Win on Sunday, sell on Monday was the mantra of the big three throughout the 1960s. And never was it more true than for Mopar’s NASCAR winged warriors – the Dodge Daytona and Plymouth Superbird.
These cars can trace their roots back to the 1966 Charger, which was said to be unstable at speed. NASCAR allowed Dodge to fit a small one-inch spoiler to help even out the car’s handling on the big oval tracks, and the car cleaned up, taking that year’s championship and putting people in Dodge showrooms. Ford and Mercury released their similarly-styled Torino and Cyclone shortly thereafter, looking for a piece of the action.
The slick Charger 500 was Chrysler’s match for the new 429-ci Torino Talladega in 1969, but it wasn’t quite enough, and Chrysler again was pushed to innovate in order to maintain its performance edge. The result was the Daytona – complete with aero nose and huge rear wing. It was extremely effective – these cars were the first to break 200 mph in competition, and Dodge’s test mule was clocked at over 240 mph at the Chelsea Proving Ground. A total of 503 were built for homologation purposes.
This is one of the street-bound cars built to allow the racers to qualify. It’s said to be one of 10 built in Dark Metallic Green. The engine is a 440-ci 375-hp V8 that the seller claims is date coded and period correct to the car. A 727 TorqueFlite handles the shifting, and a Dana rear end puts the power to the ground. It has 89,000 miles, but the photos show it to be in excellent overall condition.
Both Daytonas and Superbirds are rare, as they were more or less outlawed by NASCAR thanks to rule changes that started in ’71. But the Daytona was built in far fewer numbers than the Superbird, making examples like this hard to come by. And while the two cars look similar, they actually share no sheet metal parts.