Where do I start? The Silver Bullet was purchased from Mike Johnson in the winter of 1992. The price was right ($250) and quite frankly I didn't know what I was going to do with it but I have grown used to listening to that little voice inside my head that from time to time speaks up and says-get it!
So now I was the owner of a battered 86 TurboZ; it had a water leak (it smelled real bad), the motor had a rod knock like the crack'o doom, and it needed fenders and a drivers door. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.
Well I dropped a used motor into it and sealed up the water leaks, the heater core was plugged and there were other problems that needed my attention but they could wait. The first week on the road the turbo died. sigh. Installed another turbo and away to the track we go!
New England Dragway, Epping N.H. 7/31/93 Guess what? It broke. The night before the transmission output shaft bearing started growling, still it wasn't bad and made plans to go racing anyways (the little voice was shouting but I wasn't listening). Two runs up at Epping Dragway in New Hampshire the motor started knocking! sigh. Limp home. Best pass was a 16.11 at 85.5 mph.
At this point of the program a break was called for; the car was taken off the road, the motor was made all better, the transmission was replaced, as was the heater core and the battered fenders and door. The interior was upgraded with Mark Cross leather seats and door panels from a 85 Laser XT and electric windows were also added. And for a little extra fun, the boost was turned up to 12 psi, the exhaust was made more "free flowing" and a 50hp nitrous kit was installed!
Cecil County Dragway 9/25/93 Well off to the race's we go; Cecil County for a Shelby Dodge meet with Cliff Sebring and the boys where the newly repaired and upgraded Daytona is now running 15.5's at 93 mph on 205/60R15's. Not bad- with a little juice action the heavyweight, traction limited G body rockets to a 14.14 at 103mph! (Average 60' 2.39-2.8 seconds.)
Heheheheonly one person at the track figured out the Z had juice. Man it was the funniest thing you ever saw, this big ol non-intercooled Daytona Turbo Z putting the hurtin' on all those intercooled cars.
Well it broke a piston from running boost past the 15psi mark with no intercooler. Plans where made and an intercooler/radiator was obtained, the car was rewired for GLHS electronics and other bits and pieces where collected to finish the package, including a 1mm oversize valve mopar performance cylinder head. As you can see in this photo the intercooler upper hose is visible as well as the airbox on the cowl, the wiring was done at this point and yes that's a 52mm caravan throttle body on the intake manifold. Not in sight is the new 2.5 inch exhaust system with Dynomax ultraflow muffler.
Mopars at Englishtown 6/5/94 Well back on the road again and off to the races! With 2000 miles on the new motor the Daytona now runs 14.3 at 100mph! Not bad with no NOS. If I try running Nitrous at this point it just spins the tires well into 3rd gear and doesn't ET any better- mph does pick up though. At this point the NOS system is removed from the car till better traction can be obtained. That's my buddy Steve Adley in the right lane! (Average 60' 2.40-2.7 seconds, outside temperature 102F degrees)
The Shelby Dodge National Convention 4 in Indianapolis, Indiana 6/28/94
(The start/finish line of the Indy 500 a.k.a."The Brickyard")
SDAC-4 was was held in Indiana in 1994 and the main gathering was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where we were allowed to do laps around the track. At Muncie Dragway 2 days later I ran oh so close to 13's-the Daytona had run 14.14 at 101mph. (Average 60' 2.25-2.6 seconds.)
The Daytona was featured in the newsletter of the Shelby Dodge Club (Called UP FRONT issue number 41), click here to view the article.
1995 proved to be a good year for the mighty Daytona.
July 24, 1995 at SDAC 5 the Z ran a 13.93 at 102mph!
(Quiet moment before racing at the 75/80 Dragway in Monrovia, Maryland.)As you can see in the above photo the Daytona is sitting up high in the rear because I'd hit upon the idea of installing air shocks to keep the rear end from squatting on the launch. Also I was trying out a 2.5 engine this year but ended up going back to 2.2's due to piston problems inherent to the 2.5's and poor gas mileage. (Average 60' 2.24-2.6 seconds.)
At the Summit Point road course I had blown up my last 525 transaxle. I was averaging 1500 miles (yes that's right) on a transaxle that was only rated for 175 ft/lbs of torque and was starting to get mighty annoyed. Plans where made to install the stronger 520 model as soon as possible.
Its a good thing I brought a spare tranny along eh? Took Steve Adley and myself less then 3 hours to round trip the transmission with hand tools, how's that for teamwork?
There was more work done to the Silver Bullet, a larger cam was installed, a huge fuel pump was shoehorned into the gas tank and the fuel injection was tweaked a bit more. On a cool afternoon at Cecil County the wailing 86 Daytona Turbo Z laid down a 13.34 pass at 108.43mph. On street tires no less. Who knows what it would have run with slicks? Not bad for a 3100 lbs car that was daily driven.
(Cecil County Dragway 11/4/95)
11 passes were made. Average 60' 2.19-2.70 Weight of car 3100 lbs. Temp 53-54F degrees. ET 13.34 at 108.43 mph.
1/10/96 On a busy, dark stretch of I-95 on the way to a friends house the Silver Bullet met its maker in an accident with a Honda Accord. A poor way for a fine car to meet its fate. Perhaps it could have been avoided; I was lucky I wasn't killed.
I wish there was a happy ending to this story; but there isn't. The majority of the parts from The Z ended up in the Mighty K-car; the rear trailing arm, brakes, rims and tires, springs, electronics, and transmission. The rest that was salvaged was tucked aside for other projects. Some are even finding there way to a certain 89 Shelby Daytona.
The Daytona legend lives on...
Be safe out there, no matter how good you drive, it doesn't matter if the other driver is brain dead.
Thanks for visiting
Donovan's Dodge Garage