Junkyard Find: 1987 Dodge Daytona Shelby Z

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1987 dodge daytona shelby z

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.

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  • 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.

  • Brett Woods My 4-Runner had a manual with the 4-cylinder. It was acceptable but not really fun. I have thought before that auto with a six cylinder would have been smoother, more comfortable, and need less maintenance. Ditto my 4 banger manual Japanese pick-up. Nowhere near as nice as a GM with auto and six cylinders that I tried a bit later. Drove with a U.S. buddy who got one of the first C8s. He said he didn't even consider a manual. There was an article about how fewer than ten percent of buyers optioned a manual in the U.S. when they were available. Visited my English cousin who lived in a hilly suburb and she had a manual Range Rover and said she never even considered an automatic. That's culture for you.  Miata, Boxster, Mustang, Corvette and Camaro; I only want manual but I can see both sides of the argument for a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. Once you get past a certain size and weight, cruising with automatic is a better dynamic. A dual clutch automatic is smoother, faster, probably more reliable, and still allows you to select and hold a gear. When you get these vehicles with a high performance envelope, dual-clutch automatic is what brings home the numbers. 
  • ToolGuy 2019 had better comments than 2023 😉
  • Inside Looking Out In June 1973, Leonid Brezhnev arrived in Washington for his second summit meeting with President Richard Nixon. Knowing of the Soviet leader’s fondness for luxury automobiles, Nixon gave him a shiny Lincoln Continental. Brezhnev was delighted with the present and insisted on taking a spin around Camp David, speeding through turns while the president nervously asked him to slow down. https://academic.oup.com/dh/article-abstract/42/4/548/5063004
  • Bobby D'Oppo Great sound and smooth power delivery in a heavier RWD or AWD vehicle is a nice blend, but current V8 pickup trucks deliver an unsophisticated driving experience. I think a modern full-size pickup could be very well suited to a manual transmission.In reality, old school, revvy atmo engines pair best with manual transmissions because it's so rewarding to keep them in the power band on a winding road. Modern turbo engines have flattened the torque curve and often make changing gears feel more like a chore.
  • Chuck Norton For those worried about a complex power train-What vehicle doesn't have one? I drive a twin turbo F-150 (3.5) Talk about complexity.. It seems reliability based on the number of F-150s sold is a non-issue. As with many other makes/models. I mean how many operations are handle by micro processors...in today's vehicles?