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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

The first Charger Daytona to hit 200 mph was stolen, recovered, and lost again | Hagerty Media

Hitting 200 miles per hour in a car is not easy. Land-speed racers pick wide-open lake beds for their speed trials to get the long, smooth straightaways needed to reach such velocities, but in 1970, Buddy Baker eclipsed that landmark speed on a closed course, making him the first to do so.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/car-profiles/the-first-charger-daytona-to-hit-200-mph-was-stolen-recov...
35 REPLIES 35
OldRoad
Instructor

And no restrictor plates.
mchalewj
Pit Crew

When stock cars looked.....stock.
JT1
Pit Crew

Dale Earnhardt hated restrictor plates and wanted to do away with them. Here's one of the things he had to say:
“If you're not a race driver, stay the hell home. Don't come here and grumble about going too fast. Get the hell out of the race car if you've got feathers on your legs or butt. Put a kerosene rag around your ankles so the ants won't climb up and eat that candy ass.”
― Dale Earnhardt
GRP_Photo
Instructor

Fireball Roberts felt like that until he lived up to his nickname.
MATTMERICA
Instructor

Thank you for that, funny
ThumperUSMC
Intermediate Driver

I never considered that car as an "oddity" but thought it was a beautiful piece of racing art. I even like the street versions that Dodge had to sell to make it a legal racer. It is still one of my all time favorite vehicles and if I had the wherewithall to own one, I most assuredly would, even if I never drove it the way they were intended. That of course, was back in the day when NASCAR vehicles were actually production cars instead of the "things" they have become and have restrictors that keep them from actually showing what they are capable of instead of what NASCAR says they should be allowed to do. I loved the NASCAR of old, but starting in the 70's it changed. Yes, the vehicles are much safer, but they have, at least to me, lost the thrill of seeing the drivers being competitive instead of being the driver with the most money and sponsors driving the cars, instead of racing them...
Punk
Detailer

True. NASCAR holds no interest for me any more. The cookie cutter cars, or should I say, mobile billboards. Pass.
TinCanSailor
Intermediate Driver

But they have stickers that look like Ford and Chevy and Toyota emblems! With realistic looking headlights and everything... 🙂
golfnut53083
Intermediate Driver

I was a goofy 12 year old when these first appeared and I can remember looking at that rear wing and thinking somebody put a park bench on that trunk! As a Ford fan, it was fun to watch the competition between these and Ford.
97Cobra
Intermediate Driver

COOL
MikeSS
Intermediate Driver

If I remember correctly, Ford was developing a similar car when NASCAR limited the size of the motors in the “aero-cars”.
DC
Intermediate Driver

Torino /Merc Cyclone won more superspeedway races than Dodge crowd.

“Also note bars that connect firewall to cage”....This is needed to keep front end from falling off. Unibody, aka no frame construction.

BTW, photo of engine identifies “huge cross ram” is incorrect.
MikeSS
Intermediate Driver

As I recall, the manifold was a short ram similar to the drag racing engine except it had a single Holley carburetor versus the dual Holley carburetors on the drag racing engine. That was to comply with NASCAR limitation of a single carburetor rule.
DLP
Pit Crew

Look again. Single 4bl carb under a triangular air cleaner.
OldRoad
Instructor

I believe it was a single, only one wing nut.
mhealy1
Detailer

Umm...Torino’s and Cyclones are unibody. A modified Falcon platform, if I remember correctly.
Brandan
Hagerty Employee

That bathtub intake is definitely a cross-ram.
topside
Detailer

I remember their debut, and never thought they were unattractive; brutally efficient and a high-water mark for "stock cars", yes. One could call the Wing Cars "the nuclear option". Creating the fastest car through ingenuity was the whole point at the time, and I'd say that's why that era is regarded as highly as it is. It's the embodiment of a philosophy as much as a racecar.
carguyjim
Detailer

I had a '70 Superbird 440+6 Pistol Grip 4spd. in Lemon Twist when I got out of high school. It was like marrying a celebrity as the supercar was outrageous everywhere I drove it...
It took developed skill to handle short gears and all that juice with VERY little in terms of braking!! Almost like Fred Flintstone dragging his feet!!!
I did not turn on the radio once, if it had one! That 440 with six open mouths of carbs at high RPM's was the best tune I ever heard!!!
MATTMERICA
Instructor

And then what car did you get? I couldn't imagine being 18 with a car like that, I would have been dead in a week.
TimK
Detailer

That was my father's thinking in 1966 when as a 16 yr old I wanted to buy the 1964 AC Cobra our family's friend used to own for $2995.00. And that one only had the 260 engine.
chrisrod
New Driver

Agreed. Still have (purchased 12/26/1969) my SixPack (“V” code) Charger R/T; the sound of the six barrels wide open at high RPMs is still the sweetest tune I’ve ever heard, also!!!
gtokdx1
Pit Crew

These cars were beasts on the track. However, too many people thought they were "ugly" on the street back in the 70's. So much so that Chrysler built them. But, they sat up against the dealers back fences. Some dealers had to remove the front ends and wing and convert them (somewhat) back to Chargers. Can you imagine that? Today, we lust over them. Back then, dealers were forced to take them by their Chrysler Rep's (maybe to get a load of "hot selling" New Yorkers), then couldn't give them away!!!
chrisrod
New Driver

I never heard of any Charger Daytona’s converted back to Charger R/Ts, but I know that a BUNCH of Plymouth Superbirds were converted back to Road Runners! Some were sold by dealers as NEW cars several years after their original manufacture.
autbone
Pit Crew

This article feels to recognize Greg Kwiatkowsy, the man responsible for this vehicle being recovered and restored over the last 20 years. My dad was a lead engineer on this car, in Huntsville Alabama, and I grew up hearing stories about the car and his witnessing it on the track. My dad and I personally helped Greg find parts my dad had set aside. I hope future articles will recognize 25 years or more of work on the part of Kwiatkowski to make this dream come true.
tbenvie
Pit Crew

So where is the "Lost again" part of the story?
aeroguy
New Driver

Ray didnt restore the car, it was rolling chassis when he picked it up from the person who did most of the restoration. the article also skips that,
MrBill-1943
Intermediate Driver

Leave it to Dale Sr. to call a Spade a Shovel he always called them the way he saw them. Agree with stepping away from NASCAR between all alike and political to canceled all my 25 years season tickets to Daytona etc. Wish we would just get back to the sport and different styles of cars that could still go 200mph+ that you could buy on Monday.
mwmyers91
Detailer

Talladega Thunder at its peak
chrlsful
Instructor

museum piece, but please - run it up to speed yearly (or more). Needs to stay in public awareness...
64jeepsrt
Intermediate Driver

How about using it as a pace car at the Daytona 500 some time or any of the other super speedways...
Caprice81
Intermediate Driver

RACE ON SUNDAY ....SELL ON MONDAYS! The slogan used back in the day when you could go into a dealer's showroom and actually buy a car that looked like a stock car.
OldRoad
Instructor

I remember Buddy Baker saying, as I steered the car out of the high banks and onto the straights, I could begin to feel the rear trying to go out from under me when all of the sudden that wing would grab the cross air and blow the rear back straight without me over steering. Richard Petty wanted Plymouth to manufacture their version of the Dodge but were unable to provide due to NASCAR homologation issues so he ran the Talladega Torino for 69 and won 9 races with them.
Tinkerah
Technician

I have a photo of one of these (might've been a Superbird) in the parking lot of an Alice Cooper concert circa 1979 or so. It was actually the second time I'd seen one in the wild. At the time I thought "I'm getting one of those after the prices come down"....
64jeepsrt
Intermediate Driver

Its a sad day when you see a toyota camry as a "offical" pace car for NASCAR or raced as a "stock" car in NASCAR cup racing!