1969 Dodge Charger Daytona Hemi
While the Charger Daytona Hemi is closely related (and from a few steps back, virtually indistinguishable) from the Plymouth Superbird, it actually predates the better-known car by about a year. The “aero” cars were created to out-do the Ford Torino Talladega, which was outcompeting the older Charger 500. The only way to go faster was either more power or a clever design. When the engineers did the math, they realized that power was not an option, so to the wind tunnel they went. The aero gear—the nosecone, flush rear window, and functional spoilers—added a lot of weight, but lowered the drag coefficient to just 0.28, making it incredibly fast. In fact, the Charger Daytona was the first NASCAR entry to do more than 200 mph, in the hands of Buddy Baker in 1970. Street cars were needed to homologate the racing variant, so Dodge built 505 street versions. As for the rear spoiler, there’s a controversy about whether its extreme height was for aerodynamics or to allow the trunk to open. Ultimately, it is functional and the trunk opens just fine, so it’s a moot point.
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