Junkyard Find: 1987 Dodge Daytona Shelby Z

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

174 horsepower in a 2,812-pound car was pretty good for 1987, and Carroll Shelby’s name on the decklid and doors ought to mean something… yet nobody seems to love the Daytona Shelby Z today. Witness this ’87, now moldering in a Denver self-service wrecking yard.

At $12,749 (about 25 grand in 2011 dollars), the Shelby Z wasn’t cheap; you could get the regular Daytona for $9,799… or head across the street to the Chevy dealer and get a new Z28 for $12,819.

I’m tempted to buy that hyper-80s boost gauge, just to frame on my wall.

Someday, the Shelby Chryslers might be the Next Big Thing in collectible classic automobiles. Not yet, though. If only that Lamborghini Jalpa-engined AWD Daytona had gone into production, Things Would Be Different Now.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

More by Murilee Martin

Join the conversation
3 of 49 comments
  • ZekeToronto ZekeToronto on Apr 30, 2011

    I had a couple of Turbo Zs when I was an undergrad and my dad was a Chrysler-Dodge dealer. These were the earlier 142HP 2.2s and, although they seemed quick at the time, I can't dredge up even a hint of nostalgia for them.

  • 19 Pinkslips 19 Pinkslips on May 12, 2012

    Upon hearing of Ol' Carroll Shelbys passing I felt the need to comment on one of his creations. I had a '88 Shelby Z almost identical to this one. It handled terrible due to the super flexy body(t-tops were not it's friend), everything inside and out fell apart, the paint fell off, but for what it was the four wheel discs felt great, the cable op clutch was surprisingly good and with a $15 valve in the boost control line it had tremendous power for 2.2 liters of 80's tech. It was not hard to get 32-34 mpg on the highway either. A friend had one with the VNT turbo which fixed most of the lag issues. One late night in upstate NY I had a Porsche 944 roll up on me, we creeped up until we were both doing 125, then I floored it. I just walked away from him. Those intercooled Shelby Zs could do 147mph(Some say 135) from the factory. Not too shabby for a K-Car. Thanks Carroll

    • JeremyLawson JeremyLawson on Dec 20, 2012

      I've owned an 86 Daytona Turbo Z C/S for 22 almost 23 years. Bought it in high school and have had it ever since. Mine is a fully optioned out car with t-tops, leather, digital dash, and is the one year only black with gold pinstripe and gold wheels. Over the years I've made a few additions; it's got a killer stereo, performance computer and injectors, and a manual boost controller. I've had it north of 140 MPH a couple times. Mine still has under 120k miles on it and it's traversed the country several times. Honestly, I love road trips in this car. With the C/S sway bars front & rear and decent tires on there it handles well though some might find it too rough. In case anyone wants to see one in fairly unmolested shape you can find it here : http://i1.wp.com/jeremylawson.com/wp-content/gallery/86-daytona/Daytonaonbeach.jpg Even though the Shelby Dodges are unloved by most there is a small crowd of us who appreciate them. I've owned a few other turbo Dodges and someday I want to add a GLHS and an 89 CSX-VNT to my stable. Thanks for the memories, Mr Shelby.

  • Dave Has to be Indy 500. Many more leaders and front passes than NASCAR, and Monaco is unwatchable with the inability to pass on that circuit.
  • Jeff How did the discussion get from an article about a 56 billion dollar pay package for Elon Musk to a proposal to charge a per mile tax on EVs in California or paying increase registration on vehicles to make up for lost gas tax revenue? I thought such a discussion would better fit Matt's Gas Wars series.
  • Master Baiter Both people who bought ID.4s will be interested in this post.
  • Urlik Not a single memorable thing happened in the big three races this weekend IMHO.
  • Ajla If Goodyear makes rain tires that allow NASCAR to race in damp conditions at longer ovals (other that at Daytona and Talladega) then I promise to purchase at least four new sets of Goodyear tires in my remaining life.