Automotive legend is ripe with tales of relentless car collectors stumbling upon real life treasures in the form of neglected, hidden classics rotting away in America’s many barns and fields. Though it once seemed like you couldn’t open a barn without finding a car, high value discoveries are increasingly rare as these cars are either recovered, or found to be too-far-gone to save.
But if you look hard enough, there’s still plenty of cool cars to be found, like this 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona heading to Mecum’s Kissimmee, Florida auction next month. Pulled out of an Alabama barn in the condition you see here, this rare Mopar is still expected to fetch $180,000 when it is pushed across the auction block, and it’s not even a Hemi.
It is, however, one of just 503 440 Magnum Daytonas ever produced, and wears the illustrious NASCAR aerobody that allowed Mopar to dominate the race track for a couple seasons. Purchased new by a local judge for his wife, it was recently discovered and bought from its second owner in rural Alabama. The car is original in many regards, including the hard-to-find rear wing and nose cone. It even still wears its Charger Red original paint, though at some point scallop-edge door paint and flames were added.
Just as amazing is the fact that this Dodge Daytona has only 20,553 miles on the odometer, along with the original TorqueFlite three-speed automatic and 8 ¾ rear differential. It even has headrest-equipped bucket seats and a chrome floor shift from the factory, both hard-to-come-by options in this rare breed. The interior has been “stabilized”, but like the rest of the car has been otherwise unrestored. It’s the perfect restoration candidate, even at $180,000, for a diehard Mopar enthusiast. But what if this car was preserved as-is, more a show piece than a viable vehicle anymore?
It might seem ostentatious to make such a rare vehicle a mere art display, yet rat rods and patina paint jobs are in vogue right now. Why not preserve this rare piece of Americana, as a reminder of a time when treasures of the vehicular kind seemed to hide behind every barn door and overgrown bush.