1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, AKA - Daytona Charger - Talk about BOLD! Chrysler blew everyone away with their ultimate NASCAR warrior, the Charger Daytona. The Charger had been Dodge’s NASCAR racer since ‘66 with the big-block Fords running very close for years. Race car aerodynamics was exploding with new ideas in the mid-to- late ‘60s and the designers at Chrysler were paying close attention. They made a huge adjustable wing for the back of the car and a new nose clip in the shape of a big wedge with rounded off sides. Since car makers had to sell what they raced, there was a street version that people either loved or hated.
There’s no doubt about it, this car was over the top! The Charger Daytona was available with either a 440 Magnum or 426 Hemi engine. For the street, either power plant was more than enough. But the Hemis were notoriously hard on drive trains and many of the winged Dodges were ordered with the less expensive, easier to live with 440 engine. The following year, Plymouth got into the game with their winged warrior based on the Road Runner body, and called the “Superbird.” Like the Dodge, it was a love-it or hate-it kind of car.
But by ‘71 the party was over. Muscle cars quickly were becoming socially unacceptable and NASCAR was pulling in the reins on the winged machines with restrictor plates between the Hemi engine’s intake manifold and big Holley carb. The net result was the Mopar wing machines that weren’t competitive. Not because of anything lacking in the Mopar designs, it was the interference of NASCAR There was growing concern in NASCAR over the 200-plus miles-per-hour speeds the winged cars were reaching.
The Chrysler winged cars was a classic example of racing advancements filtering down into production cars. Today, Eclipses, Celicas, and Civics can be seen sporting big wings on their rear deck lids... shades of NASCAR circa 1969-70. - KST
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A - Chevy and Ford were having such a great time in Trans-Am racing that Chrysler just had to get into the game. The Z-28 and trans-Am Firebird were enjoying excellent sales and street presence. The T/A Challenger had all the right moves, but as a race car lacked development time.
The small-block Mopar came with race car-like stiff suspension, fat tires, spoilers, a black hood, and exhaust pipes that exited in front of the real wheels... just like a real race car. Unfortunately, the T/A Challenger was a one-year-only car. The racing team didn’t do well and Detroit was beginning to get a muscle car hangover - quietly backing out of all the tire-burning muscle car fun. - KST
1971 Dodge Charger - Although things were quickly cooling off in muscle carland, the ‘71 Charger was still a great car. Somehow, the Dodge Boys managed to keep the 426 Hemi in the Dodge lineup.
Insurance companies had been clobbering muscle car drivers for years and the first Arab oil embargo was only two years away. For those too young to remember, a gallon of Sunoco 260 was only about 34¢ in 1971! - KST
1971 Dodge Hemi Charger - It was as if Chrysler hadn’t heard that the Detroit muscle car was dead! While GM and Ford started using unleaded gas, lower compression engines, and rating their engines at their GROSS horsepower level, Mopar went on business-as-usual. But it would be the last year for a performance party for Chrysler for a long time.
The 426-cid, 425 hp Hemi beast was as beastly as ever. The updated Charger body had a new sheet metal, but it was an evolutionary styling change and it still looked like a Charger.
The Hemi option not only came with heavy-duty everything, but optional was the “Grabber Hood.” The vacuum operated scoop, of flap would pop up when you put your foot into the big Hemi and get right to work grabbing big gulps of air for the hungry Hemi under the hood.
It was gimmicks such as this that helped make the muscle car era so much fun. Muscle car designers did things just because they just LOOKED COOL! - KST
1970 Dodge Challenger Convertible - It’s too bad that the ‘70 Challenger wasn’t released in ‘68. But as it was, the ‘70 Challenger had benefited from all the development work that had gone into the Barracuda the previous years.
Chrysler had great plans for the Challenger. The T/A Challenger was an impressive effort and looked great. And Ted Spehar used a ‘71 Challenger as his mule car, called the “Motown Missile” to “road test” special racing parts built by the Mopar racing engineering team.
As sweet as the ‘70 Challenger was, the convertible version was sweeter. The car had great looks, plenty of unleaded power, and with the top down, it was... “OH WOW!” - KST
1969 Dodge Super Bee - As if muscle cars weren’t specialized enough simply because of their performance image, a new sub-specialty group was forming. The Super Bee option was on top of the Dodge Coronet R/T package that already included an impressive assembly of heavy-duty parts. Over at GM, Pontiac was doing the same thing with their “Judge” version of the GTO.
The Super Bee was the Dodge version of the Plymouth Road Runner. Or it could have been the other way around, depending on your brand loyalty. Either way, the car provided solid performance and a unique personality, all at a very reasonable price.
Dodge’s official statement was the following, “The Super Bee is for the guy who wants a low-priced performance car with all the goodies to make it a true performance car. If your customer doesn’t believe it, tell him you’ll meet him with a Super bee at the local drag strip.”
How’s THAT for a challenge. “I’ll see you at high noon, pardner!” - KST
1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger - Just as the Camaro and Firebird share the same basic platform, when Chrysler decided to restyle the ‘70 ‘Cuda they decided to produce a Dodge version. So everything that was available in the ‘Cuda was also available in the Challenger... including the monstrous 426 Street Hemi.
It was an expensive option ($1,227 - A LOT in 1970) and one that wasn’t always easy to life with. But after all, right out of the box it was only a few steps away from racing in NHRA Stock Eliminator or a few dozen steps away from Super Stock Eliminator class drag racing. - KST
1990 Dodge Viper - Chrysler STUNNED the automotive world in 1989 with the Dodge Viper. You have to remember that ten years before Chrysler was on its death bed when Lee Iacocca took over the driver’s seat. By the end of the ‘80s Chrysler K-cars and mini vans had saved the company. Now it was time for some fun!
Designers admitted that they were looking at Carroll Shelby’s 427 Cobra. This really wasn’t a stretch because Shelby was working his magic again with the little Dodge Horizon. The repackaged box car was Shelbyized and christened the “GLH” which meant “Goes Like Hell”!
So with inspiration from Ol’Shel, designers came up with a completely original shape. A V-8 engine wasn’t enough for Chryslers new super car, they dropped in a new V-10! Suddenly Chevy’s Corvette had to start huffin. The Viper was fresh, loud, blazingly fast, and slack-jawed good-looking.
The hot little roadster soon morphed into the Viper GTS Coupe - one of the world’s most beautiful cars. - KST
1969 Dodge Scat Pack Badge - During the muscle car hey-dayz, a lot of car designers and marketing guys obviously were having a lot of fun. But the Chrysler guys were having WAY too much fun.
The styling of some of their cars may not have been cutting edge, but they had a wonderful, playful way of dressing up their muscle cars. The Road Runner cartoon character was already on the fender of a Plymouth and Mopar magazine ads were totally tripped-out car-toon ventures into an alternate automotive reality.
The “Scat Pack” badge reads, “Dodge Scat Pack... The ones with the Bumblebee stripes.” Stripes had been part of the muscle car scene since the beginning. They were placed along the rocker panels, the top edge of the sides, around the nose, and finally around the tail end. You can almost imagine that someone in the Dodge design group may have said, “Gee... these look like bumblebee stripes.” PERFECT! It stuck and the “Scat Pack” Dodge Bumblebee was born! - KST
1967 Dodge Charger - In the ‘50s and ‘60s, Chrysler styling was a “love it or hate it” kind of thing. Many of their cars looked pugish. With “sex appeal” as a growing aspect of advertising and styling, Chrysler took a stop-gap measure on their big Dodge Coronet model by making a long, straight fastback roof-line.
The end result looked very good for its day. And with a 440 Magnum or a 426 Hemi under the hood, few dared you on the stop-light grand prix. The new fastback roof also helped the Mopar NASCAR racers. - KST
1964 Dodge Polara - Before Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins became Mr. Chevrolet, he successfully raced Mopars. Bill built Hemi engines and drove for Bud Faubel of Chambersburg, Pa. Using 7-inch cheater slicks, the amazingly stock-looking Hemi Dodge set the National Record in A/FX class with a 11.39 et @124.30 mph at Cecil County Drag-O-Way in 1964. - KST
1962 Dodge Polara 413 Max Wedge - Early '60s Mopars weren't on the cutting edge of automotive styling. But for Mopar lovers, that was part of the charm. The cars looked like something at an accountant of the day might drive, but with a Max Wedge 413 big-block engine under the hood, early '60s Mopars were the ultimate sleeper cars of their day.
It must have been a lot of fun opening the hood of a plain-Jane Mopar and showing off the awesome-looking 420 horsepower 413 Max Wedge engine. Many a competitor only saw the back end of these Mopars on the drag strip and at stop lights all over America. - KST