When the Dodge Daytona Took On the Toyota Celica

Back in 1990, sport compact coupes ruled, and Dodge picked a fight with the Ford Probe and Toyota Celica.

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FCA

Introduced for 1984, the front-wheel drive Dodge Daytona was starting to show its age by 1990. Yet Chrysler managed to keep it "the fourth-best selling car in the small specialty segment" by updating its interior and adding a more-powerful Mitsubishi V6. With these upgrades, the sporty-looking Daytona was ready to fight its domestic competitors like the Ford Probe GT, as well as successful imports like the Toyota Celica GT-S.

Mitsubishi's 3.0 V6 produced 141 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque, with smoother power delivery compared to the smaller turbo-fours. With this engine, the 1990 Daytona ES could reach 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, but even with four-wheel disc brakes, its lack of ABS made stopping from that pace a little bit dicey.

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FCA

Its stronger, short-ratio five-speed gearbox also worked better at speed than in city traffic, which could make parking difficult for its size. Yet with its new, ergonomic dash and power leather bucket seats, the 1990 Daytona delivered the goods. Sports car attitude and 30 mpg, for not a whole lot money. Chrysler was good at that.

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