1989 Dodge Daytona

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I think everyone knows about the iconic ’69 Dodge Charger Daytona. This incredible car, with a sharp front fairing and an incredibly high wing, was named after the Daytona 500 race held in Florida. The Daytona produced from ’84 to ’93 was named after the aforementioned famous car.
They are quite different. The 1989 Dodge Daytona doesn’t have a big V8, it has front wheel drive, only four cylinders and a turbocharger in the top version. This may surprise you, but the Daytona came about as a replacement for the Charger. Probably it reads strange, but let’s remember the time called the sick era of muscle cars. It is considered to be the period between ’74 and ’83, when power of top-end, 5-liter V8s was often 130-140 horsepower. And the Charger produced during this era was based on the Mitsubishi Galant and developed 82 horsepower!

After the oil crisis, automakers from the U.S. reduced the power of their cars very sharply. The new Dodge Daytona became the car, which offered more power. And although this power was derived from a transversely mounted, four-cylinder unit and sent to the front wheels, this car can be classified as a renaissance era, when Americans again had the opportunity to buy a fast car. Even in its weakest version, the Daytona was slightly more powerful than the Charger, and with the turbocharger it was twice as powerful as the previous model.

The 1989 Dodge Daytona had the hand of such greats as Carroll Shelby and Lee Iacocca. And by the way, it was the Daytona that became the last car of the Chrysler concern, on which you can see the Shelby logo. At the same time, the car received direct injection and turbocharging, the first time in the history of the company. In those years, 174 horsepower was already a significant indicator, especially if the car itself did not weigh much.

It is necessary to remember, that Dodge Daytona had a twin from Chrysler; – the model Laser. The best sales were in ’89, – 69,998 cars, and the worst in ’92 – 10,937. 27.5 thousand cars were sold in version Turbo Z, which in ’87 was renamed to Shelby Z. Originally Daytona was offered in three modifications; standard, turbo and turbo z. It is also noteworthy that some dealers conducted test runs on the famous, race track Daytona 500.

Car and driver magazine listed the Daytona as one of the 10 best cars, in ’84. And Popular Mechanics compared the Daytona’s interior to the cockpit of the space shuttle. It was not only quite powerful, but also innovative and at the same time affordable car. It was originally assembled in Missouri, but closer to being phased out in ’92, production was moved to Michigan. We will talk about the appearance below, but I must say that in ’92 Dodge received open headlights, and in the same year appeared a new, but now familiar emblem with a ram’s head.

Sale and price of 1989 Dodge Daytona.

It was already possible to buy the base Daytona for $10,227. The car with the targa type body was $500 more expensive and the Ford Mustang was cheaper by the same amount. But it’s worth realizing that it was a Mustang from that – the sickest era, which means the Daytona gave more and it wasn’t just about power. Chrysler gave a warranty of 5 years, or 50,000 miles. Today, some examples are priced at $13,000. And if not to take inflation into account, today such a car sometimes sells for even more money than it was in the 80s.

The 1989 Dodge Daytona was available in many variations. Among them was a concept car, which was close to being launched into production – Decepzione. This car was created after Chrysler took over Lamborghini. For this reason it got a 3.5 liter V8 from Jalpa. It was four wheel drive, but one of the big reasons that prevented it from being put into production was that the ground clearance under the oil pan was only 4cm. In spite of the efforts it was impossible to increase it too much.

Exterior and photos.
The easiest way to distinguish the Dodge Daytona from the Chrysler Laser is to look at the headlights. Such headlights were very popular on sports cars in the 80s. But due to the significant deterioration of aerodynamics, pedestrian safety and just because of the changed fashion, in ’92 the Daytona got regular open headlights. In the pre-styled Dodge, the panel around the raised headlights was made of plastic. This gives the car some resemblance to the ’69 Daytona. The Chrysler Laser originally had open headlights and had a better drag coefficient, 0.35. It was the first sports car from Chrysler, but it was produced only two years – from ’84 to ’86. By the way, in ’86 Dodge received a body with an open top like targa. In general, 5984 copies of these trucks were produced.

It is interesting, that up to ’92, when Dodge got a new emblem in the form of a sheep’s head, Dodge had a Chrysler star, but the back side was written with Daytona lettering.
Powerful versions of the Turbo Z could be recognized by the lower side window trim. The ’87 had the Shelby Z lettering on the same spot. At the request of the first buyer, the rear window could be decorated with a plastic panel that protected it from the sun.
With a body length of 4544mm, the wheelbase is 2464mm and the curb weight of the car with the big V6 3.0 from Mitsubishi is 1374kg. It is a front-wheel drive car and 61% of the total weight was on the front axle. The front-wheel drive helped provide better traction, but did not improve handling. The four-cylinder cars, even supercharged, had better controllability.
One could recognize the Caroll Shelby cars by the CS signs on the hubcaps, which covered the bolts. By the way, in ’85, the car received 5 wheels on each wheel, prior to that it had 4. In the same year, the antifenders were installed not only on the Turbo, but also on regular versions.
The base 1989 Dodge Daytona used 195/60 R15 tires.

Equipment and interior.
Initially, the Daytona was equipped with a fully electronic dashboard. Once again, let’s remember that this is the ’84! It had an electronic speedometer and tachometer. When starting the engine, the speedometer read 188k miles, and the electronic tachometer scale went up to 7,000 rpm.

The car received a system of sound alerts. The Daytona warns the driver in a human, not robotic, voice about: an open door (with a lit, open door graphic indicator), low engine oil pressure, high engine temperature, low coolant level, low fuel level, or worn brake pads.

This is not a complete list of reminders that a car from Chrysler is capable of. Now do you understand why some journalists have compared the Daytona’s interior to the space shuttle? Among all the instruments is a boost pressure gauge. It is a reminder that the car is equipped with a turbocharger. In ’90, there is a new, dashboard with regular, analog instruments.

The expensive IROC speedometer is graduated up to 160 miles, while the regular model has up to 125 miles.

Measurements of journalists showed that at 30 miles per hour, the noise level in the cabin is 69 decibels. In the photo I tried to show the unusual shape of the door – it is clearly visible when you open it.

The Daytona is also unusual in the rear seats. Unlike most cars of a similar class (although in the early 80’s this niche had not yet been formed) in the back is not a single couch, but two separate seats without headrests. The backs of the rear seats can be folded down, but there is no flat floor. According to the photo, you can notice that the car is equipped with sun visors not only in front, but also in the back – a very rare decision. The luggage compartment is equipped with special straps, which can fix the load. In addition, the luggage can be covered with a special curtain.

The Daytona has leather interior and the front seats can be electrically adjusted in eight directions, but the steering wheel can be adjusted manually. The latter solution is characteristic of American cars. Even on the much more expensive, American cars, which were produced 10 years later, the steering wheel adjustment was made manually. Expensive versions were equipped with an Infiniti cassette recorder with equalizer. The latter complemented the Daytona’s futuristic image.

Engine and Specifications 1989 Dodge Daytona.

The 1989 Dodge Daytona was originally powered by the four-cylinder 2.2L Chrysler K engine. This was achieved with a cylinder diameter of 3.44d (87.5mm) and a stroke of 3.62d (92mm). The timing belt drive was used on both the supercharged and turbocharged versions. The supercharged car was easily recognized by the Chrysler Turbo inscription on the valve cover. The least powerful, the atmospheric Daytona produced 93 horsepower. The turbocharged car equipped with a Garrett turbo makes 143 horsepower, which was a decent figure for the ’84. With a torque of 217Nm, together with a five-speed manual, this Dodge is able to accelerate to 100 km in 8.5 seconds. Consumption in the city is claimed to be 9.8L, and on the highway, it is 5.5L.

Certainly, the declared indicators of consumption are reached at optimum road conditions, but it also concerns modern automobiles. And 10 liters in a city, for a car with 140 horsepower and today can be considered not a high fuel consumption. The authoritative car and driver magazine put the car with such motor in one number with Camaro Z28, Mustang GT, Datsun 280ZX Turbo, and even Porshce 944. Thus journalists noticed the strong vibration on a steering wheel, and also thruster effect, during intensive acceleration.

In ’85, the power of turbocharged 2.2 liter engine was increased to 146 horsepower. The same year the supercharged 2.5 liter four-cylinder unit with output of 100 horsepower was introduced.
In ’87, there was a powerful Shelby Z model, which developed 174 hp and 271 Nm of torque. This modification was equipped with fully disc brakes and thicker anti-roll bars. The diameter of stabilizers were 1.3d (32mm) in the front and 1.1d (28mm) in the rear. This modification improved the handling. 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby Z was equipped with Goodyear 225/50 R15 tires. Only 7704 of these cars were made. Today, they are highly prized among collectors.
In ’89 the basic turbocharged 2.2 liter engine was replaced by a 2.5 with the same number of cylinders and a power of 150 hp.
In the 90th Shelby Z got a turbine with variable geometry blades, which improved traction at low rpm, but the power remained at the same level – 174 hp, torque – 271Nm. From zero to 100 km Shelby Z accelerated in 7.6 seconds and reached a top speed of 217 km.
Also in ’90, there was a big V6 3.0 from Mitsuhishi. This had 143 horsepower and 232Nm of torque. The compression ratio is 8.9:1. Ratio of the main gear is 2.51:1, from zero to 69 miles V6 accelerated in 8.4 seconds, the maximum speed – 201 km per hour.
In ’92 came the most powerful and rare modification – IROC R/T. This car was equipped with an intercooler, and it was the most powerful liter among the other trucks of Chrysler.
Just from the photo, you can see that on all four-cylinder versions, the generator is mounted on top of the engine compartment. The fuel tank holds 53 liters, and the transmission could be 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic.

Certainly it is impossible to tell, that Dodge Daytona became reincarnation of muscular trucks of a gold epoch. But this car is an example of power revival. Let it not have powerful V8, which began to appear again in the 90’s and especially zero, but after the sick epoch, this car became the ray of light. Chrysler has chosen very suitable name for it – Laser.

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