93EXCivic SuperDork
2/27/11 10:33 p.m.

So my girlfriend wants a '89 Shelby Daytona. What can you tell me about them? How can you tell if it is a Shelby or not?

Travis_K Dork
2/27/11 10:38 p.m.

How do you tell? It should say shelby on the doors, badge on the back, etc, and have an intercooler and black painted valve cover.

What could i tell you about them? Its probably one of the best turbo dodges from the factory (there are better but much more rare), except it probably has a rod knock (well maybe not, but most of the forged crank engines seem to have bad rod bearings when they are for sale). Other than that they are ok. Buy one, and if it doesnt knock great, if not swap in a 2.5 short block of the same year.

Vigo Dork
2/28/11 12:03 p.m.

89 is probably the best year for shelby daytona's.. they got the 11" brakes, 89-90 style control arms, 88-89 style SMEC electronics, 89-up 'common block' (strongest bottom end), 89-only 2.5" swingvalve housing on the turbo, and 89 had some stripe-thing options that were only 89 iirc. The stock turbo has dyno'd ~260whp and trapped 108 in that body (those are not often repeated, though). The stock bottom end can handle 400+whp with perfect tuning. Or it can blow up at 14psi with bad tuning.

It's a neat car. In good stock condition it ought to run high 15s @~87mph.

On the stock parts +bigger injectors, you can easily get it somewhere into the 13s. It ought to do about 30mpg if driven nicely.

Handles just ok, imo.

daytonaer Reader
2/28/11 12:36 p.m.

Other than what is said, it will have a thicker front sway bar from the run of the mill daytona's.

The rear can be stiffened up like all the K's by boxing up the swing arm axle, but this will make the car rotate (may not be great for inexperienced driver on the street). Add on rear sway bars can be bought too.

I had a daytona for a while, stole some parts from some shelby's to put on it. If it has the "enthusiast" seats, they are awesome. Power wings, power lumbar and power thigh + norm power adjustments.

By far one of the best mods for DD driving was to replace the trans shifter bushings with urethane bushings (think buger-bushings).

They are relatively heavy but have style, the shelby's are usually optioned up to about lebaron coupe levels. You can mod these things with pennies and junk, clever engineering or expensive parts, its all been done and documented.

turboswede SuperDork
2/28/11 1:06 p.m.

A 2" wide x 36" long x 3/16" thick steel plate bought from your local home improvement store along with some 2" clamps will create a good rear sway bar that is adjustable and removable. Clamp it to the rear suspension cross bar. Used one on our 87 CSX Chump Car, my 87 CSX AutoX car and my old 87 Sundance AutoX car. worked great for all of them!

Rear panhard bar is pretty flexible from the factory, causing the rear end to move around under heavy lateral load. Luckily, adjustable bars aren't hard to buy or fab.

Convert the front sway bar to use proper end links and you'll reduce the suspension bind inherent in the system used on the K-cars. Reducing the binding will allow the tires to stay in contact with the pavement better and the ride will be more comfortable. To give you an idea on the sway-bar mounting and why it is so bad and how it could be improved:


Eibach lowering springs and adjustable Koni's were still available the last time I looked, but generic coil-over sleeves can be used with Koni's as well.

Daytona's are heavy (about 3200lbs) when optioned up (most are) Many came with T-Tops that now leak (the roof bar is held in place with glue and rivets) and seals are very difficult to find. Doors are big and heavy, expect hinge pins needing replacement.

Very comfortable to drive though. Drove my 87 to Vegas, taking the back roads, found it could get about 30mpg @ 90mph. :)

It can be hard for smaller folks to get comfortable in though as the power seat doesn't adjust all that far forward and up. My 5'0" fiance couldn't get it adjusted to fit her well enough to teach her to drive it.

If you get one with T-Tops, build a rear brace that fits behind the rear seat backs, really helps quiet down the car. Use hitch pins to make the bar removable for hauling large items, etc. Buy a front strut tower brace as well. Keep the seals lubricated and they won't squeak as much.

Otherwise, standard K-car stuff underneath (other than it being some of the best pieces put into production)

Polyurethane bushings for the suspension, motor mounts and shift linkage will go a long way towards making the car better on a daily basis.

3" SS mandrel bent exhaust kits are available and well worth it. More power and you can still pass noise and gas emissions.

Good luck on the search, they can be great cars and with some work, they'll be even better.

Donebrokeit New Reader
2/28/11 1:43 p.m.

Lots of turbo dodge love today

Paul B

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