Production of the Daytona lasted from 1984 through 1993 and was sold by both Dodge and Chrysler. The Chrysler version, also called the Laser, was the upscale version. The Chrysler version was produced from 1984 through 1986; the Laser name would re-appear in 1989 and 1990 on the Plymouth.
Both the Daytona and Laser were intended to replaced the Chrysler Conquest. For Chrysler, the Laser had additional amenities and styling upgrades over its Dodge Daytona sibling. These included side skirt, air dams, spoilers, and a digital instrument cluster found in the XE trim. The Laser came in two trim levels, the standard was the XE and the XT was the top-of-the-line version.
The Dodge Daytona production began in 1984. For 1985, very few aesthetic changes were made but several important mechanical changes were added. There were three models offered and each could be purchased with the wrap-around spoiler which had been exclusive only to the Turbo Z model. The Turbo Z model was no longer a package but its own model. Perhaps the biggest news was the 2.2-Liter Turbo version received a boost in power to 146 hp. Additionally, a new shift linkage was installed.
For 1986, Dodge did away with the mid-level trim model which left just the base model and the top-of-the-line Daytona model. A new 2.5-liter engine with 100 horsepower was added to the base trim level. Carroll Shelby offered a special Handling option package called the 'C/S' (representing his initials). The improvements included a 28mm rear anti-sway bar and 32mm in the front. Speed rated tires were added along with performance tuned struts. This package was separate from the Daytona Shelbys which would appear in 1987.
Only 7,704 owners opted for the 'C/S' package, which was more than those who selected the new T-Roof package for 1986. Only 5,984 examples were installed with this feature.
For 1987, Dodge restyled the Daytona complete with new pop-up headlights. The Shelby Z package was added and included a Turbo II intercooled version of the 2.2-liter Chrysler engine. Power was impressive, rated at 175 hp. Additional improvements included Getrag gears, a heavy-duty A555 transaxle, numerous suspension improvements, and rear disc brakes.
For 1988, a 3-liter V6 engine courtesy of Mitsubishi became available. For 1989 the ES package was added which included silver ground affects and a variety of exterior colors. In 1990, driver's side airbags became standard on all Daytonas. For 1991, the IROC model was introduced, featuring a potent 2.5-liter. The 2.2-liter version was no longer offered.
In 1992, the Daytona received its second major restyling. The pop-up headlights were no more; instead, the lights were now flush-mounted in-between the bumper and the hood. A new grille and rear fascia also adorned the new Daytona. A very rare option, with only 230 buyers opting for this package, was the new 2.5-Liter 'High Torque' Turbo. More popular options included the 3-liter Mitsubishi engine in the IROC, and the new IROC R/T package which was fitted with the Turbo III engine which promised 224 horsepower.
Production continued until March 2nd of 1993 when it was replaced by the Dodge Avenger which would appear in 1995.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2008