Tragic History: 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

1969 Charger Daytona

If you’re a Mopar nut or simply love NASCAR and its history, than there is no doubt that you have at least heard of the Dodge Charger Daytona. These odd looking race cars were designed and built to dominate the oval track. There special aerodynamic features and high performance engines allowed for impressive speeds, but sadly there weren’t many built. Of the 30 or so built, it is believed that only 6 of the original race cars exist today. Recently another one of these rare cars was discovered rusting away in South Carolina, but it is in less than great shape. Paul G came across this Daytona here on eBay, where it is already bid up well over $50k. Then again, I guess it isn’t every day that someone drags out one of the most iconic and recognizable Mopars ever built, especially one with such an interesting history! Special thanks to Paul for this tip!

James Hyltons Daytona

This Daytona has quite the history indeed, starting with its time as James Hylton’s race car. Hylton was a rather successful driver in the ’60 and ’70s. He used this car for just three races in the ’69 season, where he saw moderate success. From there the car took a rather bleak turn. Each of the Charger Daytonas that were built for Nascar duty came from Ray Nichels Engineering shop. Once the cars arrived there from Chrysler they were stripped down and rebuilt for racing duties. The Hemi 426 engines were custom built by Nichels for incredible performance, but as with any performance machine they had a tendency to be self-destructive. These tendencies would eventually turn this car into a death trap for its second owner.

Dodge Charger Daytona

Talmadge Prince was the second owner and driver of this Daytona, he was also the first and only person killed in one of the Nascar Charger Daytonas. During the 19th lap of the Daytona 500 qualifier, the engine suffered a major failure and dumped oil on the track. The oil slick caused the car to go sideways and was struck by a Bill Seifert’s car head on, sadly killing Talmadge in the process. After the tragic event the car apparently went into storage at the Prince family’s car dealership. From here on out the car’s history gets somewhat hazy. It clearly went into new ownership after the Prince family sold off the dealership and it appears to have had the damage it sustained repaired. It was then lost from record or public knowledge until its recent discovery.

Hemi 426 Daytona

This car has already caused quite the stir in the Mopar community, as it has some questionable features. The roof and much of the body isn’t original, but that would make sense given the extensive damage it suffered in the crash. When these cars were still in duty, they were race cars, not collector’s pieces. Many parts were modified, repaired, or replaced throughout the events of a season. While the chassis is one of the crucial parts of a car like this, the engine is really what makes this car different from any of the street going Charger Daytonas. The massive 426 was built to impressive tolerances and featured a number of racing specific pieces. The seller claims the engine is mostly there, although the heads are not correct. This engine is worth serious money on its own, with or without the original heads, so I’m sure there are a few Mopar guys lusting after it already.

Dodge Daytona #48

This car has an incredible past, most of which is documented and verified by James Hylton. It is an important piece of Nascar history, so hopefully it will make its way into the hands of someone capable of restoring it. The amount of rust is going to make the project a rather difficult one, but the seller already has replacement floors and some of the other crucial pieces. Given the car’s tragic start, I hope the next owner does this car proper justice and returns to its period correct appearance. So does anyone here remember when #48 was still racing?

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Comments

  1. Dolphin Member

    I like these for the simple reason that they were factory racers that were homologated by the factory selling over 500 of them, many as street drivers. Having said that, I like to see them on the street, but personally I’d rather fly under the radar more than this car would allow.

    The latest info on prices that I can find for a street one of these with the Hemi is $300K, but I think that’s out of date. Since ony 70 of the 500 had the Hemi I think that the value these days would be close to a ’70 Plymouth Hemi Convertible, which is around $1 million. Then add a premium for it being a race car with documented history.

    With that kind of value there would be money enough to restore this one, but in answering a bunch of questions about the car the seller only says: “The engine does in fact have the dry sump oil system, with the dual oil pumps, 1 internal, and 1 external, and the magnesium oil pan.” It’s not reasonable to expect a race car to have the original engine, but the listing does not say that the engine was original from the NASCAR days. I think a buyer would be smart to get documentation about that engine before bidding because that would be a big factor in the total value of the car.

    Like 3
  2. DRV

    How could it the the same car with the rear half being from a stock body…the rear window is not the race car configuration…

    Like 1
    • Charlie V.

      If I remember correctly, the back window tunnel was filled in with a steel patch with internal reinforcement. For a more factual statement , I’d have to go in my back garage and dig out the boxes of car magazines and Chrysler factory racing manuals I acquired since 1964.

      Like 3
      • DRV

        They didn’t do it to this one!

      • JoeSnow

        DRV, if this IS the Jamie Hylton car, there are photos of it with the Daytona rear window treatment. Look at the picture above showing the rear wing. You can see the semi-fastback sheet metal that was changed. The car for sale does not have that which makes it very suspicious.

        Like 1
  3. Mark

    Amazing, no matter how desirable a car is there is always someone willing to let it rust away outside!

    Like 1
  4. Vince Habel

    This is not a Daytona Charger. Other pictures show nose being added. On another site there is so much doubt about this car. It has had the engine blown several times and wrecked as much. Be careful of what you are buying.

    Like 2
  5. tom999p

    It doesn’t matter what it is, with that kind of racing history and documentation from living owners/drivers, it’s sure to be very valuable to some collectors. The suspicious car buyer is the one who finishes last.

    A supposed “yenko” was for sale on the internet for 1-1/2 months because people doubted it’s authenticity. I snatched it up, got an NCRS report and found that it was a real Yenko.. Who’s the winner now?? Hahahaha….

    Like 3
    • Neil

      Until this particular gem, all of the commentators on the Barn Finds listings have imparted their knowledge, expertise and wisdom, their opinions and comments without the teenage ‘hahaha, look at how much money I made you schmucks.’ You, sir, are the first.

      I have always thought this site was by car enthusiasts *for* car enthusiasts – not for brinkmanship. I have had correspondence with quite a few folks here who have helped me out enormously, so I know that people here are genuine, but I am not quite sure what your particular agenda is. Disagreements on the practicality of a restoration, the financial value of a find – all have been done on this site in a gentlemanly manner.

      This isn’t my site but I suggest a look through the archives to see how genuinely knowledgeable people debate the issues here wouldn’t go amiss.

      Like 3
      • tom999p

        I’m not like you Neil, I don’t buy cars to make money. Show me the “knowledge, expertise and wisdom” in this thread, I’m very curious to see your answer…

        Like 2
    • JoeSnow

      Really? Then I’m sure you’d be glad to tell us more about this find of yours. A Yenko Camaro is sufficiently rare that the discovery of another one would have made the automotive press at the time it was found. So where can we read about your great find.

      Like 4
    • Evelyn Hylton

      For your suspicion, This car was not James Hyltons’ I got it from the horses mouth!

      Evelyn Hylton

      Like 4
  6. Mark in Medford

    I think Vince is correct, this didnt start life as a Daytona Charger or a Charger 500. The back window and the rain gutter on the A pillar are not right. It does look like the scoops in the door skins have bondo filling them. Alot of the NASCAR racecars had hand made steel noses, this one looks to have different style front fenders on each side, the left looks correct and the right looks like a Coronet.

    • JoeSnow

      Look at the rust pattern. It is plain to see that the rust on the body does not match the rust on the hood, fenders and nose. The body and front clip are from two (or more) different cars that have been cobbled together to create this car. If these parts had been together from 1969, then there would be more uniformity. Even taking a crash into consideration, this car wouldn’t have had much, if any, rust on it at the time of the crash so the panels would still have rusted more uniformly after the rebuild. Those panels rusted out separately on individual cars and not together.

  7. Don Andreina

    It’s not unusual for racing bodies to be a bit of a Lincoln’s Axe, but this one is dodgy. I’m not seeing any rear wing mounting holes on the rear quarters, yet that’s part of the provenance claimed by the seller. The owner has left a reply at the base of the description that the roof and quarter panels were actually replaced, so where are the original panels? All the value would be in that engine.

  8. DRV

    There is only one way to tell and that would be the numbers….but nothing is right here. forget about it without the proof because it is very sketchy. Check the extra 10 inches in the front fenders..
    Go ahead and risk the money like tom999p says….

    • JoeSnow

      You have it exactly correct. There is simply too much that is wrong about this car to warrant spending so much money on it. It looks to me like a standard Charger that has had Daytona parts grafted on at some point. If this car really suffered as much damage as it is reputed to have, it wouldn’t have been worth rebuilding. My cousin has a 69 Charger that suffered far less accident damage sitting behind his body shop that is too much work to repair. Let’s not forget that back in 1969 these cars weren’t collectible yet. They could have walked into a Dodge dealer and just bought another one. As I understand it, these cars were notoriously slow sellers. I’ve read accounts of dealers having them on their lots as late as 1972. Crash parts would also have still been available, so if they were going to repair it, they would have been able to do it right. The Daytona parts on this car may have come off that original racer that crashed, but the body is not a Daytona so this car will never be worth Daytona money. Anyone who buys this car for anything more than the value of a rebuilt 426 Hemi engine is gullible beyond belief.

  9. tom999p

    Well I would think that the facts & photos from the previous owners/ drivers would be proof enough, why would they lie? They must be in their 70’s-80’s by now… I don’t think they’d make that up just for someone else to make a buck on a phony car….

  10. Cameron Bater UK

    Hmm £32,100 for a peice of Iconic racing history? seems like a bargian, however I think it would end up being a labour of love to re-build the car, I hope someone does take it on but I expect it will go into someones racing collection dedicated to Talmadge Prince. Something like “I dedicate this car to the extraordinary career and untimely death of Talmadge Prince, the last driver of this vehicle”.
    I’m not saying I dont like the Deytonas but I find there are cirtan responsibilities with owning one first and formost is “When restoring a Dodge Charger Deytona thal shalt not change origonal specs in any way”. I would like to own one but this tennant (Available in the Bible – Motoring Edition) makes ownership problematic so If I were to move on with my desire to custom build a Deytona I’d have to take a standard charger and put a bodykit on it (which are available) to avoid driving around in the HammerHead-Geoff-Eagle-I-Thrust that topgear build after I die (a motorists hell)

    As a footnote can I suggest to the admin to use chrome when posting (it has a built in sapellcheck.)

    Like 1
  11. Ian Chorne

    Amazing, a Daytona, right here in South Carolina. If only I had found it…

  12. John Hatchard

    Hi Barn Find Folks.
    Definite Lincoln’s Axe (Triggs Broom UK). If it is James Hylton car and then the Prince car(rip) then it was a real daytona formthe factory and Creative Industries.
    The bodyshell was very badly damaged and removed, then a 68 charger outerskin applied.
    Then probably raced in 1970 with a 1970 frontend and possibly 1971 with the awful fitment of the rear bumper and sheetmetal.
    All in all a real TRIGGS AXE!!!
    Floorpan is virtually non existant just a badly repaired ROLLCAGE and attached parts for the bargain price of $50,000.
    Not for me thanks GTXJON UK

    Like 2
  13. JoeSnow

    I do not for one minute believe that this an original Daytona Charger, let alone one driven in NASCAR. This car looks like a standard 68-70 Charger that was cobbled together years ago to look like a Daytona then left out to rust at some point. The seller didn’t even list the VIN, which would verify for certain if it was a Daytona or not. Why hide the VIN if it is an original car?

    Also, the entire purpose behind redesigning the rear of the car with a flush mounted window was to give the car an aerodynamic advantage so it would go faster. It does not make sense that a racing team would deliberately hobble their car by using the sheet metal panels from a standard Charger because that would make it less aerodynamic and reduce it’s top speed. You want your race car to go faster, not slower. I’m not saying the seller is being deliberately dishonest. He may have bought the car in good faith based on the NASCAR story, but at some point someone told a lie as this car was changing hands and the lie has stuck with the car down through the years. I sure wouldn’t want to spend $50,000 or more to restore this car and then bring it to Barrett-Jackson auctions only to be turned away when their inspectors discover that it is not the real deal. Any reputable auction house would also report you to the authorities for attempting to commit fraud.

    Like 2
  14. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    The listing was pulled early so we can only assume that a deal was made offline. It will be interesting to see where this one shows up next.

  15. Walter Joy

    I managed to talk with the new owners of this car at the Chrysler Nationals show this past summer in Carlisle, PA. It IS a real Daytona car.

    Like 1
  16. Icarus38376

    OK Folks, after extensive research, this car turned out to be James Hylton’s other 1968 Charger. Originally started as a 68 tunnel back, then upgraded in 1969 to the Charger 500, then sold to Marty Robbins and turned into a wing car by The Allison Brothers. It is currently under restoration to the Winged Marty Car.

    Like 1
  17. Stanley Register

    I remember this car. Mr.Prince owned a dealership in Dublin,Georgia. The car set in behind a house in East Dublin for years with a tarp over it.

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