The 1984-1990 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z & Shelby Z were the hottest of Dodge's late-'80s G-24 front-drive sports coupes, riding a platform shared with Chrysler's near-identical 1984-1986 Laser. These vehicles were called Turbo Z for its 1984 debut, Shelby Z for 1987-1988, then Daytona Shelby -- the latter two for Chrysler performance consultant Carroll Shelby.

 

1984 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z coupe, part of the 1984-1990 Dodge Daytona line
1984 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z coupe. See more pictures of classic cars.

Its much-modified K-car chassis featured all-round coil springs, front MacPherson struts, trailing-arm rear beam axle, and power rack-and-pinion steering topped by a husky 2+2 "fasthatch" body with design overtones of the Chevy Camaro and Porsche 928. The Turbo/Shelby powertrain was always a transverse turbocharged 2.2-liter four (initially the 146-bhp "Turbo I") teamed with a manual five-speed or optional three-speed automatic transaxle.

Horsepower was upped on the 1987 "Turbo II" engine (manual-shift only) via an intercooler and higher boost pressure; internals were strengthened, too. The new 1990 "Turbo IV" had better driveability (mainly less throttle lag) with a new VNT blower (Variable Nozzle Technology).

All Daytonas were facelifted for 1987 with a hidden-headlamp "droop snoot" and revamped tail. Upgrades included a standard driver's airbag for 1988, no-cost all-disc brakes from 1989, a new dash and cockpit-adjustable variable-rate shock absorbers for 1990. Confusingly, a C/S Competition Package was optionally available for base models from 1988 and delivered most Shelby goodies -- racy exterior add-ons, fortified chassis, hot engine -- with less weight.

Still, the later Shelby-badged models look the best collector bets, with Turbo Zs trailing. None, however, should start being gathered in for a good while yet.

Pluses of the 1984-1990 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z & Shelby Z:

  • Agile front-drive handling
  • Good go (8-9 seconds 0-60)
  • Grippy
  • Purposeful looks

Minuses of the 1984-1990 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z & Shelby Z:

  • Clunky manual shifter
  • Hazy collector prospects
  • Marked torque-steer
  • Some body and cockpit trim juvenile
  • Stiff ride

Production of the 1984 Turbo Z:
5,000

Production of the 1985 Turbo Z:
8,023

Production of the 1986 Turbo Z:
17,595

Production of the 1987 Dodge Shelby Z:
7,152

Production of the 1988 Dodge Shelby Z:
7,580

Specifications of the 1984-1990 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z & Shelby Z:
Wheelbase, inches: 97.1
Length, inches: 175.0

Weight, pounds: 2,650-2,950

Price, new
: $11,495-$13,295 (U.S.)

Engines for the 1984-1990 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z & Shelby Z:

TypeSize
Horsepower
Years
ohc I-4*
135 cid
146
1984-1986
ohc I-4*
135 cid
174
1987-1990
ohc I-4*
156 cid
150
1990

* turbocharged

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