Welcome to wheels, Zahier! You have a very rare and very cool Dodge Daytona — how did you come across this beauty?
Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity to showcase my car!
Well, my father is a car enthusiast and he has nine cars under his name (one of my favourite is his Maserati Quattroporte; I love that 4.2-litre supercharged V8, it sounds incredible!) and while he was rebuilding his Saab 93 Aero convertible our mechanic told him about the Dodge.
The car had just been imported from the US and it was a little worse for wear but by my father saw the potential and fell in love with it and bought it. I had not seen the car yet but he knew that I would be crazy over the Dodge.
You saw it for the first time in September, 2018. How did you feel?
I remember being in awe of it. I actually thought it was maybe a Pontiac Trans Am or a Mitsubishi Starion. Then when I popped the hood and saw that it was a Chrysler engine, I was really thrown off and had to check the registration card to see what it was. It said Dodge Charger. Now, I was really confused! My dad explained that it’s a Dodge Daytona — a model built by Chrysler from 1984 to 1993 — with its name derived from the Charger Daytona,
This was never a car that I thought I would ever become so attached to until I first saw it in front of my house. My father and I restored it and this included sorting out the engine which had some difficulties; among other issues it needed a new alternator and the turbo was clogged so we sorted all that out while the interior — particularly the upholstery — was rather worn. We got everything done and it is looking pretty sharp today.
It sure is. And now that it is looking great and running like a charm, what sort of comments does it get from people?
They are often as confused as I initially was when they first see it. These are very rare and so it gets a lot of attention. I believe that it is the only one in Dubai in good working and running condition.
It is a real head turner and people love taking photos of it. It’s becoming a bit of a smartphone magnet!
We’re not surprised! What do you like best about it?
I am in love with the looks of the car, its history and the way it sounds. It is American but it looks Japanese.
It feels like a dream to drive around in this Dodge. I do not drive it daily to university even though it is very tempting. I only use it about two or three times a week. It is really fun to drive, and I love listening to the turbo spool. It has a 2.2-litre inline-four with an in-built turbo mated to a three-speed automatic which makes around 160 horsepower.
For a car that’s 30 years old, it runs really well, and the turbo works just fine. This is mainly due to the regular servicing and the good hands that have been looking after the car.
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Those pop-up headlights look great — but do they ever get stuck?
Yes, the pop-up headlights do get stuck sometimes but all I have to do is just turn the engine off and then back on again, and the lights pop up with ease. And sometimes the RPM meter won’t budge from 0 when I am driving and then at other times it works fine.
Usual classic car issues, but any serious downsides that need attention?
Well the downside is that I can’t daily drive the car since it’s a classic, so it’s only used as a weekend car. It isn’t the quickest in terms of acceleration but I still enjoy driving it around Dubai.
It is all stock (apart for the exhaust which is an aftermarket system; it came with the car when my father bought it and it gives it a nice deep growl) and I don’t plan on modifying anything about it — I want to experience it as it was when it was brand new in the Nineties!
Fun fact: Did you know that Frank Sinatra had a Daytona? He even used his 1984 model in Cannonball Run 2!
Wow, Ol’ Blue Eyes had a Daytona? That is pretty cool!
He even outruns a C4 Corvette with it! Anyway, tell us how your passion for motoring began?
When I started playing Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition! I started to play the game every day after school just to unlock the Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec (R34) which took a long time to achieve!
Time well spent! What was your first car?
A black 1999 Saab 93 turbo which I still have. It has a 2.0-litre inline-four and pushes out 180 horsepower. It’s a convertible and driving it in the winter season is always a fun experience. It is my daily driver but the best car that I got to ride in was a 2007 Ferrari 430 Scuderia. With 502 horses and the ability to hit 0-100kph in 3.6 seconds, it was thrilling to say the least!
Finally, what is your dream car?
There are many that I’d love to have — in fact I am saving up to buy a 1965 or 1966 Ford Mustang (but my father would rather I got a classic Corvette instead!) but if I were to choose one, it would be a 2002 Mazda RX-7 in a yellow paintjob.
The reason why I absolutely adore this car is because of the Initial D cartoon series that it used to appear in that I used to watch when I was a kid. That cartoon increased my knowledge about Japanese cars that we all know and love, and so if I do ever have the opportunity to own the RX-7, I think I would say that my life would be complete.
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