Car Culture & Entertainment

The Reader-Voted Top 10 Cars of the 1960s: #9 – 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

 

Editor’s Note: The decade of the 1960s is considered by many to be the greatest in American automotive history. There’s little mystery why. The 1960s gave birth to the “muscle car wars” and game-changing performance pony cars. Legends like the Pontiac GTO, Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, HEMI-powered Mopars, and several others. How does one choose which is best? Controversially, we’re guessing. That’s why you’re taking some of the heat, too. We sync’d up with our friends on Summit Racing’s social media team to put the question out to their Facebook and Instagram audiences: What is the top car of the 1960s? The countdown to #1 continues.

Aerodynamics.

That’s what drove the development of the #9 car on your list of the Top 10 cars of the 1960s: the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona.

The limited-edition Daytona—just 503 were made—was designed for the sole purpose of winning NASCAR races. Based on the Dodge Charger body, it featured a couple of special (and extremely high-profile) modifications that helped it travel the super speedways at nearly 200 miles-per-hour. Most notably, the Charger Daytona had a fiberglass nose cone over the standard grille opening for improved aero performance and a 23-inch tall stabilizer wing on the rear deck. The former helped give the Daytona a drag coefficient of just .28—considerably lower than many cars made decades later. The latter added drag, but helped keep the wheels planted on the track at high speeds.

Under the hood, most Charger Daytonas carried a 375-horsepower, 440-cubic-inch engine; however, a 425-hp 426 HEMI was optional and was added to just 70 of the 503 Daytonas made. The HEMI-powered version won several NASCAR races for Dodge in 1969 and 70, but the on-track fun didn’t last long. Eventually the “Winged Warriors” (the nickname given to the Daytona and its Plymouth Superbird cousin) were outlawed by NASCAR.

As successful as the Charger Daytona was on the track in its early days, it was never a hit with the public—at least not initially. Many thought the nose and big wing looked—well, ridiculous. Fortunately (or unfortunately for those looking to score a rare ’69 Daytona), the supercar is now one of the most highly sought collectible cars on the market.

It’s also #9 on your list of top cars produced in the 1960s.

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2 Comments

  1. Ty Gross. aka:: MOTORHEAD TY says:

    “NO CAR LIKE MOPAR!”
    MOTORHEAD~TY

  2. brad goldstein says:

    “Massively Overpowered And Respected”

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