Car Corner: The Dodge Charger Daytona muscle car

One of my show cars is a 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T which I purchased in November 2009 with just over 26,000 miles on the odometer. The R/T stands for “Road and Track.” It is a limited edition with a HEMI engine and a “Top Banana” exterior yellow paint – only 4,000 Daytonas were produced in this color in 2006. When my wife, Barb, and I went to look at the car to purchase it, we noticed that the plaque on the dash showed that this car was #1946 of the 4,000 Daytonas. Since Barb was born in 1946, we knew we had to have this car (plus I particularly liked the fact that it was a pure muscle car). Since acquiring the Daytona in 2009, I have added a Diablo Predator high performance tune and electronic cut-outs on each of the dual exhaust pipes, which can get very loud when fully opened. It has a 5-speed automatic transmission with a “slapstick” gear shifter for manual operation.
The Dodge Charger Daytona muscle car
Ken McNally’s 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona. KEN MCNALLY

The Dodge Charger Daytona name has a very interesting history. The name was taken from Daytona Beach, which was an early center for auto racing and still hosts the Daytona 500, one of NASCAR’s premier events. The first use of the Daytona name on a car was a version of the Studebaker Lark. The Daytona was the performance model of the compact Lark and it was produced from 1963 to 1966.

With the failure of the 1969 Dodge Charger 500 on the high banks of the super speedways (track of a mile or more in length), the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona was created. It was intended to be a high performance, limited edition version of the Dodge Charger produced in the summer of 1969 for the sole purpose of winning high profile NASCAR races but only 503 were ever made. The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, like it’s successor in 1970 -the Plymouth Superbird – had a very unusual shape created by a special sheet-metal “nose cone” that replaced the traditional upright front grille and a very high stabilizer wing on the rear deck. Both cars won a number of races but the Daytona was the first car in NASCAR history to break the 200 mph mark in 1970 at the Talladega track. The 1969 Daytona is now a very rare and valuable collectible with some of the high powered cars passing the $300,000 mark.

For 1976 and 1977, the Daytona name returned on the Charger but they were low performance cars, not considered worthy of the Daytona name from 1969. The Daytona name was not introduced again until 2006 when Dodge brought back the Charger name. The Daytonas were limited editions in several colors, all with the high performance HEMI engines.

I enjoy driving my Charger Daytona and taking it to cruise-in’s and shows. I have won first place in my class at the annual Garlits MOPAR show two years in a row (2010 & 2011) and again in 2013 (couldn’t attend the 2012 show) with the Daytona and plan to keep it for a long time.

Upcoming events

??March 21: Friday Night Thunder cruise-in at 5 p.m. in the Courthouse Square area of downtown Inverness.

??March 22: The 5th Annual All MOPAR Car Show from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking area at the Government Center behind 212 Main St. in downtown Inverness. All years and models of MOPAR cars and trucks are welcome to attend.

??April 5: Kiwanis Car Show open to all years and models of cars and trucks at Nick Nicholas Ford Lincoln on Hwy 44 in Inverness from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

??April 13: The Corvettes and Camaros car show open to all Corvettes, Camaros and Cadillac XLRs (close cousin to the Vette) at the Crystal Chevrolet dealership on U.S. 19 in Homossassa.

Ken McNally is a car enthusiast from Citrus County and his Car Corner columns appear on the second and fourth Fridays each month in the Hernando Today. He can be contacted at kenmcnally@tampabay.rr.com or by phone at 352-341-1165.

Car Corner: The Dodge Charger Daytona muscle car
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