Rare Rides: The Intensely Sporty 1992 Dodge Daytona IROC R/T

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Rare Rides has featured a few sports coupes of the Dodge variety previously, but those Eighties cars were not as modern, refined, and sophisticated as today’s seldom seen two-door.

Presenting the Dodge Daytona IROC R/T, from 1992.

The Daytona was a new name at Dodge as the company reorganized its sporty car lineup in the early Eighties. Daytona was the cheaper part of a two-model replacement plan for the discontinued Mitsubishi Galant Lambda, which presented itself as the Dodge Challenger from 1978 to 1983. In 1984, Dodge fielded the Conquest (a different rear-drive Mitsubishi) and the new K-platform derived Daytona.

Daytona rode on the new G platform, a 97-inch wheelbase about three inches shorter than the standard K. When Daytona debuted in ’84, a new Chrysler branded Laser also appeared. Available only in upscale trim, Chrysler advertised the Laser as its first sports car. Customers shied away from the “executive personal luxury coupe,” and Laser lasted only through 1986. The Daytona was much more successful and remained on sale throughout the early Nineties. And when the luxury Laser was canceled, Dodge added what was basically the Laser as a new trim to the Daytona: Pacifica.

Available engines were a range of naturally aspirated and turbocharged mills from 2.2- to 3.0-liters in displacement. Most engines were Chrysler-developed inline-fours, but later there was also a 3.0-liter Mitsubishi 6G72 V6. Early on a three-speed automatic accompanied the preferred five-speed manual in the Daytona. The automatic added another forward speed later on.

New exterior looks arrived in 1987 via a refresh, and the inset headlamps became flip-ups instead. Dodge continued to make small visual and trim changes almost annually as Daytona continued its reasonable sales success.

1992 saw a second, larger refresh for Daytona that coincided with a change of production venue from St. Louis to Sterling Heights, Michigan. Pop-ups went away and were replaced with flush lamps in a more rounded, integrated fascia. The rear end was reworked as well, and its lighted heckblende gained a more modern look. Gone was the Chrysler Pentastar, replaced by a ram’s head – Dodge’s new identity.

Also new for ’92 was the 3.0-liter V6 engine option, which was standard on IROC trim and optional on lesser versions. IROC buyers could also opt for a more expensive 2.5-liter turbo engine, though few did. The new R/T performance package was optional only on IROC, and offered a third engine choice: a direct-injected Turbo III 2.2-liter, which generated 224 horsepower via dual-overhead cams designed by Lotus. Visual IROC R/T goodies included color-key directional alloys, body cladding, R/T badges, and a rear spoiler.

But as the Nineties hit their stride, the derivatives of K were not long for the world. 1993 was the last year for the Daytona, and the following year it was replaced in the lineup by the DSM-built Dodge Avenger.

Today’s excellent condition Rare Ride is one of 341 white IROC R/Ts produced in 1992. It sold via a dealer recently for an undisclosed sum.

[Images: Dodge]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Rick Rick on Feb 09, 2023

    I've owned a handful of these, and some how I wasn't aware of the double OUC. Anyone know how many were built. These cars were fun to drive for little money

  • Kymmie Kymmie on Dec 25, 2023

    I still have my 1992 3.0 manual iroc daytona. My father bought it brand new in 1991. 400k later & 1 full rebuild on the engine.... I'm the 2nd owner. It was my 1st car. It would pull a full G in a corner and not break lose. I loved this car! Might give it a 2nd life, as it is still in storage.

  • Varezhka I have still yet to see a Malibu on the road that didn't have a rental sticker. So yeah, GM probably lost money on every one they sold but kept it to boost their CAFE numbers.I'm personally happy that I no longer have to dread being "upgraded" to a Maxima or a Malibu anymore. And thankfully Altima is also on its way out.
  • Tassos Under incompetent, affirmative action hire Mary Barra, GM has been shooting itself in the foot on a daily basis.Whether the Malibu cancellation has been one of these shootings is NOT obvious at all.GM should be run as a PROFITABLE BUSINESS and NOT as an outfit that satisfies everybody and his mother in law's pet preferences.IF the Malibu was UNPROFITABLE, it SHOULD be canceled.More generally, if its SEGMENT is Unprofitable, and HALF the makers cancel their midsize sedans, not only will it lead to the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST ones, but the survivors will obviously be more profitable if the LOSERS were kept being produced and the SMALL PIE of midsize sedans would yield slim pickings for every participant.SO NO, I APPROVE of the demise of the unprofitable Malibu, and hope Nissan does the same to the Altima, Hyundai with the SOnata, Mazda with the Mazda 6, and as many others as it takes to make the REMAINING players, like the Excellent, sporty Accord and the Bulletproof Reliable, cheap to maintain CAMRY, more profitable and affordable.
  • GregLocock Car companies can only really sell cars that people who are new car buyers will pay a profitable price for. As it turns out fewer and fewer new car buyers want sedans. Large sedans can be nice to drive, certainly, but the number of new car buyers (the only ones that matter in this discussion) are prepared to sacrifice steering and handling for more obvious things like passenger and cargo space, or even some attempt at off roading. We know US new car buyers don't really care about handling because they fell for FWD in large cars.
  • Slavuta Why is everybody sweating? Like sedans? - go buy one. Better - 2. Let CRV/RAV rust on the dealer lot. I have 3 sedans on the driveway. My neighbor - 2. Neighbors on each of our other side - 8 SUVs.
  • Theflyersfan With sedans, especially, I wonder how many of those sales are to rental fleets. With the exception of the Civic and Accord, there are still rows of sedans mixed in with the RAV4s at every airport rental lot. I doubt the breakdown in sales is publicly published, so who knows... GM isn't out of the sedan business - Cadillac exists and I can't believe I'm typing this but they are actually decent - and I think they are making a huge mistake, especially if there's an extended oil price hike (cough...Iran...cough) and people want smaller and hybrids. But if one is only tied to the quarterly shareholder reports and not trends and the big picture, bad decisions like this get made.