The recent introduction of the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT electric car concept was not the first time when the Mopar people revived the 1969 NASCAR-born Daytona name for a completely different type of machine. Now, while the EV, which is scheduled for 2024 production, has performance on its side, the 1983-1993 Dodge Daytona needed to wait for its final years to gain go-fast versions. And the Daytona IROC R/T—this is a 1993 example—was the best of the bunch.
Once the oil crisis brought an early retirement for the original muscle cars, Chrysler couldn’t seem to find a suitable way to keep the Challenger name in showrooms. So while the Charger went back to its personal luxury car roots to survive, the second-generation Challenger (1978-1983) was actually a rebadged (and eventually reworked) Mitsubishi Galant Lambda Coupe.
And when the time came for a replacement, Chrysler put its own G-Body platform under the car, introducing the Dodge Daytona, but this switched from the RWD setup of its predecessors to a FWD configuration, obliterating many enthusiasts’ dreams. After all, the ehtos of the era involved fuel-efficient, front-wheel drive machines with Chrysler even pioneering the minivan using that philosophy.
Carroll Shelby was called to step in
Truth be told, if people looked past the FWD aspect, the Daytona, along with its more lavish Chrysler Laser sibling, did provide a scale-friendly platform with plenty of potential. And Chrysler fortunately decided to exploit that part of the Dodge model’s personality by tasking none other than Carroll Shelby with inducting the Daytona into the hall of velocity.
Shelby, who had made his return as a Chrysler performance adviser with the 1985 Dodge Omni GLH (Goes Like Hell), started off with the Daytona Shelby Z and kept up the good work until 1991 when he parted ways with Chrysler.
The IROC motorsport series was a blessing for the Daytona
Fortunately, the IROC (International Race of Champions) series, which had allowed Detroit’s Big Three to get over the shortcomings of strict efficiency regulations ever since its 1970s inception, also ended up serving the Daytona. So when the series involved Chryslers for 1991 and 1992, the carmaker celebrated with the Dodge Daytona IROC R/T.
These were the final years of the Daytona, with the aero styling of the special edition being backed by either a 152 hp 2.5L turbocharged four-cylinder or a 3.0L V6 offering 141 hp. However, that’s the kind of power that needs context to be understood.
Well, for 1992 and 1993, Dodge gifted the Daytona IROC R/T with a Turbo III version of the 2.2L motor. Featuring Lotus-designed DOHC cylinder heads and direct ignition, this offered 224 hp, the kind of muscle everybody would get back then.
The said output rivaled that of the era’s Mustang GT and Camaro Z28, but the lighter form of the Dodge gave this an edge. And if numbers are what you’re looking for, we’ll mention the 6.6s 0-60 mph sprint and the quarter-mile time of 14.8s, which are still respectable today.
This is one of the just 182 IROC R/Ts built for 1993, the final year of the Daytona
Speaking of which, with this 1993 example listed on Bring a Trailer (it’s a no reserve auction), the seller states that it had received a Stage 1 ECU tune and 20-lb injectors, with power now sitting at around 270 hp—for the record, those ponies are sent to the front axle courtesy of a five-speed manual.
As the man explains, this was a corporate car for the first two years, while the Chrysler employee who enjoyed it decided to buy the vehicle and held on to it until 2008.
A bit of digging will show that the vehicle ended up on Craigslist back in 2020, with its current owner having gotten a hold of it back in February this year—he only put 100 miles on the car, while the odometer currently ready 75,000 miles.
This Dodge won’t break the bank
As you can imagine, these IROC R/T Daytonas are rare birds, with only 432 US-spec cars having been built in 1992 and 1993 (make that 182 units for that last year). Both the Emerald Green Metallic exterior and the grey velour cabin seem to be in good shape, with the seller having changed a few parts. However, there are still some suspension bits that would need replacement, while the fuel and brake lines show some corrosion.
At the time of press, there were 7 days left for the auction, with the highest bid sitting at $2,600. With these machines having driven under the radar for decades, there seem to be no serious guidelines for their prices. However, a 1993 Dodge Daytona IROC R/T with 47,000 miles traded hands for $12,750 back in 2020.
Many things can be said about this machine, with the opinions on it being split. Nevertheless, one thing is certain here: the Dodge Daytona IROC R/T is one quirky bit of American performance car history.