The 1969 Dodge Daytona and its sibling, the 1970 Plymouth Superbird, are arguably the most radical vehicles to emerge from the muscle car wars. But the Daytona, as the name might suggest, wasn’t designed for street racing. It was built to win Nascar races on the superspeedways—the longest and fastest tracks.
To increase top speed, engineers took the Charger to the wind tunnel. The aerodynamic modifications to the big Dodge included a nearly 2-foot-tall rear wing, a flush rear window, and a longer, sloped nose cone. The results were impressive. The race version of the Daytona became the first car in Nascar history to break 200 mph. After numerous Dodge wins in 1969 and some by Plymouth in 1970, Nascar’s new rule book banned these cars. The production cars, which came packing a 440 big-block or the legendary 426 Hemi, are sought-after collector cars today that bring more than $150,000 at auctions.
Little-Known Fact: The Daytona’s aerodynamic modifications over a those of a standard Charger helped lower the coefficient of drag to 0.28—an excellent figure even by today’s standards. But did that huge rear wing really need to be so tall to maximize rear-end downforce? According to legend, no. The reason for the exaggerated height of the wing was so that the trunklid on the production cars could pass underneath it and fully open.