The Daytona was a front-wheel drive coupe from Dodge, sold from the 1984 to 1993 model years. It was a sibling to the Chrysler Laser. The Daytona replaced the Mitsubishi Galant-based 1978-1984 model years Dodge (Colt) Challenger and was replaced by the 1995 Dodge Avenger Coupe, which was also built by Mitsubishi. The Daytona was positioned in Dodge’s coupe line-up between the Charger and the Conquest.
Dodge Daytona Overview
The Dodge Daytona was an American front-wheel-drive sports coupe produced by Chrysler from 1984 to 1993. Designed to rejuvenate Dodge’s reputation in the sporty car market, it was released in tandem with its corporate twin, the Chrysler Laser. Introduced for the 1984 model year, the Dodge Daytona was aimed at the sport compact market and was meant to compete with popular imports of the era.
Based on a variation of Chrysler’s K-platform, called the G-platform, the Daytona boasted a sleek, aerodynamic design. Over its lifecycle, the Daytona saw several design changes, with the most significant redesign in 1992. Over the years, it was available with a range of four-cylinder engines, including naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions. Particularly well-regarded were the turbocharged variants, which included the Turbo Z and IROC trims. These models were lauded for their brisk performance for the era. The pinnacle of its performance variants was the Daytona IROC R/T, introduced in 1992, which featured a 2.2-liter Turbo III engine producing 224 horsepower.
The Daytona had several trims and special editions over its run, including the base, Turbo, Turbo Z, Shelby Z, ES, IROC, and IROC R/T. The Shelby models, associated with the legendary Carroll Shelby, offered enhanced performance and handling features. This collaboration was part of Shelby’s work with Chrysler during the 1980s. The IROC name, which stands for “International Race of Champions,” replaced the Turbo Z model in 1987. This nameplate was used due to Dodge’s sponsorship of the IROC racing series at the time.
Dodge Daytona Sales Figures
The Daytona was phased out after the 1993 model year, as consumer tastes were shifting, and Chrysler decided to focus on other segments. It was succeeded in spirit by the Dodge Avenger, introduced in 1995. In the grand scope of American sports compacts, the Dodge Daytona has its niche. It is remembered for its distinctive styling, particularly in its turbocharged guises, and stands as a testament to the direction of American compact design in the 1980s. It played a crucial role during a period when Chrysler was looking to redefine itself and prove that it could produce sporty, competitive vehicles in a segment often dominated by imports.