The Dodge Daytona takes its name from the Daytona 500 Race that takes place in Daytona Beach, Florida. This front-wheel hatchback was produced by Chrysler Corporation from 1984 to 1993 to replace the Mitsubishi-based Dodge Challenger. Here’s a quick look at the Daytona and its changes and transformations during its 9-year run.
1984-1986: Early years
The Daytona was created based on the Chrysler G platform, which has its roots in Chrysler’s earlier K platform. The car was introduced to the market in 1984 and it was made available in three trims—standard, Turbo, and Turbo Z. Upon release, these three models were powered by either a normally aspirated or turbocharged 2.2 L Chrysler K engine, which could churn out up to 142 hp. And on that same year, the Daytona’s Turbo trim was included on Car and Driver magazine’s Ten Best list. The following year, all three Daytona trims were furnished with a wrap-around spoiler and its Turbo engine was upgraded to give it more power.
1984: Chrysler Laser
On the same year that the Daytona was released, an upscale and rebadged version of the model was also introduced to the market in the form of the Chrysler Laser. The Laser was considered as Chrysler’s first ever sports car and it was manufactured and sold in the market for over 2 years. Laser owners got to enjoy a lot of features as this car was spelled nothing but executive personal luxury. And with a drag coefficient of 0.35, the Laser had a sleek, modern, and aerodynamic design that was made even better by its rear deck-lid spoiler. It was initially made available in two trims—standard and XE—while a third XT top-of-the-line version was released the following year.
1987-1991: First restyling
1987 was a year of major restyling for the Dodge Daytona’s appearance. But apart from its looks, it was also equipped with new features like the Electronic Voice Alert system. That same year, a trim level—the Shelby Z—was also introduced and it was powered by an intercooled version of the Turbo engine that powered the other Daytonas. But aside from having a different engine, the Shelby Z was also furnished with suspension upgrades such as larger front sway bars and disc brakes. The Chrysler Laser was also replaced during this time by the luxury-oriented Pacifica trim. This particular model was equipped with leather interiors, an 8-way power enthusiast driver seat, digital dashboard, etc. It was also during this time the car collectors took notice of silver and black Daytona Shelbys, which were considered rare due to the limited number of units produced.
1992-1993: Second restyling
During this time, the Daytona was equipped with pop-up headlights, a new grille, and rear fascia. When the Daytona was dropped from Chrysler’s offerings, it was replaced in 1995 by the Mitsubishi-built Dodge Avenger.