Dodge Daytona Introduction
With its distinctive 23” rear wing and aerodynamic nose cone, the Dodge Daytona is a highly-coveted collectors car. NASCAR changed the rules to eliminate the Daytona from competition due to its utter domination in 1969 to 1970, a bragging right that few vehicles share. There are two distinct types of Daytonas. First, is the aforementioned race-focused muscle car. Taking its name from Daytona, Florida - home to the NASCAR Daytona 500 - this was first produced in 1969 and has iconic status (and premium price tag) to this day. On the other hand, the 1984 to 1993 Dodge Daytona (not a Charger) is a much less powerful, front-wheel drive hatchback vehicle.
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona: Too Fast, Even for NASCAR
Chrysler produced the first generation of the high-performance Dodge Charger Daytona in 1969. Only 503 of these vehicles hit the market and the ones who are still road-worthy fetch substantial prices today, often well over $100,000. The eye-catching 23” rear wing wasn’t just a style statement. It provided stabilization and downforce to keep the tires on the road, while the aerodynamic sheet metal nose cone cut through the air. These two characteristics make the Daytona recognizable for any muscle car aficionado. With a 440 Magnum or 426 HEMI V-8 powerhouse under the hood, specialized scoops in the front fenders helped cool the powerful brakes. Meaning this fierce competitor could charge down the straights and slow at the last moment for the corners, helping it achieve 22 NASCAR victories. Dodge put the Daytona label and characteristic wing and nose cone on a handful of Chrysler Cordobas (rebadged Dodge Chargers) produced from 1975 to 1977.
The Dodge Daytona: 1984 to 1993
When fuel-efficiency and emissions controls started to rule vehicle manufacturing, Dodge released a new version of the Dodge Daytona that strayed far away from the muscle car past, yet still made Car and Driver’s Top Ten list. This front-wheel drive hatchback used the Chrysler G platform and was available in three trim levels: standard, Turbo, and Turbo Z. All had a 2.2L inline-4 engine that pushed out up to 142 horsepower. The Turbo Z upgrades include Mark Cross leather, light up speakers, and rear amplifier switches. It was restyled in 1987 with pop-up headlights and the Shelby Z trim level included an inter-cooled turbo and heavy-duty transaxle. 1992 came with a facelift that removed the pop-up headlights for flush-mounted rounded ones. After ceasing production of the Dodge Daytona in 1993, the Dodge Avenger eventually took the Daytona’s place in 1995.
Back to Power: Second Generation Dodge Charger Daytona
From 2006 to 2009, Dodge produced another exclusive set of high-performance Charger Daytonas. This Charger generation moved to a four-door sedan instead of two-door coupe. It maintained the muscle car status with a 5.7L HEMI V-8 engine paired to a single pass center exhaust and increased diameter air intake filter. A choice of bold exterior colors, a rear wing, and front chin spoiler were reminiscent of the 1969 glory days. Load-leveling rear shocks, specialized 18-20” wheels, and custom graphics and badges topped the list of add-ons.
Third Generation: 2013 Exclusive
The exclusive 2013 Dodge Charger Daytona was just a one-year run. It brought back familiar attributes from the 2006 to 2009 generation, with the 5.7L HEMI V-8, rear spoiler, 20” wheels, and performance steering and suspension.
Current Fourth Generation: 2017 to Present
The Dodge Charger Daytona special-edition package came back in 2017 and still remains an offering from Dodge. This upgraded Scat Pack package features satin-black graphic elements, rear spoiler, front chin, carbonite interior accents, and custom hood decals. There are now two engine options: the 5.7L V-8 HEMI tuned to reach 370 horsepower, and the Daytona 392 with a 6.4L V-8 HEMI, pushing out an astonishing 485 horsepower. Both versions paired up to the TorqueFlite 8-speed transmission to get that power to the wheels. Other third-generation features included many interior and exterior design upgrades, plus a 8.4 inch touchscreen with modernized technology including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.