Photos & text courtesy of Mecum Auctions
By 1968, better aerodynamics and more powerful engines in the competition had reduced if not eliminated the margin enjoyed by Chrysler’s Hemi cars in NASCAR. The big 426-inch powerhouse needed to be able to push a cleaner shape through the air, and while the Charger 500 with its flat grille and faired rear window was a step in the right direction, further work was needed. Dodge’s solution came in the breathtaking new form of the Charger Daytona. Decked out in a knife-edged nosecone and dramatically tall rear wing, the Daytona became an instant NASCAR icon.
This numbers-matching Charger Daytona was purchased new by a New York schoolteacher who drove it daily for several years until 1981, after which it changed hands several times. In 1994 it was discovered and purchased by Jay Cox, who performed a painstaking search for the correct components needed to return the car to its original glory. The bodywork was massaged back to a state of grace by Professional Refinishing of Winfield, Kansas, who also skillfully applied the arresting Hemi Orange finish. The basic assembly complete, award-winning Mopar restoration specialist Roger Gibson meticulously detailed the chassis and engine compartment to Concours readiness using only correct date-coded parts, including the alternator, exhaust manifolds, spark plug wires, distributor cap, fan belts, window glass and headlights.
The Daytona’s original equipment is the stuff Mopar dreams are made of: a 375-horse 440 Magnum engine, Hemi-rated four-speed manual transmission with a Hurst shifter, and the prized A34 Super Track Pak, which features a Sure-Grip Dana 60 rear end with 4.10:1 gears, viscous-drive fan, and dual-breaker distributor. Power front disc brakes and heavy duty suspension are standard equipment on the winged Charger. The Black vinyl interior is typically straightforward, with full instrumentation, tachometer with clock, wood-rimmed Sport steering wheel and woodgrain-trimmed console.
The quality of this restored Daytona prompted the producers of TV’s “American Musclecar” to choose it over 25 other candidates for a 1999 feature. It also was the subject of a January 2001 article in the Mopar enthusiast periodical The Broadcast Sheet, and awarded the prestigious OEM Certification at the Mopar Nationals.
A rare high-profile 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, it is also one of the best of its kind.