Junkyard Gem: 1990 Dodge Daytona Shelby

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Once Lee Iacocca took the helm at Chrysler and shifted nearly all car models to front-wheel-drive platforms — either members of the convoluted K family or descendants of the Simca-derived Omnirizon platform — he called up his pal Carroll Shelby and made a deal to help with the design of some Shelby-ized, turbocharged Dodges. This relationship resulted in the Shelby Charger starting in 1983 and the Omni GLH in 1984. For 1987, the K-based Dodge Shadow and Daytona got the Shelby treatment, and suddenly the roads of North America were awash in Shelby-badged turbocharged machinery. Most are long gone by now, but I managed to unearth this tattered and rusty ’90 Shelby Daytona at a Denver yard.

The Shelby Daytona stayed in production through the 1991 model year (when the car got both Shelby and IROC badging, and does anybody remember the IROC Daytona today?), but most of the examples I’ve found during my wrecking-yard explorations have been earlier models. You won’t find many ’90 or ’91 Daytona Shelbys.

Some junkyard shopper pulled the cylinder head and all the turbo-related goodness before I reached this car. That makes sense, because the 1990 Daytona Shelby‘s turbocharged 2.2-liter engine made 174 horsepower— way more than most previous turbo Chryslers. Maybe someone hot-rodded their Plymouth Caravelle with those parts.

This car has the five-speed manual transmission, as it should. Note the New Car Scent Little Tree, which is the second-most common junkyard-found air freshener (after Black Ice).

It’s not hard to identify the main reason this car got discarded: catastrophic (by Colorado standards) body rot.

171,349 miles is pretty decent for a nervous turbocharged car from 30 years ago.

I don’t see many Colorado junkyard cars with brewery and/or skiing-related stickers that don’t also have stickers from cannabis dispensaries, but here’s one.

Pretty much just as good as the Porsche 911 Turbo, and $70,000 cheaper!

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Saurabh Shukla

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