The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona is arguably one of the most radical cars to emerge from the muscle car’s heydays in the ‘60s to the ‘70s. Ironically, it was not designed for ordinary street races. It was built to win races on superspeedways – the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing’s (NASCAR) longest and fastest tracks. The Daytona was an attempt to correct Dodge’s glaring mistakes with the Dodge Charger 500 which was easily left behind by its NASCAR counterparts.
In the summer of 1969, Dodge decided to release a limited-edition high-performance version of the Charger solely intended to win NASCAR races. By fall of the same year, the car has won its inaugural match at the Talladega 500. As a matter of fact, Buddy Baker, driver of the #88 Chrysler Engineering Daytona, was the first to break the 200 miles per hour (mph) mark at Talladega on March 24, 1970. The 1969 Daytona won a total of six races during its two-year NASCAR stint, two in 1969 and four in the following year.
The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona is one of the four famous aero-cars of the Dodge NASCAR franchise. Together with the 1969 Ford Torino Talladega, the 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II, 1970 Plymouth Superbird, the 1969 Daytona completed the series of stock cars produced with aerodynamic features to be specifically used for NASCAR races. These cars successfully took home a total of 59 NASCAR victories from 1969 to 1970, before NASCAR decided to change the rules in 1971 which equalized the field for non-aerodynamic cars.
The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona featured special aerodynamic body modifications from its predecessor, the Dodge Charger 500. It featured a 23-inch-tall (584 mm) stabilizer wing on the rear deck. Contrary to legends, the oversized rear wing did not maximize rear-end downforce. It was actually designed so that the trunk lid on the production cars could pass underneath it and be fully opened. The Daytona also had a special ‘nosecone’ made of special sheet metal instead of the traditional grille, a rear backlight near the window, and a window cap to cover the original Charger’s depressed rear windows. You may also notice that the Charger has a hood and front fenders similar to that of the 19701 Dodge Charger’s made of stainless steel A-pillar covers and fenders.
Designed after the Charger 500, the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona carried heavy-duty suspension and brake setup. It housed a 440 CID Magnum engine, a NASCAR standard. However, there are 70 out of the total 503 units of the Daytona produced which housed the optional 426 CID Hemi V8 engines. These 70 cars with the optional engine are highly sought after by collectors up to this day.
The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona is considered a rare collectible. As a matter of fact, 440 units of the Daytona were recorded to have been sold at six-digit prices. Those equipped with the 426 Hemi V8 engines sell at even higher prices. These easily pass the $300,000 mark on the rare occasions that they hit the market.
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