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Interested in a Daytona:

3923 Views 23 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Sir Moses Wellington
Hi all, been gone for awhile. In that time, and with things going IRL, I think I may be at least parking my 01 Sebring coupe (if not selling it off) after and if I sell my 70 GTX (trying to do so since last year). If I manage to find one for cheap enough, I may just buy it without selling the GTX.

For now, all I have in mind is trying to find just a 2.2L or 2.5L naturally aspirated (which one is more reliable, or are they bother pretty reliable overall?) with a 5 speed. That or at worst, a 3.0L with the 5 speed. Looking for a manual.

I also have a few questions about Daytonas. What are the most reliable years? I would imagine that last years, and thats the ones I was looking at. I want at least a later 2nd generation model or 3rd with the fixed headlamps (which I would prefer honestly, not a big fan of pop ups). Anyway, related to that, what should I look at replacing on the car wether or not it's running well? I'm probably going to replace the plugs, plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, change the oil and put some injector cleaner in there (or have them cleaned/replaced). Well, if they look like they need it anyway.

Sadly, missed a decent one for $500 (at least it was okay from what I could tell) in my area. Haven't ever had luck finding them on eBay or, and their either too nice or too abused for what I'm looking for. It seems I can't find much under $2000 or even $3500. Those I do find usually don't make it up over $3000 in the bids, so I'm not the only one thinking these guys are crazy asking the kinda money they are lately for these cars... And just a note, I live in the North East, so if you have a car that's west of Ohio or south of Maryland, I probably can't get to you, but I will be at Carlisle and possibly the Nationals in Columbus.
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I have owned a 1985 new, a 1992 new, now have a 1993 used and a 1984 Turbo Z used. All over the last 27 years; so I can give you almost as good info as a couple of other members who have actually taken apart and rebuilt, and owned several more than me.

The first and 2nd gen were built in St Louis. 2nd gen (1987-91) has the pop-up headlights. 3rd gen was made in a different plant, I forget whether it was the Sterling Heights or Normal plant. What I have notice is that:

They are equally reliable in general.
First gen seems to have the least rust; 3rd gen the most.
The worst rust is at the rocker panels and rear crossmember. Both can be repaired if you or someone you know can weld.

Personally, I like the style of the gen 1 exterior best, the 2nd the least. The 3rd gen, I like the exterior style, and I like the *features* of the 3rd gen interior, although the dash may not be as attractive. I REALLY like having a handbrake, and the turn signal lever on the dash, and cruise control on the wheel. The radio is much easier to reach on the 3rd gen.

The A523 of the 3rd gen is the best, smoothest-shifting transmission. It glides into each gear. The A525 of the first gen is notchy and sometimes balky on downshifts.

2.2 and 2.5, no difference in reliability or serviceability.

Daytonas are almost impossible to find in the Northeast. I flew to Alamaba to buy my 84 from another member. I drove to the Hudson Valley to find my 93, and it was very rusty; I had it fixed. I NEVER see any on the road, ever, around MA, though there is one in my city owned by someone who goes to Carlisle every year.
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They used to be all over the North East, from what I've heard, but it seems they've all moved out. I know where a guy has 3 decent ones down in West Virginia, at least from what I could look at quickly. Sadly, that's a bit too far for me to do and risk him not selling/wanting to sell/want too much for them or them ending up being rusty piles (which in West Virginia, tends to be ALL anyone has). Especially since they all lived outside, and looked like it. I forget what gen those are though.

It's a real shame, I really should have checked more at Carlisle earlier and probably bought a cheap one back when the economy was bad and no one was asking much for them.
I've had an '86 since it was new in December of '85. It's had some issues of course but nothing that couldn't 'rather' easily be resolved. I would say it has been very reliable over the past 325,000 miles. :)
Okay, I've looked at the Daytona and 2.2/2.5 pages, and I have a few questions regarding that.

I'm already assuming that the MPI 2.2L would be just about impossible to find in the US, as would the 2.5L. If I manage to find one, I'll make sure to post it up that its a MPI engine.

Another question I have, and this isn't a huge importance, but I was wondering about the 2.2L and 2.5L "common block" that was started in 1989. Would all Daytonas already have the stronger blocks in them even before this, or was it just kinda mismatched/trim based? This is in case I would want to throw some heads and maybe a really light turbo on later, and I'm sure it would be at least a little more reliable (not that it would probably make much, if any difference on a NA motor).

Also, with the turbos. They require premium fuel, correct? Also, what kind of life span do they have if your not beating on the car? What kind of mileage do you get out of the turbo motors vs. the NA motors when driving lightly? I'm guessing the factory turbo motors are a little lower milage, but what are your experiences with them?
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I can't answer for the block, there are some good writeups here. If you make even a "light" turbo, which is essentially the T1, you need the forged pistons and other heavy-duty parts, anyway.

My 84 Turbo Z appears to have the original turbo, based on its appearance and that of its fasteners. So, 29 years and 130K miles, I'm the 4th owner, have had it 5 years and 10K miles. It was a daily driver before me. I run it about once a month, and take it to Carlisle every year, and a few small shows, and other short trips for fun. I've goosed it maybe a dozen times in all, otherwise it gets very light spool-up. It runs like new (just needs some motor mounts, it vibrates a lot). I think the turbo would last forever under my driving conditions,

I have a lifetime average of 31 mpg with my turbo. On commutes, I can get 33 mpg at 65 mph, and on trips to Carlisle (400+ miles), with some 55 mph roads, I get up to 35 mpg. In contrast, my 93 Daytona 2.5L 5-speed base model gets 30-32 mpg.
Thanks for the info Bob. :thumbsup: Between the cost gap in gas, as well as insurance and possible repairs related to turbo motors (along with the different heads, pistons, etc), mainly the parts being harder to find and more costly, I'm sticking to the NA motors.

I found one car kinda close, just over an hour away. Gonna talk to the guy again to try and get over there soon. It's just a base car, manual, he thinks it's a 2.2L but not 100 percent sure on it. It looks acceptable. Also said some rust on the rocker panels, not surprising based on your input. It's a maroon 88. Not bad, and I know where theres an 88 or so T-Top Turbo Z. Sadly, it's in bad shape. And he wants too much for even a decent one. :glare: I could probably talk him down on that, but with the shape it's in, I think he'll be willing to just part it. I'll grab all the ground effects and spoilers it has, then scuff it up and get someone to paint them up the same maroon as the car.

And thanks for all the input and info guys, I really appreciate the help. It honestly looks like a good investment to try and cut down on spending long run (don't we all right now?) over what I have, which is still good...but cutting down is cutting down.
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You can get alot of miles on the Turbo motors and the Turbo. I had an 84 Laser XE Turbo, it had right about 200k miles on it when the tranny went and the headgasket started to leak. For time sake I replaced the motor and tranny from another running Daytona Turbo that had 150K miles on it and sold it to a friend that put at least 50k on that motor. The original Turbo from the original motor was put on a friends car and has but about 60k miles on that turbo. The Turbo it's self is has close to 300k miles on it without it being rebuilt, and I beat the crap out of that car. 10 years of 7,000 rpm shifts, used to run the car soo hard the Turbo glowed bright red. All in all proplerly maintained a Turbo motor will last just as long as a N/A motor. When it comes to pistons, heads and Turbos, there is still an aftermarket backing for the Turbo cars.
Sir Moses;
-if you get that 88 Shelby Z for part, I have to suggest it is a VERY good move. It has all the strong turbo parts hou might ever want, it has the forged crank, 555 getrag t5 speed, reenforced bottom end, it is a turbo II (ie; intercooled).

I openly admit that I am partial to the second gen Z cars, the thing I like most is the actual ride quality. Each day that I drive that thing just makes me feel bad for someone who never has. I am not saying that the Z you are considering will perform the same but if it does, it is a deal n ot to be missed!

With those parts you could transform aNy Daytona, or possible a number of the EEK's (Shadow, LeBaron, Spirit, Caravan, Laser, Town Country wagon or a Reliant...even an Omni or Charger) into an incredible drivin g machine.
Okay, thanks for the idea.

Went to go see that Daytona I said about. The interior looked like it was brand new. :thumbsup: other than the headliner had been pulled out. :angry2:

However, I knew this already, it had rust on the passenger rocker panel (it was rotted the entire way through, almost the full length of the panel), the rear bumper bracket on the passenger side was rotted through as well. The drivers side of both of those was actually in really good shape. The struts up front were shot. It needed new tires all around. AC probably didn't work. Switcher for the HVAC didn't work, it was stuck on defrost and slightly in the floor. It was an honestly okay car, but to get it safe to drive daily or close to was far from worth it. If he wanted $500 for it, I may have considered it, but for what he's asking, I'll pass. Found a 91 Shelby even furthur away, called, see what they say when they call me back.
Okay, now question time again. So today, managed to get to that 91 Shelby. Tons of new(er) stuff on it, says he did a ton of stuff (new rotors, pads, struts, etc) to make sure his wife didn't call to say she broke down. It's a White 91 C/S package car...really, it is. Paint is just fine, only place I could find it was actually bad was on the spoiler on the hatch, clear missing in some spots. Sadly, it has one of those rotating pop-up moon roofs, which I dislike cause there is no way to block the sun. Interior looked perfect, other than the headliner, which was ripped out and apparently the front seats were kinda torn up a bit on the sides, but they had seat covers on them. Red interior color, pretty nice actually.

So question, cause I can't seem to find an exact answer on it. What motor is in the Shelby's for that year? 2.2L or 2.5L and then which number designation is it? (1, 2, 3...although I'm sure it's not a 3). Also, does it need to be premium fuel? I'm pretty sure, but I have to ask again to make sure. I honestly don't want premium, but with how good of shape this car is in for the money, I may just get it and deal with it. Thanks
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Is it a Shelby or is it a C/S, there is a difference.

If it is a Turbo, it would be a 2.5L Turbo I. That does require premium fuel.
bamman said:
Is it a Shelby or is it a C/S, there is a difference. If it is a Turbo, it would be a 2.5L Turbo I. That does require premium fuel.
I'm honestly not sure. The wheels it had said C/S on it, but I didn't pay all too much attention to that, I was more worried about the other things with the vehicle.
By 91 the only Turbo Motor you could get in a Daytona was the 2.5 Turbo I. A C/S package Daytona would not have the ground effects on the car. Looks like a plain jane Daytona with C/S wheels and a rear spoiler, while the Shelby Daytona would have the ground effects on it. Per the owners manual for Turbocharged cars, 91 octane preferred, 87 octane acceptable.
Okay, thanks. It has C/S on the wheels, but it had air damns and ground effects, and the rear spoiler. So must just be a Shebly. No idea...

Okay, so 87 is fine then, that's good. I'll probably try to keep it 87, maybe with octane boosters...but I honestly don't know if I'm even buying it.
As a compromise, you can run 89. If your winters get down to the 40s or lower, you can run 87 then. The only time I need 91 is on hot summer days when driving in mountains.
Bob Lincoln said:
As a compromise, you can run 89. If your winters get down to the 40s or lower, you can run 87 then. The only time I need 91 is on hot summer days when driving in mountains.
Ha, I'm in the northeast. It was below 40 from late October till about 3 weeks ago. It finally got and stayed above 40 since then. A few warm/hot days during the winter, but just singular days or one or two in a row. Only a few of those. 91 I'll have to run in summer, which for me is usually when I run my daily driver less and my GTX a little more (I just don't have to go as many places during the summer with my schedual). 89 will probably be run spring and fall. Thanks for the tip.
It does have an anti-knock sensor, so it will simply retard the timing and hurt the gas mileage slightly to protect the engine. You might want to experiment.
I will. Okay, found a Black 93 IROC R/T. It's so nice. But he wants so much for it (at least a where near as off the price as a lot of them I've guy wants $8500 for a 41,000 mile plain jane red Turbo Z, I think it's an 88 :unsure: ). I don't know if I should get it on the cheap now and have it as an investment car (cause I think my GTX peaked...) for the up coming years when it gets into being considered a classic and the value will probably go up a bit for a nice original one.

But then I wouldn't be able to drive it and it would be a car to play with on the weekends until it shoots up in value and I get rid of it inevitably. Seems there aren't any good NA motors left anywhere near me, at least with the owner not thinking it's worth a ton of money and won't budge on the price.
Book value on these has slid over the last 3 years. My 84 Turbo Z has gone from $5,200 to less than $4,000. Don't overpay. These people are not being realistic. These are never going to be 70s Challengers in collectibility.
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