By on August 9, 2012

We’ll continue on our Turbo Era junkyard tour, which kicked off yesterday with a 50th Anniversary Edition Nissan 300ZX Turbo, with one of the many Chrysler K-platform-based products to benefit from Turbo Era technology: this 1990 Dodge Daytona Turbo.
One of the most important features during the Turbo Era (which ran from 1984 through 1992) was the rear window louvers. This showed the world you were serious back then.
They were actually pretty effective at keeping the sun off your upholstery, and they didn’t block the view quite as badly as one might expect. But they were still silly.
According to Allpar, the ’90 Daytona could be had with a 150-horse 2.5 or a much more nervous 174-horse 2.2. I neglected to check the smog sticker in this car, so I can’t tell you which engine we’re seeing here. It’s a non-Shelby model, so I’m guessing it’s the 2.5.
Such a luxurious Whorehouse Red velour interior!
And look, an early airbag.
I’m guessing that none of these controls worked by about 1993, but they look pretty cool.
Just 152,907 miles on the clock. And, on that note, we now end this installment of Turbo Era Junkyard Finds.

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35 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1990 Dodge Daytona Turbo...”

  • avatar

    “I’m guessing that none of these controls worked by about 1993, but they look pretty cool.”

    It’s a Chrysler built in 1990, so I think you’re overestimating that by at least 2 1/2 years.

    • 0 avatar

      My parents had a 1990 Chrysler Town & Country minivan and all the controls in it kept working up until the shop effed up their timing belt replacement and it never ran the same again. Why they put the cam index marks 15 degrees inboard from vertical on the 3.0L V6 I’ll never understand. But in general Chrysler at this time was probably running a whole lot better as an organization with respect to their competition than Chrysler ever did at any time after the Daimler takeover until possibly today.

      I remember when they were shopping for that van 11-year old me lusted after a white Daytona turbo, of course it had to be the more powerful 2.2L and the slats would have been black, but this isn’t too far off the mark.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        From having bought and sold a lot of used cars over the years, I wouldn’t say that Chrysler power window and power seat switchgear was any worse than average. If anything, Ford controls/regulators have proven troublesome, as even the most staunch Panther lovers here will probably attest to. And don’t even get me started on European vehicle switches.

      • 0 avatar

        My mother had an ’87 Dodge Shadow ES turbo coupe that had those same seat controls, a fantastically cool analog turbo sweep needle, discreet TURBO graphics along the bulging hood, first sliding back sunroof and driver’s airbag I can remember on a car and for reasons that only Dodge could explain, a 3 spd automatic slushbox. The turbo was fast, once you got it spooled up and for the money, it had a lot of nice stuff for 1987.

        However, it did have one very nasty electrical gremlin. Engaging the cruise control at speed caused a puff of smoke to rise from the defroster vent and the entire electrical system to fail completely; fun with the early ABS. The other was the turbo exploding, literally, at 48,500 miles thankfully within the warranty limits.

      • 0 avatar

        Nothing wrong with the Panther switches or motors, they are very durable, but yes the string an pulley regulator is a bad, bad set up.

  • avatar

    I would have loved one of these when I had turned 16 if it had been RWD…I chose a white ’89 camaro instead…A few of my friends bought older RWD turbo celicas, now those were fun cars.

    The funny thing about these cars were that the dodge spirit r/t would have eaten all of them for breakfast.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think Toyota ever made a RWD turbo Celica. Either you mean AWD, as in the Celica All-Trac Turbo, or you’re thinking of the Supra Turbo.

      As for the Spirit R/T, yeah, that thing was a beast. Of course it’s going to tear the Daytona a new ass, considering it’s got a 50-75 horsepower advantage over it.

    • 0 avatar

      If I had the money and could find replacement front end body parts, this Daytona would be perfect for a RWD conversion involving a 3G Hemi and an Art Morrison Max-G chassis. The only problem I could see with such a conversion is finding a replacement airbag.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    “But in general Chrysler at this time was probably running a whole lot better as an organization with respect to their competition”

    Was this towards the end of Lee Iacocca’s era?

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, i think Iacocca was out by ’93… wait checked the internets, he retired in 1992.

      • 0 avatar

        Hmmm… according to Iacocca’s wiki page, ownership of ‘new’ Chrysler included UAW, US/Canada gov’ts, Fiat, and… Libya…

        Now that’s interesting.

        “Because of the Chrysler bankruptcy, Iacocca may lose part of his pension from a supplemental executive retirement plan, and a guaranteed company car during his lifetime. The losses were due to take place once the bankruptcy court approves the sale of Chrysler to Chrysler Group LLC, with ownership of the new company by the United Auto Workers, Libya, Fiat and the governments of the United States and Canada.[13]”

      • 0 avatar

        The reference to Libya is a case of Wikipedia vandalism. Libya’s sovereign wealth fund owns about 3% of Fiat, so at the time of the Chrysler bailout, there was some media uproar about the Libyan government “controlling” Chrysler.

  • avatar

    I always thought these interiors were pretty good for 1990. In another color…

  • avatar

    I almost ended up buying a red ’88 or 89 Shelby Z from a junkyard that also was a dealer for $1400 which looked a lot like this car. It’s a good thing I didn’t. :)

    As for Chryslers of that era – my dad had a ’93 (iirc) Caravan with a Mitsu V6. It was a piece of junk. His transmission went and so did the ignition lock mechanism along with many other things. He ended up buying a Chevy van for work afterwards and never looked at any Chrysler product since.

  • avatar

    Those seats are pretty advanced for the era.

    • 0 avatar

      If those are like the seats I had in my 1987 Dodge Lancer ES Turbo, then, yes those are great seats. They were made by a Japanese company for Chrysler, and they were about as good as Recaros, depending upon whether or not you had the powered ones or not.

      I’d had Recaros in my Capri RS Turbo several years before, these were easily their equal, with the exception that the Chrysler seats did not have an adjustable under knee bolster.

      Granted, I was younger and skinnier then, but I could literally sit all day and night in those seats and not have any neck, back or leg discomfort.

      • 0 avatar

        Makes me (kinda) miss my 1986 Dodge Lancer ES Turbo…what a great car for a college kid. Gun metal gray, five speed (though the tranny and clutch came off as decidely more “tractor” than sports car)…those seats were very good. Toss in a four-figure stereo system that I built and installed, along with upgraded rims and tires and bam! Despite it being a Chrysler product, the Lancer was actually fairly robust and reliable. Of course, swapping for several months with my sister’s 1989 Honda CRX Si and the thought of rowing the gears in my Lancer made me want to cry.

  • avatar

    I like the flame job.

  • avatar

    Rear window louvers and retractable headlights must have a comeback of some sort.

  • avatar

    Smooth Corinthian velour!

  • avatar

    I have mentioned this before, I owned a 1987 Dodge Lancer ES Turbo, which was a similar platform to this car. And, back in the day, numerous friends owned these cars, so I was pretty familiar with them. I had a good experience with them and wouldn’t mind having another one, maybe someday.

    My first choice would have been one of the Shelby Chargers, but anything with Shelby on it will be snapped up, especially now that he’s passed on. After that, one of these would be great. Or a Shadow Turbo, those were lots ‘o fun, too…

  • avatar

    “And, on that note, we now end this installment of Turbo Era Junkyard Finds.”

    Moar turbo, moar retractable lights.

    I like the looks of the Daytona. Alas, it’s unloved, and they will all be gone soon with the K cars. Cars like this make me wonder if more people would have bought them if they were RWD. It certainly would have more of a fanbase if they were. Maybe even somewhat collectable like a Camaro. Overall terrible-ness isn’t enough to put people off a car if it’s RWD….well except for Starions.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, I really like to see some more turbo bone-yard finds, but it’s not likely to happen. The turbo coupes from this era, and just about every car company produced an example, have almost all been cycled through by now. Didn’t matter who made them: Toyota, Mazda/Ford, Nissan, Chrysler, almost all were dead by 150K miles. Figure 12-15 years on the road, max. That means most made their way to the crusher by 2008-2009.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I’m thinking why this car ended up at the crusher’s door step. No body damage, but wait. Could the owner have lent the car to Neil Patrick Harris for a day and never been able to get those pesky stains out of velor back seat?

  • avatar

    I inherited a k-platform New Yorker – 1984, I think – from my father-in-law. Daughter didn’t want to drive the dowdy-looking thing, so I looked at some sportier cars, one of which was a Daytona similar to this. It drove exactly like the New Yorker – I really could not tell any difference between them in that respect. She ended up getting a 1984 RX7.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    The 174 horse 2.2 could be identified by the long-runner intake manifold and battery-side intercooler plumbing. From the larger engine bay photograph there, I’d say that’s a disconnected intercooler pipe near the top right, making it one of the big power 2.2s. The 2.5s were never fitted with an intercooler from the factory.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m an enthusiast for these cars and part of a website that is dedicated to collecting these cars as well as modding them.

      This is not an intercooled car, at least not from the factory. After 1988 all Turbo K cars shared that same long branch intake manifold, both the turbo I and intercooled turbo II.

      Being a 1990, this must be an ES turbo Daytona, hence the two paint scheme. The only Daytonas that got an intercooled power plant this year were the Shelby as well as the CS, both of which had monotone paint jobs.

      It should also be noted that for 1990 there was no turbo II, but rather the intercooled turbo IV powerplant, aka the “VNT”, which is variable-nozzle-turbo. Very cool technology, but this car does not have it. Its just a 2.5 TI from the factory at least.

      But based on the valve cover and intake manifold being painted black, it looks as though this car has had a swap or has been modified by an enthusiast. So presently, it could be a 2.2 TII swap, or an intercooled 2.5 thats been modded.

  • avatar

    I know the look is dated, and would probably be hard to pull off with most new car styles, but I still have a quiet lust for louvers.
    Here in Florida they did keep the sun out and temps down.

  • avatar

    Didn’t Daytonas used a K-Car platform but with slightly stiffer shocks?

    Those 2.2l and 2,5l engines were made with supercharging in mind but not turbos, yet Chrysler insisted on turbos and thus we see the end result.

    The one car that I remember messing with from this era was a Horizon, it had a similar steering wheel to this Daytona and for whatever reason the horn buttons didn’t work, luckily I never had it long enough to test the airbag. I sold it once the automatic tranny broke at 90k.

  • avatar

    1990? I didn’t realize the Daytona lived to see the 1990’s

  • avatar

    With F-150’s standard motor being a turbo V6, I’d say we are in a ‘Turbo Era’ now. Not as if turbos are like old tech carburators.

  • avatar

    Hello friend good day oie i want to congratulate you for the photos of the Daytona, but take note that vi parts that i liked and i would like to know if we could reach an agreement for depositarte to any account and buy the louvers, as well as other parts of the interior, as it could be time to that agreement with you, I’m from Mexico but i have contacts in the U.S.

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