If you grew up in the muscle car era, the Dodge Charger Daytona was the stuff of legend. Built to race in NASCAR, the original Daytona featured an aerodynamic front end and a comically large, “basket handle” rear wing as its most memorable styling traits. Under the hood lurked either a 226 cubic-inch Hemi V-8 or the 440 cubic-inch Magnum V8, and the limited-production cars are among the most sought-after by Mopar collectors.
While the original Daytonas were built only in 1969, Dodge has marketed a few tribute cars over the year, including the utterly forgettable Chrysler Cordoba-based Charger Daytona of 1976 and 1977 that was little more than a trim package. The limited production Chargers of 2006-09 were a step in the right direction, since the cars boasted increased performance to match their appearance upgrades.
For 2013, Dodge is bringing the Charger Daytona back, again as a limited production offering with only 2,500 units planned. Outside, buyers get Satin Black hood stripes, a vinyl roof wrap, a rear deck lid spoiler and 20-inch polished wheels with black-painted pockets. Exterior color choices include Daytona Blue, Bright White, Billet Silver or Pitch Black.
Inside, buyers get sport seats wrapped in either Nappa leather and suede (with the Road & Track package) or cloth (on base models). The black upholstery is offset by Daytona Blue stitching, and the seats sport an embroidered “Daytona” logo, also in blue. Dark brushed aluminum is used for trim, and a Beats audio system is standard issue. Completing the package is a serialized number plate, identifying the car as one of 2,500 built.
To up the performance over a standard Charger R/T, Chrysler has added a 3.06 rear axle ratio, a “high-speed” engine controller, performance-oriented steering, a sport suspension and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters with a sport mode.
Pricing starts at $32,990 for R/T models and jumps to $36,495 for the better-equipped R/T Road & Track models. Look for inventory to hit dealerships in the first quarter of 2013.