Homage to the Winged Warrior…
These pics of the homologation special from Dodge in 1969 really evokes the difference in approach to car design and marketing over these last forty years. The Dodge was an extreme machine, but still (almost) accessible.
Race specials of our current crop of supercars are only a realistic purchase for sports stars and oil oligarchs – the Daytona 500 retained an everyman accessibility. It retailed at relatively lowly $4000, but despite this very reasonable price point, they found it hard to shift the 505 cars they made to qualify for homologation.
The slippery profile, aerodynamic nose and huge spolier must have had something to do with it. With a drag co-efficient of 0.28 (approaching that of many sports cars of the last decade) the car was a groundbreaking piece of aero. Ironically at the time the fluid lines were considered a little ugly – against the grain of standard musclecar geometry.
It must have been a beast to drive, but this Nascar bred aerodynamic monster could negotiate the oval at 200MPH. No other car could match it for top speed – and in 11 years of racing the car won 124 NASCAR Cup races and took three drivers to five championships. The oval speed record the car achieved wasn’t surpassed until 1983.
From today’s perspective, the car is a period classic laden heavily with burly, pre fuel crisis portent. When you consider the age in which it was conceived and that incredible top-end speed, it’s hardly surprising that these cars are fast approaching legend.
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