The 500 'Daytona' was a response to Ford dominance, in NASCAR racing. The Charger was competitive power-wise - but let down by too much speed-sapping drag. The Charger '500' was the first attempt to redress that balance. Aerodynamics were key. The nose was enclosed - and the rear window made flush with its surrounds. Those two changes alone made a big difference. The 500 won 18 races, in '69. Ford's 'Torino', though, won 30! More was clearly needed. The 500's nose grew 18″ - and a huge rear wing sprung up. This new version was 20% more efficient, in terms of airflow. It was dubbed the 'Daytona'. NASCAR's tables were turned!
505 production cars were built - for race homologation purposes. But, the road-going Chargers did not sell well. They were gathering showroom dust - when TV came to the rescue! The Dukes of Hazzard series turned the Charger tide. In the form of the General Lee, it was the star of the show. The sheriff was in perpetual pursuit of the Dodge-borne Dukes! Though, thanks to its engine - a GM 'Magnum' V8 - 375bhp kept the good ol' boys out ahead! For more law-abiding drivers, there was the choice of a 4-speed manual - or 3-speed TorqueFlite 'box. Suspension was by torsion bars, up front - and leaf springs, to the rear. And there were disc brakes fore - and 'boosted' drums aft.
Ironically, the new nose and rear wing hindered the roadster. The extra weight slowed it down. But, it was on the NASCAR banking, that the Charger came into its own. Buddy Baker was in a Daytona, when he recorded NASCAR's first 200mph lap. That was in 1970 - at Talladega, Alabama. Named after one of the world's most iconic race-tracks, the 'Daytona' lived up to the legend!