5-Speed Project: 1987 Dodge Daytona

This 1987 Dodge Daytona may not be the sexiest version out there, as it lacks any IROC or Shelby badging that many of the more coveted models display. But the good news is that it comes with the preferred manual transmission and seems like a potentially solid driver for not much cash. The seller specializes in donation vehicles and provides a standardized form of the vehicle’s wants and needs – and fortunately, this Daytona doesn’t seem too needy. Find it here on eBay with bids just over $1K and no reserve.

The Daytona remains a good looking hatchback many years later, an impressive achievement considering it wasn’t exactly built to be a world-beater when new. Usually, aging gracefully is the last thing on the mind of engineers building a car meant to occupy the middle- to lower-tiers of a brand’s lineup, but the Daytona has fared well in this regard. I always dug the integrated rear spoiler, alloy wheels with gold accents, tinted taillights, and the red detail stripe running from one bumper to another. This one looks handsome with navy blue paint.

One of my favorite features of the Daytona was the bucket seats, which always struck me as being very generously bolstered for a basic piece of transportation. The interior of this example remains in great shape, and of course, the manual transmission is a welcome feature in a Daytona not graced with a turbocharger or Carroll Shelby’s handiwork. It’s hard to say for sure, but the backseat looks like it’s seen very little use. The listing notes no major electrical faults other than an in-op voltage meter, which is an easy fix/replacement.

Underneath, the Daytona presents well. Many of the cars and trucks this seller lists have significant rot issues in the frame and other places (again, they are simply posting donation vehicles in no-reserve formats, so there’s no issue with listing parts cars), so this is clearly one of the vehicles they have in inventory that should return to road-going use without too much hassle. While it will never be tremendously more valuable than it is right now, this is a fine choice for an entry-level classic with the potential for plenty of OEM upgrades from the parts bin.


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  1. SusanOliver

    Hmmm, strange. It has the turbo 2 hood. Seems to me in 1987 the standard engine was not a 2.2, it was a 2.5 if not a turbo.. The wheels do not look like what came on a Shelby Z. Strange color for a Shelby Turbo Z. Would be nice if there was an engine shot. If it was a turbo, you would think one in this fine shape would command more and the ad would say so.. Is the seller not knowing what they have or are they trying to pull a fast one? An odd duck of a car, should be inspected in person. . Agree, the seats are wonderful. Rode many times in a friends, always comfortable with good support.

    Like 3
  2. robh693

    Interesting..an auction listing of this car from 2014. Seems to have had a rough life since then.

    Like 2
    • SusanOliver

      Good catch! You are a winner. Interested in a crotchety old maid? I need a smart man in my life who has the interests that I do.

      Like 7
  3. John D.

    I had an 84 Laser XE with the 2.2 5 Speed. Performance was ‘Meh’ but the 85 XT with the turbo 5 speed was great. I wish that car still existed, it got totaled when it was parked. It was good looking too.

    All in all, it was a competent set up and the factory sunroof on the XT was a super design.

    I believe the seats were sourced from Recaro and were indeed, very comfortable.

    Like 4
  4. Bakyrdhero

    I grew up with an 88 Shelby turbo z. Those are not the Shelby wheels as I remember them. The seats are as comfortable as they look and the rear seat probably hasn’t been sat in because getting in and out of it is hassle. Someday I’ll pull the trigger on one of these, but I’ll hold out for a Shelby. I love these cars.

    Like 3
  5. Rich

    Sure looks to me like it says Shelby Z under the passenger side taillight, which would have been correct for an ’87. Also, the performance hood, and enthusiast seats weren’t available on the non turbo models. The wheels are incorrect. They look like the ones available on the later upscale Shadows, and Sundances.

    Like 2
  6. Todd

    Wheels maybe from a Lebanon GTC?

    Like 1
  7. Russell Ashley

    Look at the eBay ad, it was donated to a charity. These people normally don’t know anything about a donated car so that’s probably why the description might not be exactly accurate. The car looks pretty good to me.

    Like 2

    They make a rear wheel drive conversion kit for this.
    318 or 360 rear wheel drive would make this really really fun.

  9. Del

    How did someone find a 2014 advert ?

    Like 1
    • robh693

      Googled the VIN. The page for it still exists.

  10. Ten50boy

    This one looks like a decent project. The wheels were used on some Daytona models… usually non turbo i believe. I have owned about 30 cars….. from a 65 A code Mustang, to a 66 k code, fox bodies, 2nd and 3rd gen T/A’s, Firebirds, Camaros, numerous foreign rides including an 86 300zx that I still have….. but freshman year of college, I had an 86 Turbo Daytona C/S. It was super rare…..i bought it on Long Island from a nephew of a former owner of a Chrysler dealership. Was allegedly used at the Auto Show in the Dodge area for 86. The dealer acquired it after. It was Gunmetal Blue Metallic, it had a 5spd, the black leather Mark Cross interior, ttops and analog (sooooo much better) gauges. Try finding one with that combo….. it won’t happen. But if you do……. let me know!!!!! I loved that car. Great memories. Lost my scholarship being a stupid kid chasing girls…. came home to attend Community College and get my grades up before moving on again to another college. Folks had me sell the car. Some guy who worked for Chrysler showed up, checked the codes with a few flips of the key in the ignition and waved $$$ ……. driving off into the sunset (literally) with my pride and joy. Yeah, all those other cars came later…… but….. even though they are worth more, are faster, by most people’s standards…. cooler……I would trade any car I once owned to have that car back. Being this link is so old, no one will most likely read this……. but just in case……… if anyone knows that guy from Port Jefferson Long Island that bought my car in 94……… let me know if you have any idea where it is or where it went. I last saw it in 95 on the 4th of July headed away from Jones Beach……I was unfortunately traveling the opposite way…… damn divided parkway with no turn around!!!!!! Anyhow, great car, better memories. Seriously though….. if anyone ever reads this or knows anything about my lost pride and joy…… let me know

    • Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

      Just letting you know I read this. Though it’s an old thread some people get email notifications to it. I don’t know anything about your Dodge Daytona but I’ll bet it was a hell of a car. I do know what it’s like to search for the car that got away, so I wish you the best of luck.

      • Ten50boy

        It was a great car! Thank you! Appreciate the reply more than you know! Who knows, maybe some day I’ll get word from someone. Not holding out much hope though.

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