Back right around 1969, Chrysler unleashed upon the world what many consider to this day to be the epitome of American muscle. We are referring of course to the Dodge Charger Daytona (and its corporate sibling, the Plymouth Superbird), a car with such advanced aerodynamics that in factory form it could hit 200 mph. It was so fast, that NASCAR had to ban it from competing.
These days, such cars in pristine condition are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to collectors. To serious gearheads though, they are worth even more doing what they were intended to do: race. So it is that we came across this video from the recent Bonneville Speed Week, where a classic 1969 Charger Daytona hit the salt flats in pursuit of high speeds and new records.
Well, the team found both. Led by Lee Sicilio, the #97 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona has been heavily modified well past factory specs as a land speed racer. At the heart of this beast is a 7,000 RPM 498 cubic-inch HEMI engine built by the famed Ray Barton. On the engine dyno, the motor made over 900 wheel horsepower. You can hear its siren song singing on the dyno in the video below.
Even better, we have this on-board video from one of Sicilio’s qualifying runs. Thanks to the awesome “gauges” on the bottom, we can see what kind of punishment the engine endures as it closes in on that magical 300 mph mark. The week ended before the Charger could break the 300 mph mark, but the 277 mph qualifying run is still faster than any other production car on the planet.
Not bad for a 40-year old Mopar, eh?