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The Dodge Charger Daytona 392: A perfectly simple, silly machine

How can you not love this simple, silly machine? It’s a pretty basic recipe, but one that I truly enjoy. Take a large V8 engine and have it send power to the rear. Add in room for friends, tremendous noise, comfortable seats, and you have a modern muscle car. That is the Dodge Charger Daytona 392.

Paying homage to the Daytona name, you’ll find a rear decal that harkens back to the old big wing cars. It’s smartly done and the design evokes thoughts of that tall spoiler in silhouette fashion.

Under the hood sits a 392 cubic-inch V8 engine. Here it cranks out 485 horsepower and supplies that out to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

If you can’t swing the extra dough required to bring home a Hellcat, then this 6.4-liter equipped beastie is a brilliant alternative. You won’t save any money on tires though… because you’ll be burning through them just like you would in the more powerful Hellcat.

The Dodge Charger Daytona 392 is James Hetfield, the Car.

[Disclaimer: Dodge tossed us the keys to the Daytona 392 and included a tank of fuel. ]

  • memikeyounot

    So out of my price and life range, as it were. But I just can’t imagine spending $40K or minus and buying that car in Honda Accord/Toyota Camry/Chevy Malibu METALLIC GREY. Such an overused color from every manufacturer in the market. I work part time at a local parking garage where lots of customers fly in to our airport and get a rental. There are lots of high end rentals since the hotel is kind of high end, you know they can afford it. There were 2 Porsche Cayenne’s last weekend, both in this hideous gray color. (I know they’re rentals due to the small UPC Code on the rear side window.. STOP THE GRAY METALLIC, please. Now I’m done 🙂

    • GTXcellent

      Here here!

      We were leaving from my youngest’s T-Ball game and I had to stop and actually laugh – of the 30 or so vehicles in the parking lot, our blue Jeep was the ONLY one that was actually a color. Every other pickup and SUV (’cause no-one drives cars anymore) was either black, white, or a various silver/grey/gray.

      • memikeyounot

        Silver, white and black are all about as bad as gray. I spent a Saturday not long ago with my adult daughter, and she was driving. We an hour into the day, she asked me if I always bitched and moaned (her words, not mine) about the color of cars. I said, YES. I do. For a while at the hotel parking, I took pictures of all the gray cars that came in the lot. After about 5 or 6, 5 hour shifts, I saw that I had 33 gray cars alone. I decided nobody cares except me.

        For some reason, this picture didn’t get deleted. So typical.

  • Harry Callahan

    I credit FCA for riding this muscle car thing for as long, and as well, as they have. This platform long ago amortized its development costs, as has the powertrain. The late Sergio created a real gravy train here–take a basic, yet very desirable car, add horsepower and some sinister design cues…and voila!

    I would REALLY enjoy driving one of these…for a day or so. Then, my thrifty, rational brain would kick in…and I would return to my slow 4-cylinder, practical family sedan. For some reason, I just can’t justify a flashy, expensive 15mpg car when the paid-for 35mpg car in my garage can get me where I am going just as safely and comfortably.

    -A short time ago, I actually went to CarMax, and traded ( cash!) the sedan for a late model Mustang GT Convert with a manual trans. 36 hours later I felt a fool, and took CarMax up on their 7 day warranty…got my sedan back.

    • Zentropy

      I agree with you. This type of car would be amazingly fun on occasion, but it’s honestly too much for daily driving. I like the ability to wring-out a car to 8/10ths on the way to the grocery store. I can’t do that in a 400+ hp muscle car without risking a ticket. But a nondescript four-banger sedan with a manual transmission (and a few engine/suspension tweaks) can be fun every day.

      • Harry Callahan

        Yes, we are brothers. My daily is a 2015 Mazda6 with manual. Its a great fit for my 52 mile daily commute lifestyle.

  • Zentropy

    The F8 green is a seriously sweet color, and I’d delete every inch of optional vinyl. If they would offer a damned manual transmission in the Charger, I might be tempted. I don’t understand why they don’t, as it’s bound to be a near bolt-on swap with the Challenger.

    • ptschett

      My theory:
      1) I doubt FCA ever recovers the expense of developing & certifying a manual Charger, especially at this late point in the product lifecycle
      2) the automatic is sufficiently superior to the manual that it further hurts the business case in point 1. I had a manual 2010 Challenger R/T; I knew its replacement was going to be a 2015 5.7 Hemi/8-speed Lx car before I decided if it was going to be a Charger or a Challenger, because the manual was never very great. The clutch engagement point was intolerably variable in its position above the floor and the synchros were grumpy about doing their jobs if they were cold soaked to temperatures that are normal for 1/4-1/2 the year here.

      • Zentropy

        Development would cost practically nothing, considering very few tweaks would be needed to transplant it from the Challenger, though I agree that the certification costs probably aren’t worth it. I think even crash tests are required for a different transmission.
        As for the performance, I’d take a stubborn, heavy-clutched manual over the best automatic, any day.

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