Dodge Daytona and Plymouth Superbird
The NASCAR races were one of the most important battle arenas of the muscle car wars back in the late ’60s. The superspeedways were places of 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 them more aerodynamic. The condition was to apply those changes to regular production examples and sell a limited number of them to the public.
Most manufacturers jumped at this opportunity and created “Aero racers,” or specially-designed cars homologated for the races. Two of the most famous was the Dodge Daytona and the Plymouth Superbird. They only built these two cars for one year, with the Dodge in 1969 and the Plymouth in 1970. Despite looking almost identical, the Daytona and Superbird had only two things in common: a front nose cone and headlight covers.
The manufacturers designed both cars using a wind tunnel. That big wing on the back was essential in achieving a high downforce at high speeds in NASCAR races. The wing wasn’t supposed to be that high, but designers deliberately made it high so drivers could open the trunk. They produced 500 Dodge Daytonas and approximately 2,000 Plymouth Superbirds.
When they introduced the Daytona in 1969, the rules stated the car company must produce over 500 models. However, when they presented the Superbird in 1970, the rules changed. The manufacturer had to produce one car per dealership. So, in the case of the Plymouth, that was exactly 1,936 cars.
Both models were successful in NASCAR and the investment in their specially-built bodies paid off. Daytona and Superbirds are rare finds nowadays. They are also expensive, highly-coveted pieces of muscle car history.