The NASCAR "Aero Wars" produced some of the wildest-looking muscle cars ever, on track or off. One of those cars, a 1969 Dodge Daytona with a genuine racing history, is heading to auction at Mecum's 2021 Orlando, Florida, event, scheduled for July 29-31.
The Dodge Charger Daytona was developed to win races on NASCAR ovals. After realizing its second-generation Charger was about as aerodynamic as the factory that built it, Dodge introduced the slipperier Charger 500, before going all-in with the Daytona. NASCAR homologation rules were stricter back in the late 1960s, so Dodge actually had to build a small number of Daytona road cars, boasting the same nose cone and rear wing as the race cars.
Charger Daytona road cars are spectacular in their own right, but this an actual race car. It was built as a standard Charger and raced by James Hylton from 1967 until mid-1970, according to the listing. It was then purchased by country singer Marty Robbins, who had it converted into a Daytona for the 1970 National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona NASCAR (Photo by Mecum Auctions)
That was the only time the car raced in Daytona configuration, and it was eventually lost before being rediscovered in 2005, the listing said. It was then treated to a rotisserie restoration by legendary NASCAR crew chief and team owner Ray Evernham's Big Iron Garage.
In its restored form, the Charger is powered by a 426-cubic-inch Hemi V-8, which drives the rear wheels through a 4-speed manual transmission and a reinforced Chrysler "floating" rear end.
The Charger Daytona wasn't the only NASCAR stock car with extreme aero. Dodge sibling brand Plymouth soon joined in with its Superbird, while the Blue Oval fired back with the Ford Torino Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II. Ford also developed an even wilder Torino King Cobra, but it never saw action. NASCAR quickly clamped down on the aero cars because of concerns about excessively high speeds.