Big Bird: 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

1969 Dodge Daytona

Speed records and slow sales rarely end up in the same sentence, but these phrases define the Dodge Charger Daytona. A slippery concoction of drag reduction, aero enhancements, and raw power helped Dodge break their losing streak at NASCAR events around the country. The public’s distaste for such an aerodynamic body led to just over 500 cars finding owners, but today, it is one of the most prized Mopars in the world. Find this 1969 Daytona here on eBay, but remember that it is not going to go cheap.

1969 Dodge Daytona Wing

Although hard to imagine, this Daytona has remained garage-bound since 1992. According to the seller, it has led a charmed life, remaining accident-free with only minor touch-ups to the original pastel yellow paint.  Of course, with a drag coefficient of just 0.28 accompanied by a heavy-duty suspension and a massive rear wing, keeping this limited-production beast on the road and out of the hedges should have been an easy task for a qualified driver.

1969 Dodge Daytona Engine

While original paint and straight panels are major pluses, one has to wonder what caused the matching numbers motor and transmission to part ways with the chassis. Thankfully, this Daytona has the next best thing: a correct ’69 date code of September ’68 for the replacement 440 engine. No mention is made of whether the previous owner sourced the replacement transmission at the same time, but it is a period correct 727 Torqueflite 3-speed box. The seller’s claim that the Daytona recently passed its Pennsylvania State inspection speaks to the motor’s health despite its non-matching status.

1969 Dodge Daytona Nose

Similar to a Porsche’s whale tail or a Camaro’s hidden headlights, the Daytona’s nose cone is instantly recognizable. Designed to streamline the Charger’s brick-like front end, it was one of several special modifications unique to the Daytona. In addition to the 23 inch tall rear spoiler, the unique front fenders with reverse scoops provided added cooling and reduced drag. A flush rear window and backlight kept air flowing smoothly over the roof, and thanks to the height of the wing, the trunk lid remained functional. Throwing the groceries in back never sounded so good.

1969 Dodge Daytona Interior

With many of its most important pieces still in place and an interior that supposedly only suffers from a rodent’s handiwork beneath the passenger sun visor, this Daytona epitomizes “Survivor.” Although the story would be that much sweeter with the original drivetrain still in place, it clearly has benefited from owners that took great pains to preserve its factory configuration. The price of entry may be high, but then again, the frequency with which driver-quality Charger Daytonas appear for sale is undeniably low.

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Comments

  1. Corey

    Rodent damage inside the car, under a sun visor? Why does that not make me confident about the state of the rest of the car?

  2. wally

    If you ever get a chance to see a real, race-built Superbird or Daytona you realize what a sham these road versions are. Just some fairings and wings glued on a regular vehicle. If you don’t believe me, look on YouTube at some of the real ‘Birds. Lower, smaller, and in that context the aero pieces actually make sense.

  3. J. Pickett

    By that time everyone in NASCAR was starting to play games with the sheet metal. That’s why they made templates, Smokey Yunick once made a 7/8 scale Chevelle. As for the street cars matching the race cars, Chevy’s 427 was on the track two years before it got to the street. The Boss 429 was never offered in the Torino except on the track. It looks like a nice car, leave it like it is. Probably go big money. Even though Mopars like all the rest are coming down since their peak. Some dingbats will get into a pissing match at an auction and pay two much.

  4. Bob

    Flat black paint/decals are missing on the hood & front end..

  5. David

    Bob, I thought the front didn’t look right……I recall as a 16 yr. old looking at a new orange with black vinyl roof and white interior 440 powered automatic Daytona at a Chrysler dealer in Sanford Fl. The window sticker list price was $4600 and change…..I was making $1:15 an hour pumping gas three hours a day……regular gas was around $.28 a gallon….

  6. mopared

    You’re thinking of the Superbird, Bob. The Daytona didn’t have such paint/decals on the nose.

  7. J. Pickett

    Even with above noted defects, I’ll take it, I just don’t know how I’ll feed it in Obama time.

  8. Jim Hollis

    How sad…an automatic. Cool, but never thought they were much of a road car, aesthetically. The Superbird was a better-looking car. That said, this sure is a nice example.

  9. Tony

    Right up there in my peed-myself-in-a-barn list with a L88 Corvette or a Cord 810.

  10. Jason

    I liked the looks of the Charger Daytona over the Plymouth Superbird. If you look at a Superbird the wheel well openings don’t even match front to back. Plymouth used Dodge Coronet fenders on the front of the ‘bird. They pretty much looked liked a hodge podge of parts to me.

  11. Jim Hollis

    Good point. The Charger certainly was designed better for the part! I’d still take a Talledega Torino over the two of them!

  12. David

    lol Tony….more war stories…the building I work in now was once a Ford Store, in 1969 I counted 17 (!) Talledega Torinos all lined up in a row, I have no idea why so many,….awesome….of course we aren’t too far from Daytona…

  13. David

    the more I look at those pics, it looks like the front “snout” is molded in to the fenders, that’s not the way it came from the factory is it?

    Like 1
  14. J. Pickett

    You’re right, every other photo I’ve seen there is a clear gap where the nose meets the fenders. Some body mods here. For what it’s worth I think the Dodge is better looking, less of a bitsa look too it. Smoother. Of course word has it that Chrysler did the “Bird” to get Petty back into a Plymouth.

  15. David

    there ya go, maybe the engine and tranny had to be replaced after that heavy front collision??…and now,looking further, are the hood supports/hinges, supposed to be painted the color of the body like this one is?

  16. David

    looks like they are suppose to be painted…..

  17. J. Pickett

    Can’t find anything quickly definitive on the hinges etc. But there is a lot of work blending that nose into the fenders, and that is not evident in period or restored photos.

  18. J. Pickett

    Just found a brochure on Google big seam at nose in factory brochure.

  19. RebRob

    (@Wally) Thanks for adding the info about the real racing versions being lower. I thought the info above about the fender scoops “providing cooling and reduced drag” sounded odd – the reason they were installed originally was that upon full suspension compression, the tires would contact the underside of the fendertops! The remedy was to cut a hole in the fender for clearance and cover that with the scoop! Or so I recall…

  20. Cameron Bater UK

    I do love these cars but if you can see rodent damage it is going to be 10 fold worse where you cant, you have to consider wireing looms, important hoses ect

  21. Kenny Burns

    Jim Hollis taking a talladega over a winged warrior. Have you suffred a blue oval attack. The ford only got to see the rear of the winged warriors anyway. I own a Superbird n its out ran ever talladega n cyclone that ever wanted some of it.

    Like 1

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