Car Culture

Weekly Craigslist Hidden Treasure: 1990 Dodge Daytona Shelby

Remember when Carroll Shelby worked with Chrysler?

Carroll Shelby was hired by his old friend Lee Iacocca to be Chrysler’s “Performance Consultant” back in the early 1980s not long after Iacocca himself was hired to be Chrysler's chairman. He ultimately saved the automaker from death.

The pair had previously worked together at Ford during the muscle car era of the late 1960s and, of course, when Ford beat Ferrari at Le Mans. It was Iacocca who brought Shelby on board to tune the original Mustang. But throughout the 1970s, Shelby was mainly doing tuning work and was no longer with Ford. So when Iacocca came calling once again, Shelby answered.

The result was a range of Dodge vehicles with not only the Shelby name attached, but also incorporated Shelby’s performance expertise. Among those cars was the Dodge Daytona, a front-wheel-drive hatchback that was actually derived from the K car platform. That platform, of course, underpinned the Chrysler LeBaron, Plymouth Reliant, and Dodge Aries. None of them were exciting cars, but they did play a huge role in saving Chrysler. Thank Iacocca. But Iacocca also understood the importance of performance and who better to bring that to Chrysler than the one and only Carroll Shelby?

The Dodge Daytona Shelby debuted in 1986, though the base Daytona itself went on sale for the ’84 model year. It came powered by either a naturally aspirated 2.2-liter four-cylinder with a 93 hp, or a turbocharged version with a whopping 142 hp, but was later increased to 146 hp. By 1986, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder was added. But it really wasn’t until 1986 when the Daytona Shelby arrived that things got interesting.

This week’s Craigslist Hidden Treasure is a 1990 Dodge Daytona Shelby which, according to the seller, is “super rare.” It comes powered by that intercooled 2.2-liter turbo four, now rated at 175 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, and paired to a five-speed manual transmission.

Given the car is nearly 30 years old, it has a total of 121,000 miles on its odometer. The seller further says this particular Daytona Shelby is not only a rare find, but there’s the potential it’ll increase in value. The asking price is $8,988.

From what we can see from the photos, this Daytona Shelby looks to be in pretty good condition. The interior, which happened to be a new design for 1990, looks excellent. Despite the fact the car is located in Los Angeles, there doesn’t appear to be any dash cracks due to sun exposure. The seats appear to also be in great condition. A general exterior walk around shows a car void of any serious damage or even minor scrapes. That wraparound Shelby decal also looks to be damage-free.

Although Shelby’s most famous creation with Dodge was the original Viper, he still managed to turn rather dull cars, like the base Dayton and even the Omni hatchback, into something interesting. The Daytona Shelby wasn’t anywhere near as fast, loud or full of character like Shelby’s previous work with Ford, but it was a noble effort in a period when American-made sports cars were either underpowered or pretty lame in general. The Viper’s arrival helped change that.

Unfortunately for Ford, Chevy, and Dodge, their Japanese rivals took advantage of their lack of fun sports cars. The Mitsubishi 3000GT (the Dodge Stealth was a rebadged version), Nissan 300ZX, Toyota Supra, and Mazda RX-7 soon became dream cars for many. The underappreciated Dodge Daytona Shelby was literally shoved aside and soon ended production.

Related Cars

Starting MSRP
$33,995

Latest News

SEE MORE ARTICLES
Dodge Challenger R/T
Starting MSRP
$33,995
VIEW ALL TRIMS AND SPECS