In the late 1960s, Dodge wanted to go fast and win races. Its Charger 500 wasn’t cutting it in the NASCAR field, though, so the automaker needed to make a change. You might think some light body changes would do the trick, but you’d be wrong. To turn the Charger into a slippery 200-mph machine, some iconic changes would need to come to fruition. Enter the Charger Daytona. Packing a massive nosecone and a skyscraper-grade rear wing, Dodge had a winning formula on its hands.
How much of an aerodynamic edge does all of that bodywork provide over the standard car? A bunch actually, and you can see just how much with some access to a wind tunnel. YouTube channel TheVideoChef managed to cook up such a setup, and brought both the original standard Charger and a Daytona to the Ace Speedlabs wind tunnel at the University of Ontario to put the cars to the test. Additionally, they brought a Charger Hellcat along for the ride so we can see how the Daytona stacks up against its modern sibling.
As you might imagine, the Daytona has less drag, less front end lift, and more downforce than the regular Charger. That bit is certainly not surprising, and it helps make sense of the 200-mph run that Dodge was able to lay down with its Daytona back in the day. What’s more interesting is just how closely the modern Hellcat falls in step with the classically cool Daytona. There’s no need for that massive clean-air seeking wing on the Hellcat. Instead, it makes use of a smaller rear spoiler to achieve similar downforce results.
Aerodynamics have come a long way in the last 47 years.