NASCAR was once called stock car racing. Why? Well, because back then, before the cars were standardized, the race cars were based on and built from real production cars and powertrains. When American automakers designed new cars, they also thought about aerodynamics and what they could tweak in their designs to give their racing divisions an edge on the track. These were glorious days indeed, when Ford, Chevy and Mopar battled it out for bragging rights that they hoped would translate into dealer sales.
This led to more than a few cars being built solely to benefit the racing side of the ledger – cars that they would produce just enough to follow “production car” rules. One of those cars was the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona. Yes, only 503 of these big-wing aerodynamic marvels were ever made, and the only reason us mere mortals got to buy one from the dealer was because Dodge had some NASCAR wins. wanted to have.
The Daytona had a huge 23-inch wing on the rear deck and a metal “nose cone” that replaced the grille and allowed the Charger to slice through the air. Named in honor of the Daytona 500, the Daytona was the first NASCAR vehicle to hit 200 mph on the track, which was a pretty big deal at the time. You see, the 1968 Dodge Charger 500 didn’t do very well, and Plymouth’s star driver Richard Petty left for Ford (don’t worry, he came back, largely because of the winged cars). The Daytona was just what Dodge needed, and it won its first race, the Talladega 500 driven by Buddy Baker.
The 1969 Dodge Daytona ended up winning two races in 1969 and four more in 1970. Its replacement, the 1970 Plymouth Superbird, won eight more races in 1970! When most people see these cars, they think of the Superbird, but it was the Daytona that got the aero ball rolling. The Dodge Daytona set quite a few records and won many ARCA and USAC races. We think they got it a little too well since NASCAR banned aero specs on cars with engines over 305 inches. By the end of 1970, all four aero cars from Ford (Torino Talladega), Mercury (Cyclone), Dodge, and Plymouth were banned.
Daytonas and Superbirds were not big sellers with the general public. First, the 117-inch wheelbase and extra-long nose made it hard to park and live with as everyday drivers. With the standard 440 engine, they sold for about $4,600, which was a lot of money in 1969. Legend has it that dealers converted some of them into regular chargers to take them off the premises, which seems almost criminal these days.
Well, these days Daytonas, like their Superbird cousins, bring in big bucks at events like Mecum Auctions. The example shown here is the 7.2-liter 440-inch Magnum engine, but they can also be ordered with the optional and legendary 426-inch Hemi V-8. Only 70 of the 503 Daytonas built had the Hemi and they are priced accordingly. Still, the 440 car was no slouch at 375 horsepower and easily hit six figures at auction.
Transmission options were a four-speed manual or the three-speed Torqueflite 727 automatic, as in this example. Fun fact: All 503 built Daytonas started life as Charger 500s before being shipped to a third party shop, not owned by Dodge, to get the Daytona transformation. This one has the rare CW6 white interior option.
The single-owner Daytona seen here (Lot S148) will be crossing the street at the 2022 Dallas Mecum auction to be held in early September. It is well documented with its original paperwork, including the broadcast sheet, and was fully restored in 2002. Be sure to check out the window decal in the gallery and admire things like an optional three-speed wiper motor for a whopping $5.40! All we know is that when we see these big-wing aero cars from the past, we start to miss the days when race cars that you could actually buy a lot were battling it out across the country.
1969 Dodge Daytona For Sale At Mecum Dallas 2022 Highlights:
- 1 of 503 Dodge Daytonas produced in 1969
- One owner since new
- Window sticker, invoice and broadcast sheet
- Sold new at Florissant Dodge, Inc. in St Louis, Missouri
- Kept in long term storage by the original owner until 2001 when it was brought out for restoration; restoration completed in 2002
- Body blasted and refreshed in original colour
- Running at Gateway International Raceway on September 8, 2002 after restoration
- 440/375 hp Magnum V-8 engine with 10.1 compression
- Engine was bored, balanced and blueprinted at time of restoration
- Torqueflite automatic transmission
- A36 Performance Axle Package with 3.55 gears and Sure Grip
- Power steering
- Power brakes with front discs
- Bright green metallic with white wing
- Rare C6W white and black interior
- Bucket seats and center console
- Lockable gas cap
- Chrome driver mirror
- Music Master AM radio
- windshield wipers with three speeds
- Sports steering wheel
- Stylized racing wheels with Daytona radial S/R tires
- Maintenance booklets, receipts for gas and parts, and photos of the restoration
Watch a full episode of Roadkill! Dodge Hellcat-Viper-Hellcat Thrash Battle!
In episode 38 of Roadkill, David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan got some (then) brand new supercars: the 707 hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and Charger SRT Hellcat, plus a 645 hp Dodge Viper GT. Why? For an epic thrash of course! This video has more tire smoke than you’ve ever seen from these cars, plus a big, irresponsible surprise on a motocross track. Sign up for a free trial of MotorTrend+ and start watching every episode of Roadkill Today!