The 1960s is a decade known for radical change for an array of reasons ranging from civil rights to technology. Not wanting to be left out, American cars showed a fierce rejection of 1950s styling excess, and would instead take on a comparatively clean and boxy style for the entire decade. With the rise in popularity of NASCAR and the rapid building of superspeedways, the horsepower race reached its climax in the late 1960s, with ultra fast muscle cars being sold by all of The Big Three automakers.
Chrysler entered the muscle car game with the original Dodge Charger. Some would call the Charger a failure because although it sold in large numbers to the public, it never won a race. Chrysler started experimenting with aerodynamics in the 1920s, but it wasn’t until 1969 that they released the most aerodynamic car of its time. Identified by its tall rear wing and aerodynamic nosecone, the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona succeeded the 1969 Dodge Charger 500 as a muscle car inspired by NASCAR racing. Because of these added aerodynamic features, the Daytona ended up looking like a mix between an odd airplane and the original Charger.
About 500 street going versions of the Dodge Daytona were manufactured, and except for the gaudy nose and tail they were essentially 1969-model Charger R/Ts. The race version of the Dodge Daytona did its job by winning the inaugural Talladega 500 its first time out on the track, along with 21 other NASCAR races in 1969 and 1970, and finally living up to the Detroit mantra of the 60s, “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday.”
Today, the Daytona is coveted as part of NASCAR history and this notion, coupled with the low production numbers, makes the muscle car extremely collectible. So, when our customer came across this rare example, he excitedly scooped it up. Not to mention, his father had one as a child, which made the car even more collectible and special in his eyes. This numbers matching, documented car maintains the factory standard heavy-duty suspension and brake setup. It also has the more “common” factory 440 CID Magnum engine. On a side note, the optional 426 CID Hemi V8 engine, came in only 70 of the approximately 500 Daytonas made.
While at another shop for mechanical maintenance it received a scratch on the left quarter panel. DOH! Thanks to our excellent reputation, our customer’s father heard about us via word of mouth and subsequently checked us out online. After coming to the shop to verify his online findings, he employed us to fix the scratch and we were happy to have to purchase the Dodge factory paint labeled F6 – Bright Green Metallic Lucite to do the job.
Once the car got here, we realized it is an older restoration, so in the lead seam area of the rocker to quarter panel the older repair blistered. That meant a little more work that we originally thought. We ended up grinding out all the affected metal, fabricated a small patch, then mig welded the patch in solid. After all of that fabricating and grinding, a minimal amount of bondo was needed to finish it off. Next, we applied 895 BC Color Blender made by PPG to blend out new paint with the old paint. We were sure to keep the colored area as small as possible for good consistent color match. Lastly, we clear coated the entirety of the panels to complete the blend.
We also ended up dealing with a leaky fuel tank, which thankfully wasn’t that big of a deal. All we had to do was remove the fuel tank, clean the exterior of the tank, clean the seals to examine them. Once we had a look, we deemed the seals reusable since they had maintained their suppleness (is that a word??). Then we applied a thin layer of Blue Hylomar to the sealing surface and reinstalled, for a neat original appearance.
Although this Daytona only has 25,837 miles on it, he does take it out for a drive on occasion and we are hoping to get some video of it in action. So, stay tuned and wish us luck!