year of production. The Turbo Z model was no longer listed as a package but was now a model in its own right. The wrap-around spoiler, formerly exclusive to the Turbo Z model, was now offered on all three models. But the biggest change was under the hood — the 2.2 Turbo was given more power 146 hp (109 kW), and a new shift linkage was added. Total production was 47,519.


There were changes for the 1986 Daytona. The middle "Turbo" model was dropped, leaving just two models — Base and Turbo Z. Engine changes were also made: A new 2.5 L 100 hp (75 kW) 4-cylinder engine was added for the base model. A new t-roof package was added to the option list, but just 5,984 Daytona owners chose this option. The biggest addition was the optional C/S (Carroll Shelby) Handling Package. This consisted of 32 mm (1.3 in) front and 28 mm (1.1 in) rear anti-sway bars, performance tuned struts, and speed rated tires. This package would foreshadow the Daytona Shelbys of 1987 and beyond. Only 7,704 owners added this handling package to their Daytonas. Total production this year would be 44,366.


1987-1991 Dodge Daytona

In 1987, the Daytona was restyled externally, and featured pop-up headlights. New in 1987 was a Shelby Z trim level with an available Turbo II (174 hp - 200lb-ft) intercooled version of the 2.2 L Chrysler K engine, as well as a heavy-duty A555 transaxle with Getrag gears. The Shelby Z also featured numerous suspension upgrades, including a larger diameter front sway bar and rear disc brakes. This version was sold in Europe under the name Chrysler GS Turbo II. Some Shelbys was also stock with cruise control. A more luxury-oriented Pacifica trim line was also added to replace the Chrysler Laser buyers, which was dropped by mid-year 1986. Some Pacifica models had leather interior, 8 way power enthusiast drivers seat (with mechanical Thigh/Lumbar controls), digital dash, 12 button navigator (with instant fuel ratings as well as trip averages and estimated travel times), and many other features. Also the Pacifica wore the red CS emblem on the fender behind the front tires, and was even available with the aftermarket t-top roof.

1989 saw the introduction of the ES model offered with silver ground affects a variety of bright colors, the Snowflake rim design first seen on the Pacifica model, and came in a base model to attract the average Daytona buyer’s eye without major price hype.

In 1990, a 3.0 L SOHC V6 from Mitsubishi was made available, as well as a redesigned interior shared with the Chrysler LeBaron coupe and convertible to attract the Pacifica customer.. In addition, 1990 saw the introduction of a standard driver's side airbag to the Daytona, in keeping with Chrysler's decision to install driver's side airbags across all models. 1991 saw the addition of an IROC model with the turbocharged 2.5 L engine, and the 2.2 L engine was dropped.


Chrysler Daytona

Production was moved from the St. Louis, Missouri plant to the Sterling Heights, Michigan plant. This second Daytona restyling replaced the pop-up headlights with flush-mounted rounded ones, along with a new grille and rear fascia. Window surround moldings on the doors were also new, and rounder than the sharper angles of moldings on the 1984 to 1991 models. The IROC got the 3.0 L Mitsubishi V6 as its standard engine with the 2.5l "High Torque" Turbo available as a very rare option (less than 230 produced) A new IROC R/T version got a 224 hp (167 kW) Turbo III version of the 2.2 L Chrysler K engine. Production of the Daytona ended on March 2, 1993, and the Daytona was replaced by the 1995 Dodge Avenger.

Appearances in popular culture

  • The NBC television show Hunter featured a 1984 Dodge Daytona, driven by character Dee Dee McCall. Her car was a two-tone dark maroon and grey coupe modified for police use, including a removable light on the rooftop.
  • The 1986 movie, The Wraith (with Charlie Sheen), featured a 1986 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z driven by character Oggie and the couple who are cheated out of their car in the first race were driving a 1987 Dodge Daytona Shelby Z (distinguished by its pop-up headlights, unlike the exposed headlights of Oggie's 1986 model). (info from IMDB)
  • In the 2005 book, Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz, the main character, Jimmy Tock, drives a Dodge Daytona Shelby Z.

External links