Rare Rides: The Intensely Sporty 1992 Dodge Daytona IROC R/T

Rare Rides has featured a few sports coupes of the Dodge variety previously, but those Eighties cars were not as modern, refined, and sophisticated as today’s seldom seen two-door.

Presenting the Dodge Daytona IROC R/T, from 1992.

The Daytona was a new name at Dodge as the company reorganized its sporty car lineup in the early Eighties. Daytona was the cheaper part of a two-model replacement plan for the discontinued Mitsubishi Galant Lambda, which presented itself as the Dodge Challenger from 1978 to 1983. In 1984, Dodge fielded the Conquest (a different rear-drive Mitsubishi) and the new K-platform derived Daytona.

Daytona rode on the new G platform, a 97-inch wheelbase about three inches shorter than the standard K. When Daytona debuted in ’84, a new Chrysler branded Laser also appeared. Available only in upscale trim, Chrysler advertised the Laser as its first sports car. Customers shied away from the “executive personal luxury coupe,” and Laser lasted only through 1986. The Daytona was much more successful and remained on sale throughout the early Nineties. And when the luxury Laser was canceled, Dodge added what was basically the Laser as a new trim to the Daytona: Pacifica.

Available engines were a range of naturally aspirated and turbocharged mills from 2.2- to 3.0-liters in displacement. Most engines were Chrysler-developed inline-fours, but later there was also a 3.0-liter Mitsubishi 6G72 V6. Early on a three-speed automatic accompanied the preferred five-speed manual in the Daytona. The automatic added another forward speed later on.

New exterior looks arrived in 1987 via a refresh, and the inset headlamps became flip-ups instead. Dodge continued to make small visual and trim changes almost annually as Daytona continued its reasonable sales success.

1992 saw a second, larger refresh for Daytona that coincided with a change of production venue from St. Louis to Sterling Heights, Michigan. Pop-ups went away and were replaced with flush lamps in a more rounded, integrated fascia. The rear end was reworked as well, and its lighted heckblende gained a more modern look. Gone was the Chrysler Pentastar, replaced by a ram’s head – Dodge’s new identity.

Also new for ’92 was the 3.0-liter V6 engine option, which was standard on IROC trim and optional on lesser versions. IROC buyers could also opt for a more expensive 2.5-liter turbo engine, though few did. The new R/T performance package was optional only on IROC, and offered a third engine choice: a direct-injected Turbo III 2.2-liter, which generated 224 horsepower via dual-overhead cams designed by Lotus. Visual IROC R/T goodies included color-key directional alloys, body cladding, R/T badges, and a rear spoiler.

But as the Nineties hit their stride, the derivatives of K were not long for the world. 1993 was the last year for the Daytona, and the following year it was replaced in the lineup by the DSM-built Dodge Avenger.

Today’s excellent condition Rare Ride is one of 341 white IROC R/Ts produced in 1992. It sold via a dealer recently for an undisclosed sum.

[Images: Dodge]

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