Owner Went West: Dodge Daytona Shelby Turbo Z

This rare Dodge Daytona Shelby Turbo Z popped up in a New Hampshire barn, where it’s been stashed since the owner left for the West Coast in 2003 – and never returned. Fortunately, it looks like he or she took decent care of the Shelby, as it appears to just need a good detailing before hitting the road once again. Find it here on craigslist in Keene, NH for just $1,000. 

The 1986 Turbo Z was a bit unusual in the roster of Shelby Chargers. It sported the 2.2L turbo mill, which got a slight bump in power the year before to 146 b.h.p. For 1986, checking the Carroll Shelby option got you a nifty suspension upgrade: bigger sway bars front and rear, performance shocks absorbers and a meaty tire package. Additionally, a few owners checked the box for the t-top roof, which this car has – making it one of 5,984 Daytonas with the removable panels.

When you factor in that just over 7,000 Daytona buyers chose the Shelby suspension package, this is actually a fairly unique example. The interior is a bit tired, with dry and torn-up sport buckets. The rough condition of the seats is most surprising to me, considering I have seen these cars in junkyards with seats in better condition than this one. The automatic is also a bummer, but the dash appears to be in good shape and the original radio is still in place.

Out back, the period-correct louvers look great on this Daytona, along with the aero bits the Shelby kit included. The wheel designs changed over the years, and these are what I believe get referred to as the “swiss cheese” look (as opposed to the previous model year’s “pizza” wheels – whoever was in charge of nicknames must have been hungry.) For $1,000, it seems too good to be true – until you read that it’s not running. The seller even uses the word “stuck,” which seems unlikely for such a stout motor, but that’s a chance the next owner will have to take.

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  1. Superdessucke

    Most of these lead short nasty lives. Few survived past the mid-1990s. It is very rare to see these things at all now, much less in original condition.

    Though the trim parts would be virtually unobtanium, and it’s the less desirable automatic, at this price it might be worth taking a flyer. 1k is pocket change.

  2. Gary

    Wow, almost identical to my first new car. Though I had the good sense to get the 5 speed manual trans!

    One correction on your narrative:
    “The 1986 Turbo Z was a bit unusual in the roster of Shelby Chargers.”

    The Daytona was G-body and significantly different than the Charger (L-body).

  3. Rx7turboII

    Those wheels are called”crab” style wheels and if this were closer to IL I would own it by now! I love these ttop turbo daytonas!!

    • Ram Rod

      Yes those are the crab wheels. I’m in Pa and that car is do able for me.

  4. Jeremy

    I’ve got an 86 Daytona Turbo Z C/S as well, but mine is the even more rare black with gold pinstripe and gold crab wheels. Fully optioned car that I bought in 1990.

    They’re fun cars to play around with, and there’s a ton of aftermarket stuff out there for them.

  5. Bob Hess

    Jeremy… We bought the identical car new in ’86 as wife’s grocery getter/autocross car. It turned out to be a great car… fast, handled well and leather seats were the best we’ve ever owned. The gold wheels and trim were especially attractive. It had the 5 speed manual transmission and we pulled just over 140 mph out of it on a timed run on an empty interstate. Trip/speed/mileage computer was unique and suprisingly accurate.

    • Jeremy

      I’ve had mine up in the 140 MPH area as well, and the seats in these are still some of the best I’ve ever sat in. Only complaint I’ve ever had is a bit of excessive rattle & flex in the t-top area, but it’s nothing a good set of subframe connectors, a strut tower brace, and maybe a rear brace wouldn’t cure.

  6. The Walrus

    This is not a Shelby Z, it’s a Turbo Z. Shelby Z’s were ’87, ’88 only. Shelby didn’t license his name to the car until 1987. It won’t say Shelby anywhere on it. It says C/S, which is for the ‘Shelby inspired’ Competition Suspension…

    • The Walrus

      Because I often hear ‘but that’s the Shelby logo on the side’, let me assure you, it is not. This pic shows an OEM ‘Competition Suspension’ (pre-87)/ ‘Competition Series’ (post-88) emblem (red) and the official Shelby logo from the horn button of a 1989 Shelby Dakota (blue). They are similar, but not the same. The ‘blue logo’ can be found on all numbered Shelby cars, the Shelby Chargers and the Fords. The ‘red logo’ is a Chrysler trademark, and, as a graphic doesn’t make a whole lotta sense, given the ‘checkered flag’ would be in the middle of the track, vs at one end as is the blue logo.

    • Rx7turboII

      Thank you walrus, something I actually did not know! I thought the C/S on the side of the car still for Carroll Shelby to be honest. It’s okay though, once they went to the 87 model with the flip-up headlights I totally lost all interest in the car as the front nose was just so flipping ugly it wasn’t even funny.

  7. RandyS

    Love the crab wheels. Put a set on my Neon ACR back in the day.

  8. John D

    We took an 86 C/S on trade in 88. I drove it about 100 miles to meet my girlfriend for dinner. I loved the handling and the seats, but the ride was so rough over the interstate, that I parked it and found something on the lot that was comfortable to drive.

  9. Gary

    I stopped short of ordering the C/S package, but used to beat the C/S guys hands down in a street race. That was because I had a friend in Chrysler Product Engineering who gave me a special calibration for my engine computer. This allowed me get more than 14 lbs of boost from the turbo when the factory calibration would limit them to 7 lbs. Such fun!

  10. Loco Mikado

    I never have figured out how someone could “forget” a car they owned unless they died, went crazy or got locked up in jail. Somehow it just doesn’t sound right when the same story gets repeated over and over in different ads for different cars. Maybe I am just too possessive, I know where everything I own is.

  11. Mike Mopar

    The t top cars had rear sunvisors. My friend George ordered a black on black on April 26, 1986. He took delivery the last week of June. His plate said “SHEL·BZ” fun car. Handled like it was on rails. Goodyear Z rated tires. (ordered on 4-26 out of respect for the HEMI. lol

  12. Brian B.

    Oh man, this is an awesome project car and I would love to have it! Unfortunately, it is over 4100 km’s from where I live. In June 1986 I bought a brand new left over 1985 Chrysler Laser XT in flash red and my buddy bought a 1986 Daytona CS in red and automatic like this one, but basic with only tilt, a/c and auto. My Laser was one fast car I had it up to 123 mph on the Alberta Banff-Jasper parkway. Really cool I could watch the gas needle go down as I held it there!

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