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Dodge Daytona / Chrysler Laser Chronology

Written by Keith Knuth.

1984
Daytona, Daytona Turbo, Daytona Turbo Z, Laser, Laser XE, Laser XT
Engines:
2.2 Liter 93hp 4cyl (Base)
Turbocharged 2.2 Liter 142hp 4cyl (Turbo 1)
  • Chrysler introduced the Daytona and Laser on October 1, 1983.
  • Car
    and Driver
    listed the Turbo Z model as one of the ten most wanted
    production cars in the country along with the Camaro Z28, Datsun 280ZX
    turbo, Mustang GT, Porsche 944, and Dodge Shelby Charger. The turbocharged engine squeezed out 142 hp and 160 lb-ft of torque, using a Garret AiResearch turbocharger with 7.5
    pounds of boost at the 6000 rpm redline. There was little
    turbo lag. Zero to sixty times were in the 8 to 9 second
    range with the turbo, very good for the time.

1984-daytona.jpg


  • The turbocharged engine used bigger rods to handle the extra power, and had a multiple-port injection system engineered and built at Chrysler's Huntsville plant.
  • An
    optional handling package used Goodyear Eagle GT P195/60R15 tires on
    the 'Swiss-cheese' wheels, with higher spring rates,
    better stabilizer bars/bushings, gas filled struts and shocks, and
    progressive jounce bumpers.
  • Popular Mechanics called the car's electronics "Space Shuttle" like. (2)
  • A
    loaded model went for around $11,000, which was about one and a half times the cost of a stripped Omni. You could tack on
    options like leather, T-tops, power windows, and power locks.

daytona.jpg


1985
Daytona, Daytona Turbo, Daytona Turbo Z, Laser, Laser XE, Laser XT
Engines:
1. 2.2 Liter 93hp 4cyl (Base Engine)
2. Turbocharged 2.2 Liter 142hp 4cyl (Turbo 1)
  • Generally identical to the 1984 production year; wheels move to five lug nuts (from four)
  • Dodge Daytona got the new three-spoke, T-shaped steering wheel, with a "soft feel" rim on base models and leather-wrapped on Turbo. A body color "Whale Tail" rear spoiler was added to Dodge, with new 15-inch cast aluminum wheels for Laser XE and new wheel covers on Laser.
  • The Ultimate Sound System was optional, with a graphic equalizer and much more.
  • The battery was upped to 400 amps, flashing side marker lamps were added, a remote liftgate and fuel door release became standard, new HVAC controls were integrated, and an upshift light was put onto manual transmission models.
  • Three late-introduction packages were added: Shelby Handling (for Daytona Turbo Z only), with four-wheel disc brakes, performance tires, and suspension tuning; the Laser Performance Package (for XE), with similar changes as well as new lower body panels and front fascia; and the T-bar roof.

laser.jpg


1986
Daytona, Daytona Turbo Z (opt. C/S), Laser, Laser XE, Laser XT
Engines:
1. 2.2 Liter 93hp 4cyl (Base Engine)
2. Turbocharged 2.2 Liter 146hp 4cyl (Turbo 1)
3. 2.5 Liter 96hp 4 cyl

daytonas.jpg


  • 86dayshelbyz.jpg
    This was the last year for the Laser; Plymouth picked up the name in 1990 for their Mitsubishi
    Eclipse variant. Chrysler customers were expected to migrate to the Lebaron coupe.
  • The 2.5 liter four cylinder engine became available, with 96 HP (eventually reaching 100) and single-point fuel injection.
  • The 2.2 Turbo I generated 146 hp at 5,200 rpm and 170 lb-ft at 3,600 rpm, according to Chrysler's September-1985 press release.
  • Head bolts on all engines went from 10mm to a stronger 11mm.
  • Styling changes included modified front and rear fascias, new nerf extensions, integrated body side moldings, and the mandated third brake lights in back.
  • The Dodge Daytona Turbo Z had wrap-around front and rear fascias which extended to the wheel openings; accent tape striping; and Turbo Z nameplates on the tail lamp lenses. Tinted glass and new 14-inch cast aluminum wheels were standard, and a new center brake light was integrated into the rear spoiler.

1986-turbo-z.jpg


  • New standard features included an AM stereo/FM stereo with six speakers; four-way adjustable head restraints (standard on Turbo, optional on base with low-back seats); low travel switches in the optional power locks, power windows, rear defogger, and a new fixed intermittent rear wiper/washer system.
  • The 2.2 engine was updated with a new fast-burn ("swirl-head") combustion chamber and low-pressure, single-point fuel injection for better emissions and slightly more torque; compression ratio went from 9:1 to 9.5:1 in the standard engines.
  • In the Turbo I, a newly engineered set of dished pistons were used to keep the compression ratio at 8.1:1; and the enlarged rods introduced in 1984 were replaced with lighter, forged rods; these were strong, but the lighter weight reduced drag on the engine, increasing its net output.

leather-interior.jpg


  • 1986 was the first year to offer the C/S (Carroll Shelby Competition Series)
    package on the Turbo Z model. This car is hard to identify from the exterior and only had small CS badges on the fenders behind the front wheels. Carroll was not directly involved in the
    design of this package. It was called "Porsche-like" due to a
    220 lb weight savings and Dodge's 'Maximum Performance'
    suspension package, which for $183 increased front and rear suspension roll rates by 10% and reduced roll angle in cornering by 10%. The package included:
    1. Performance gas shocks/struts
    2. Thicker anti-sway bar (32mm compared to 27mm)
    3. Solid rear bar (28mm)
    4. New wheels (6.5") with 225/50VR-15 unidirectional Goodyear Gatorback tires mounted on unique 15 x 6.5 inch cast aluminum wheels
1987
Daytona, Daytona Shelby, Daytona Pacifica
Engines:
1. 2.2 Liter 93hp 4cyl
2. Turbocharged 2.2 Liter 142hp 4cyl (Turbo 1)
3. 2.5 Liter 96hp 4 cyl (Base Production Engine)
4. Turbocharged 2.2 Liter Intercooled 174hp 4cyl (Turbo II)
  • 1987-dodge-ad.jpg
    This
    year brought new body styling; the front end got
    pop-up headlights, making it look more like its 1969 namesake. A new rear
    spoiler was optional, the taillights became wrap arounds, and other
    options were also added. The interior was changed slightly for a more modern look and feel.
  • The
    sportier looking Shelby Z edition was offered also, with the turbocharger intercooled for 174
    hp (the Turbo II). A deep chin spoiler and
    225/50-15 tires outwardly identifies this model. Top speed was
    somewhere around the 130s and 0-60 was a quite good 7.2-8.0 sec.
    This was the performance Daytona of the 80s.
    • To handle the power, the Turbo II had a stronger bottom end with a cross-drilled block, forged crankshaft, the larger 1984-85 turbo rods, stronger bearing caps and full-floating pins, and Mahle cast pistons.
  • The base engine changed that year to the 2.5 liter, from the 2.2.
  • The
    Pacifica model entered the lineup with the turbo engine
    standard and a common option group: a front
    spoiler, side skirts, rear spoiler, power windows and locks, digital dash, enthusiast
    seats, sport suspension, Pacifica wheels, and 205/60-15 tires.
  • The C/S package was dropped.
1988
Daytona, Daytona Shelby Z, Daytona Pacifica
Engines:
1. 2.2 Liter 93hp 4cyl
2. Turbocharged 2.2 Liter 142hp 4cyl (Turbo 1)
3. 2.5 Liter 96hp 4 cyl (Base Production Engine)
4. Turbocharged 2.2 Liter Intercooled 174hp 4cyl (Turbo II)
  • This was the last year for the 'Z' model.
  • Chrysler started offering the powerful, highly rated Infinity stereo systems as an option.
  • A driver's side airbag became optional.
  • The C/S package was back for this year and would be offered until 1991. Even better, it was only available on base models, making it rare. There were two versions:
    C/S AGBC/S AGS
    1. 2.2 Turbo 1
    2. 5 speed manual (auto was an option)
    3. 15" "Snowflake" wheels with 205/60 tires
    4. Performance Handling Suspension
      (identical to that used on the Daytona ES Turbo)
    5. Ultra High Performance brakes (from the Daytona Shelby)
    6. High Performance exhaust system
    7. Boost gauge
    8. Exterior
      toys included a rear spoiler, turbo bulge hood,
      and CS badges behind the
      front tires.
    1. Everything in the AGB package plus....
    2. 2.2 Turbo II (Until 1991 when it was replaced by the T1)
    3. 225/50VR-15 Goodyear Gatorback tires
    4. 'Intercooled Turbo' hood decal
    5. Maximum Performance Suspension
      (same as Shelby model)
    6. Performance seats
    7. No auto tranny allowed!
  • Otherwise the year's options were similar to 1987.
1989
Daytona, Daytona ES (w/wo Turbo), Daytona Shelby
Engines:
1. 2.2 Liter 93hp 4cyl
2. Turbocharged 2.2 Liter 142hp 4cyl (Turbo 1)
3. 2.5 Liter 100hp 4 cyl (Base Production Engine)
4. Turbocharged 2.2 Liter Intercooled 174hp 4cyl (Turbo II)
5. Turbocharged 2.5 Liter 150hp 4cyl (Turbo 1)

roooney.jpg


  • The
    1989 model year brought a new turbo powered 2.5 liter 4 with 150 HP as
    an option. Although the 2.5 was physically bigger and had more
    horsepower it did not sell as well as its little brother, the 2.2.
  • The
    Pacifica model became the ES. This model got new ground effects, rear
    bumper and spoiler. This all added to a newer and sportier
    look. The Turbo option included a
    'turbo bulge' on the hood which makes these cars much easier to
    recognize. These cars had the 2.5L Turbo engine standard.
  • New alloy wheels were available.
  • Last year for T-tops and you also got a new sunshade with them.
  • Driver's side air bag became an option, but last year for the digital dash.
  • The
    Shelby model got 5 spoke 'star' type wheels which most admire as the
    nicest looking wheels placed on any Daytona model. The trip
    computer and digital dash also became an option on this model.
  • This was the sales peak for the Daytona. Despite the Turbo IV and V6 options to come in 1990, sales would drop dramatically; and by 1991, few Daytonas were leaving the showrooms.
1990
Daytona, Daytona ES (w/wo Turbo), Daytona Shelby
Engines:
1. 2.2 Liter 93hp 4cyl
2. Turbocharged 2.2 Liter 142hp 4cyl (Turbo 1)
3. 2.5 Liter 100hp 4 cyl (Base Production Engine)
4. Turbocharged 2.2 Liter Intercooled 174hp 4cyl (Turbo II)
5. Turbocharged 2.5 Liter 152hp 4cyl (Turbo 1)
6. Turbocharged 2.2 Liter VNT 174hp 4cyl (Turbo IV)
7. 3.0 Liter 141hp SOHC V6

  • 1990 brought the choice of the popular 3.0 SOHC V-6
    engine from Mitsubishi. Customers liked the idea of
    having a V6 engine in a smaller car, even if it didn't have the
    horsepower of the turbo engines (which required premium fuel and more frequent oil changes); it was smooth and quiet and, aside from valve guides, durable.
  • A sophisticated new variable-nozzle turbo (VNT)
    intercooled 2.2 liter engine pumping out 174 HP was brought out; its basic design would become de rigeur in diesel turbochargers. Zero to sixty times were just
    over 7 seconds, with better driveability due to reduced turbo lag. This engine was quickly dropped by Chrysler, citing turbo
    problems (we were told that a small number of defective turbochargers were made early on). The VNTs are a rare find.
    This engine included balanced shafts and was
    offered with the manual transmision only - as was the later Turbo III. The turbocharger was developed by Garrett, using - according to Bob Sheaves - technology from Chrysler's turbine program.

daytona-1990.jpg


  • The manual transmission was upgraded for smoother shifting.
  • A standard driver's side airbag was added.
  • An
    electronically controlled suspension apparently became available, but we have no evidence it was actually produced. Chrysler photos showed it with three buttons on the center console. Let us know if
    you ever find one.
  • ABS was offered on ES and Shelby models. Fog lights were fitted into the front air dam on ES and Shelby models.
  • The
    interior was completely changed to a cockpit
    wraparound style, with accented door panels. Cruise controls
    were located to the steering wheel and boost gauge was integrated into
    the tachometer. Customers and dealers alike loved it, with possible exclusion of the
    seats, which were not up to par with those of the 1980s.
  • The Daytona body style is used for the first time in I.R.O.C. races, with 355 cid V8 engines.
1991
Daytona, Daytona ES, Daytona Shelby, Daytona IROC
Engines:
1. 2.5 Liter 100hp 4 cyl (Base Production Engine)
2. Turbocharged 2.5 Liter 152hp 4cyl (Turbo 1)
3. 3.0 Liter 141hp SOHC V6

  • The long lived 2.2 liter TBI powerplant was no longer available, but the 2.5
    had about the same gas mileage, with more power and less noise, and was more appropriate for the car.
  • The
    Shelby model was killed off in favor of the IROC, halfway through the
    year. The IROC was only available with the 2.5L Turbo or the V6.
  • Last year for the C/S package.
  • Sales plummeted from already-lower 1990 levels. Not even 20,000 Daytonas were sold.
1992
Daytona, Daytona ES, Daytona IROC, Daytona IROC, Daytona R/T
Engines:
1. 2.5 Liter 100hp 4 cyl (Base Production Engine)
2. Turbocharged 2.5 Liter 152hp 4cyl (Turbo 1)
3. 3.0 Liter 141hp SOHC V6
4. Turbocharged 2.2 Liter 224hp 4cyl (Turbo III)

dodge-daytona-invoice.jpg


  • The final major exterior facelift for the Daytona.
    The pop-up headlights became a now more stylish (and probably cheaper) wraparound version,
    the tail lights were redone slightly, new ground effects were used, and the new Dodge
    'bulls-eye' grill was added.
  • Anti-lock brakes became available on ES and IROC models.
  • The IROC came with the 3.0L V6 standard and 2.5L Turbo
    (rare!) as an option.
  • The Dodge Daytona R/T was the real performer, with a 224 HP
    intercooled twin cam 2.2 Turbo III engine only; this engine was shared only with the Spirit R/T in the US. Speed topped
    out at around 150 and 0-60 in around 6 seconds.
  • The
    Daytona IROC racing bodies were well liked by the IROC drivers; they had 355 cubic inch V-8 engines.
  • Despite the power and speed of Daytona R/T, which was barely marketed and remains almost unknown outside hard-core Mopar circles - sales dropped about as far as they could. Fewer than 11,000 Daytonas were sold, and they could hardly have been profitable with so many options and varieties at that level of production.

turbo-III.jpg


1993
Daytona, Daytona ES, Daytona IROC and IROC R/T, Daytona Shelby R/T
Engines:
1. 2.5 Liter 100hp 4 cyl (Base Production Engine)
2. Turbocharged 2.5 Liter 152hp 4cyl (Turbo 1)
3. 3.0 Liter 141hp SOHC V6
4. Turbocharged 2.2 Liter 224hp 4cyl (Turbo III)

  • ABS became available on the base model, and air conditioning became standard. The base IROC model with turbo was no longer available.
  • The IROC
    R/T came in Emerald Green and Electric Blue; less than ten were made in electric blue! Only about 180 R/Ts were made in 1993, the last year the Daytona was used in I.R.O.C. races. (Daytona IROC R/T was sold as Shelby R/T in Canada).
  • The Mitsubishi-designed Dodge Avenger replaced the Daytona; though also a very low seller, the Avenger managed to beat the Daytona's final 9,062 sales figure, and cost Chrysler very little. With just over nine thousand Daytonas sold, and so many versions, one wonders how much Chrysler was losing on each one.
<a name="credit"></a>Reference Material / Credits

  • (1)"Dodge Daytona Turbo Z", by Don Sherman, Car and Driver, 9/83
  • (2)"Dodge's sporty new coupe...", Popular Mechanics, 7/93
  • "G-24 Super Sports Car", Popular Mechanics, Pg. 65, 2/83
  • "Chrysler G-24 Turbo", Road & Track, 12/82
  • "Dodge Daytona rewrites performance-car theory", Popular Science, 7/93
  • "Dodge
    Daytona ES; The back-road brawler becomes a boulevard cruiser", by
    Nicholas Bissoon-Dath, Car and Driver, Pg 123-127, 8/90
  • "Dodge Daytona Shelby," Road & Track, 41:pg 82-86
  • "Dodge Daytona with the Shelby Touch", Design News, 10/5/87, pg 78-9
  • "Dodge Daytona IROC R/T, A Rough and Tumble Thumper", by Daniel Charles Ross, Motor Trend, 2/93, Pg. 62-5, 67-68
  • Mopar Performance 1997 Catalog, Catalog No. P4876297

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