1969 muscle legend may need a little work before going to the drag strip again
The term “barn find” gets thrown around a lot in the world of collector cars, more referring to rubber-bumper MGBs sitting behind someone’s bungalow in Pensacola versus a Ferrari found in the French countryside. A 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona that Mecum Auctions will offer next month has a better claim to that title than most.
The Dodge Charger Daytona was a homologation special created to get a more competitive version of the Charger onto the NASCAR oval. Built as a limited edition model in late 1969, the Daytona was offered with a choice of two engines: the legendary 426 Hemi V8 or more streetable 440 Magnum V8, with a TorqueFlite three-speed automatic or a a four-speed manual gearbox sending the power to the spinning rear tires. The Daytona is better remembered for its impressive wing, which stands 23 inches tall and is one of the two main aerodynamic additions to the Daytona — the other being the nose cone. A total of 503 cars were built, just a little over the 500 required for homologation, even though NASCAR ended up changing the rules almost immediately after the Daytona was introduced and won the first race it entered.
The version that Mecum will offer is equipped with the 440 Magnum engine paired with a three-speed Torqueflite automatic, with the car now showing just 20,553 miles, believed to be correct.
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona interior
Just where did it spend the last few decades? Mecum says that the first owner of the car was a local Alabama judge who bought the car for his wife, but it was the car’s second owner who is believed to have let it sit around and age in Glenwood, AL, after acquiring it in 1974. The auction description is silent as to just how long the Daytona was kept in a shed — not the barn in which it is photographed for auction purposes — but indicates most of the car is original. Departures from stock condition include speakers that were added at at one point, as well as remnants of flames that were painted on early in its life. The car is said to be a matching-numbers example, retaining its original wing, and was originally optioned with black bucket seats.
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona engine
Mecum estimates this Daytona will bring between $150,000 and $180,000 on auction day. The best examples trade just above $250,000, though it’s obvious that it will take far more than the difference between the high estimate and Condition 1 money to bring this car to that level. Still, for a car just under 400 examples of which are believed to exist — and one of the most recognizable muscle cars out there — the math doesn’t always have to add up, and the story of the discovery will perhaps make up for the not-insignificant restoration costs.
Visit the auction website to view the full list of lots and the schedule for the upcoming auction.