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Redusernab Fastback Friday – Are 1969 Dodge Charger Daytonas Worth the Money?

Jim Brennan August 12, 2011 For Sale, Redusernab Fastback Friday 41 Comments

Welcome to Redusernab Fastback Friday, and I have wanted to post this question for some time. I know the original Charger Daytona is a historic car, and it marked the absolute peak of the Muscle Car Era here in the US, but are they really worth the money they seem to be getting on the market? With prices that was once reserved for recognized classics like Duesenberg SJs, Auburn Boat Tail Speedsters, and the Cord 812, the Dodge Daytonas is destined to become museum pieces which is really no place for a certified Muscle Car.


I am going to highlight a few Charger Daytonas that seem to take up permanent residence within the pages of Autotrader Classics month after month, Like this one. It is a Daytona “Tribute” car, meaning that it isn’t an actual Daytona in the first place. It is a restored California Charger, with A/C, a 440 CID V-8, a 727 Torqueflite Automatic, and everything has been redone in the interior. This car has an asking price of $79,900, which is really a bargain when you start looking at what real Daytonas are going for. and be prepared to reed it in code….

This is a 1969 Daytona in Hemi Orange Poly, and the dealer stresses the fact that this car will be the Crown Jewel of any collection. It has the 440 CID V-8, Automatic, but unlike the above car, no A/C. It is almost like a Showdog with papers… Great to look at, wonderful at shows, but you really can’t play with it because it might get dirty or damaged. The asking price for this particular Daytona is $179,900, which is still a lot less than others I have seen.

Here is a Green 1969 Daytona that has the distinction of having a 4-speed manual with the 440 CID V-8. It has been restored, and it has the Galen Govier validation report, which seems to be the gold standard for Mopar enthusiasts. This Daytona also looks a little different, with the dog dish hubcaps instead of the Magnum 500 wheels. Asking price for the Kermit of Daytonas? Try $219,000!

Now we are entering rarefied territory with the next four Daytonas that reach or exceed a Half Million Dollar asking price, and three of them are residing at one dealer. This one is the lowest mileage non restored Daytona on the planet, with only 6,800 miles on the odometer. It has the 440 CID V-8, and 727 Automatic, and the Magnum 500s, so it looks great. At $495,000, this car is destined to be nothing but a museum piece though, and that is a real shame.

How about owning the very first 1969 Dodge Daytona ever produced? Well, the dealer that represents this car states that this is it, and it is equipped with the 440 CID V-8 and a factory 4-speed stick. The white interior is just the icing on the cake of this piece of history (Remember White Interiors?) and it shows 42,000 miles. This is a nut and bolt restoration, but at $495,000, is it really worth the asking price?

This Daytona has been verified as being the Daytona equipped with the most factory options ever. This car is equipped with the 426 CID, 425HP Hemi, and the factory 4-speed stick. The options on this car include not only the Hemi and 4-speed, but Power Windows, Power Disc Brakes, Power Steering, 6-Way Seats, Tinted Windows, Super Trac-Pac 4:10 Dana Rear End, Console, Tic-Toc Tachometer, Light Package, AM Radio With Stereo 8 Track Tape Player, 3 Speed Wipers With Electric Washers, Dual Horns, Locking Gas Cap, Wood Grain Steering Wheel, and more. The White Vinyl Top was installed at the dealer who sold it new, and has been restored with a new top. Too bad the wheels don’t look stock, and at $595,000 they should be.

Our last Daytona is an actual Hemi Orange, Hemi equipped Daytona. Yes this is the Holy Grail of Musclecars, with only 32,000 miles on it, and it has the original build sheet, original body panels, but wait a minute…. the transmission has been replaced. And there is no information as to whether its a Manual or the 727 Torqueflite. Yes its beautiful, and rare, but at $599,000 I think I’ll pass on this one.

So, now I pose this question to you… Are any of these Charger Daytonas really worth the asking prices, and what good are they if they are really meant to be nothing but display pieces at the Mopar Shrine of Muscle Cars? Let me know…

  • MrHowser

    Are they awesome? Yes.

    Do I want one in my cost-no-object fantasy garage? Absolutely.

    Would I spend a quarter-mil or more of my hard-earned dollars on one? Not a chance.

    You can have too much fun for way less money. I think these are interesting, and historically significant, but they're destined to be rich-boy toys and museum pieces from now on.

    • dmilligan

      Affirmative. It's sad that they won't be driven anymore, especially out where we could see them, but jeebus-H-fooking-kriest they want a lot of money for them.

  • "Kermit the Daytona" = awesome.

    Not Awesome? Paying over half a million dollars for a muscle car.

  • There was a yellow '70 Plymouth Superbird at our car show last Saturday. Every time I see one in person I think they look a bit more homely and awkward than they do in photos. As soon as we got a few sprinkles of rain, he left early and sprinted home.

    • tonyola

      Plymouth had a terrible time selling the 1,920 or so Superbirds that were built. Some were converted into milder-looking RoadRunners while others sat on dealer lots for up to a couple of years. They seemed to be a little too much even for 1970.

      • It is impressive (?) that these cars went from dud's on the lots to superstars at auctions. What would today's equivalent be? SRT6 Crossfire?

  • pj134

    If I won the super mega ultra lottery this would be purchase number one, followed by building a house on a large lot of land with a super secret underground lair! And by that I mean a cool garage. I would daily drive it. The car, not the house.

  • Yowza! Spendy Chargers are spendy.

    These are all destined to sit in a museum, or some dudes living room, and never, ever driven. Sad indeed.

    Now this is a Daytona we hoons can actually afford:

    <img src="; width=550>

    Only $1800 with 134k miles. Also, someone keyed the word "Bitch" on the driver side fender. Smoking deal. <a href="” target=”_blank”>

  • tonyola

    It all depends – for us mere mortals, $599,000 for a Daytona is ridiculous. However, for some filthy rich guy haunting auctions it might not be. If the car sells, it's not really overpriced.

  • Feds_II

    Hmm, Charger Daytona or:

    An Elise for nice days
    An Ariel Atom for track days
    A fast boat to run across the lakes for weekends
    An Enclosed trailer to haul the cars in
    A truck to pull the trailer and the boat
    A Grand Cherokee for winter days
    AND a garage to park them all

    Not much of a choice, really.

  • scroggzilla

    <img src=";

    I suppose $599K for a muscle car might be ok if you're Count Homer, but for a working stiff like me that's a Mercedes Benz 300 SEL 6.3, a Maserati Mexico, and a house with a 2 car garage.

  • Maymar

    Looking on Ebay, the most expensive Jensen Interceptor (with 440 power!) is $35,000. I'm not sure I want to pay ten times that (even double is difficult) because a bunch of middle-aged guys with too much money lusted after the wrong cars.

    By which I mean, yes, Charger Daytonas are absolutely worth the money. Pay no attention to all those European cars with big American engines.

  • nofrillls

    probably not, but if you are collecting every outrageous, ubiquitous car in American history, it's probably a must.

    <img src="; />

  • OA5599

    I can envision that some Daytona might be worth nearly $600K. Such a car, unless it has racing history, is going to be 100% factory original, or perhaps a restoration using only date-coded NOS parts.

    A car with a missing fender tag, wrong-era wheels and tires, a present-day battery and a "reinstalled" dealer-installed vinyl top on a model that never came with one is NOT a $600K car.

    <img src="http://redusernab.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/0_692.jpg"&gt;

  • alcology

    Lowest miles, most options, yeah yeah yeah. Which one is the ugliest one though? I'm having a hard time guessing.

    How come the highest mileage still driving survivor is not worth as much as the lowest miles car?

  • I've always lusted after these cars, but I agree, the prices are just plain ridiculous.

  • IronBallsMcG

    Long ago on &lt;redacted&gt; there was a post that comprised mainly of someone whining about the price of muscle cars and how young broke types couldn't get into the hobby.
    Of course this post isn't "Dear Diary, The mean old white guys won't play nice with me" like I felt that one was. I answered with what was, I'm sure, an eloquent comment pointing out that the market is what it is and that value is what something sells at, no more no less. In fact I believe I used the Hemi 'Cuda and the Westy Syncro as examples of markets that I don't understand.
    Take my word for it, for one brief, shining, moment I was the Shakespeare of the Shaker Scoop.
    I guess my answer is that each one only has to be worth it for one buyer, but I am no way in hell that person. Nor will I ever be.

    • Alff

      I remember that conversation well. That fellow's perspective was way out of whack.

      • IronBallsMcG

        I greatly prefer the tone here.

    • OA5599

      +1 for "Shakespeare of the Shaker Scoop."

    • Ugh…I remember that. My response on that one was definitely the reddit "seriously?!" face.
      <img src="; width=200>

      There was some whiny kid who clearly got his automotive world view from too much watching of Speed and various Discovery/TLC build-em shows, and not enough LeMons, craigslist, hooniverse (not sure if it existed then) or other greasy nails, busted knuckles perspectives. It was basically like "whaaa…a near-perfect muscle car is too expensive for a young guy to buy"

      …well, duh. So buy a cheap one.

      • MrHowser

        For anyone who cares to read the original article for perspective, here it is. Please, keep your Banhammers in their holsters.

        For reference, Redusernab was about a month away from celebrating its first birthday when that article was published. Obvious he hadn't been hanging out over here.

  • Jim-Bob

    As an item is worth what a seller will pay it for and a buyer will pay then yes, they are worth it. However, I would never pay that kind of money for something with road manners that are as ill tempered as a 1960's musclecar. Then again I wouldn't pay that kind of money for ANY car. There are plenty of interesting cars in the world that do not command these prices but do the same thing: provide transportation. One that comes to mind is the AMC Pacer. A few of them were modified when new by Randall Motors by swapping in a 360 or 401. Yet today they do not command the prices of Mopar wing cars. Why? They are both quirky cars that go well in a straight line and received derision for their unusual looks when new. The reason is that life is a popularity contest and so people pay more for things that other people like more. That is the only reason why these cars have value then. For me, popularity is a good reason not to own something and thus I would not own one.

    • scroggzilla

      There is one important difference between a Randall Pacer and a Charger Daytona. And that difference is homolagation.
      ; width="500" height="373" alt="70 nascar pete hamilton plymouth superbird">

      • BGW

        I greatly approve of your choice to go with the less-obvious Pete Hamilton model.

  • MrHowser

    Not that you'd actually drive your half-million dollar investment like this, but….[youtube 9nAx2jtr3K8 youtube]

  • I love these things to death, but for prices like that I'd just as soon build a replica. Besides, modifying an original one would be blasphemous, and I really liked Project Angrier from Bull Run a few years back, so I just couldn't leave it be.

    On the budget I have, though, I'd probably be better off buying a clapped-out old Supra and building the "Wangan-sen Supra Cyberbird" LeMons car I keep mulling over.

  • dave

    I had a buddy that had a 440 six pack Super Bird that had been rotting in his pasture for 30 years or so. Weeds growing up through the floor board, rusted holes big enough to stick your head in, etc. Someone had driven by and stole the six pack manifold off it some years back before he moved it out of sight. Finally sold it to some guy from Missouri for $60k. I couldn't believe it but it's worth that to somebody. Probably took them at least another $100k to restore.

    • MrHowser

      Winner… That's the way to sell a car.

      A friend of my dad's bought an MG when they were in the Navy together. It ran well, but the paint was cracking and not in great shape. He took it to a body shop recommended by my grandfather, who seems to know everyone in the town they live in. The body shop guy told him "It'll cost you $4000 (or the 1980's equivalent) for a great paint job, and the car isn't worth that. Why not just drive it until someone wants it more than you, and sell it for what you have into it?" He did, and eventually got out of the car with a tidy little profit.

  • BlackIce_GTS

    Well, they're worth whatever someone is willing to pay for them. But as you say they've been sitting for several months, the answer so far is 'no'.
    Related:
    ;

  • Canepa has one for sale for: "Please call for price".

  • As I see it, these prices are sky high but all of the aging boomers who lust after the cars of their youth are soon to be gone from this world and those of us who didn't experience these muscle cars in our youth have no interest in acquiring them, espcially at a half a million bucks or more. Similar to the "open fender" cars (Model A's and the like) that my dad lusted after, the prices were slightly spiked during his later years as that generation was able to purchase the desirable cars of their youth. Once the early boomers have gone, the prices on muscle cars will adjust themselves downward as the market dries up. IMHO. And my almost as rare eight hundred dollar Comanche looks pretty good from my vantage point.

  • RahRahRecords

    I've never been a fan of the wing cars. They just look silly to me. The regular Charger looks much better IMO. That said, there was one I saw in Hemmings Muscle Machines a couple of years ago called Mr. Angry that changed my mind.

    • UDman

      Ah yes, Mike Musto's Daytona Replica. It is a cool car, but its still a replica.

  • RahRahRecords

    Replica or not it's the best looking Daytona I've seen. I'm guessing it would outperform a gennie Daytona in any test.

  • thomasmac

  • scroggzilla

    From the subdriven forum, Patrick Bedard's December 1988 C&D article on the Charger Daytona

    • Dutch

      Thanks for posting that article. I really enjoyed reading it.

  • Maritimercj

    Crazy story about these my mom lived in allagan Michigan back in the 70's and her boyfriend at the time had one and would drag race it at merit speed way, and she would run it on the days where they had the drags for your girl friend. ANYWAYS SHE SAID THAT EVERYONE HATED THAT CAR, bet they wouldnt now tho.

  • Mr.Smee

    I am just the right age to be out of phase with the whole collectable car thing. When I was 20-25 they were giving these things away, but there was zero parts support, so, I never bought one as much as I wanted to. Now, you can build one from the ground up, but the prices are insane. Ten years ago, I sold my restored, loaded 1978 Malibu with 350, 4-speed, F-41 suspension for $1K. Now, rusted V6 hulks are going for that.
    So, I bailed on the whole collectable car thing and bought a Lexus.

  • Connah Brown

    Quite honestly, I would have thought that the Charger Daytonas would be worth more than they are here. I would have expected to pay easily over $1 million for them. For a car as rare and beautiful as that, you can’t really put an accurate price tag on them.

    These cars are honestly priceless, and if I could afford it, I would buy one in a heartbeat, regardless of price

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