Dodge Daytona and Plymouth Superbird
The NASCAR races were one of the most important battle arenas in the muscle car wars. Back in the late 1960s, superspeedways were places of many fierce clashes between Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Plymouth and Pontiac. The most interesting period was the late ’60s when NASCAR rules allowed some modifications to car bodies to make cars more aerodynamic.
The condition was to apply those changes to regular production examples and sell a limited number of such cars to the public. Most manufacturers jumped at this opportunity and created “Aero racers” or specially-designed cars they homologated for the races.
Two of the most famous are the Dodge Daytona and Plymouth Superbird. They built those two cars for only one year – the Dodge in 1969 and the Plymouth in 1970. Despite looking almost identical, the Daytona and Superbird have only two things in common. They are the front nose cone and headlight covers, but everything else is different. They designed both cars using a wind tunnel.
The big wing on the back was essential in achieving high downforces at high speeds in NASCAR races. The wing wasn’t originally supposed to be that high. But the designers deliberately modified it, so drivers could open the trunk fully. They made just 500 Dodge Daytonas and 2,000 Plymouth Superbirds. When they introduced the Daytona in 1969, the rules stated they had to produce over 500 copies.
However, when they produced the Superbird in 1970, the rules changed. The manufacturer had to produce one car per dealership, which was exactly 1,936 cars in case of the Plymouth. Both of those models were successful in NASCAR and the investment in their specially built bodies paid off. Daytona and Superbirds are rare, expensive and highly unusual pieces of muscle car history.