Custom Cruise Friday
This week’s Custom Cruise Friday post takes a small departure from the norm. Don Wheaton sales professional Dale Burak used to own a 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby. This presented a problem at first because this obviously isn’t a General Motors brand. However, after hearing some of his stories of a misspent youth, we were all too happy to make an exception. Truth be told, the 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby is a truly car worth remembering. It was affordable, offered tons of performance and, according to Burak, was nearly unbreakable from a mechanical standpoint.
When Burak purchased the car from an Edmonton, Alberta-area dealership in 1990. The Daytona Shelby was just over a year old at that point and there were about 10,000 kilometers on the odometer. Overall, the Daytona series was a lightweight platform that offered a very favorable power-to-weight ratio. Burak’s particular car came with a turbocharged, 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine making 174 horsepower. That may not be a lot by today’s standards, but considering it had a theoretical top speed of about 140 miles per hour, it was obviously quick.
The intercooled engine also featured multi-port fuel injection and was mated to a five-speed Getrag manual transmission. High-speed rated 16-inch tires were also installed on the car which covered vented four-wheel disc brakes. Those high-performance tires were wrapped around five-spoke “star” type wheels. Burak described the 1989 Daytona as having all of the available options including AM/FM radio, CD player and cassette deck.
“I loved the looks of the car. It is quite sporty,” Burak said. “In comparison to other vehicles on the market for sports cars, like the Camaro and Mustang, it was cheaper.”
Striking automotive gold
Real car and driving enthusiasts like Burak know exactly what they are looking for and won’t be satisfied until they see it. However, once that perfect vehicle comes along, nothing but a sign from the heavens will confirm their choice.
“When I saw it, it was like a ray from the gods,” Burak said. “It stood right out.”
Man and machine
There is a reason that young men have higher insurance rates than the rest of industry average. Burak probably isn’t the sole reason for those higher rates, but he may not have done his best to disprove stereotypes.
“(I took) any chance I hade to race,” Burak said. “When you’re a young kid, you’re like a rooster, right? Anyone that will give you that look that, ‘You want to go?’ — you obviously go at the drop of a second.”
Mom and machine
Burak was very adamant about the reliability of his 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby. He was not terribly shy about giving the car the occasional boot and driving it the way it was build to run.
“Mechanically, it was bulletproof,” Burak said. “A young kid beating the heck out that car, it should have been in the shop more than it was.”
To illustrate how in tune he was with this car, Burak recalled a time when he and his mother were taking a trip to her hometown, about a two-hour drive. However, during the drive an electrical problem prevented the digital dashboard from displaying their current speed.
“Mom didn’t say anything about how fast we were going,” Burak said. “Until she realized we got there 45 minutes faster than we should have.”
Burak has another outstanding tale involving all of the elements of an entertaining road trip movie, a Texas police officer, a fast car from another country and a CB radio. Please stop by Don Wheaton to hear it first hand.
In a perfect world
Time marches on and people’s priorities change. For Burak that meant parting ways with the Daytona Shelby in favor of a more practical pickup truck. However, that doesn’t stop him from imagining a perfect world and what could be possible, given the means.
“If I could go back now and maintain multiple vehicles, I would have kept the car,” Burak said. “Seeing what those cars are worth in clean condition, they are probably worth more than they were brand new.”
Additionally, Burak said, given the money and time, he would take advantage of a little known capability built into the 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby. Room was left in the chassis for the possibility to install a small block V-8 engine and convert it to a rear-wheel drive car.
“If I won the lottery, I would have a little sleeper Daytona to play with on the road,” Burak said. And after a short pause added, “I’m sorry — on the race track.”
Do you have a classic, modified or interesting special vehicle that you have restored? Don Wheaton would love to hear from you and tell your story. Please contact the dealership’s Brand Manager, Melina Kawecki by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include a few initial photos and pertinent information.