It’s a winged car that flew higher than any before it.
A 1969 Dodge Hemi Daytona was sold at the Mecum Auctions event in Kissimmee, Florida, for a record $1.43 million, beating the $1.3 million mark set last May.
The Charger-based Daytona was built for just one year to homologate its aerodynamic body for NASCAR racing.
The Daytona and its Plymouth Superbird twin sibling are among the most iconic racing cars in history, with their signature nosecones and high rear wings engineered to dominate NASCAR’s high-speed ovals.
They were so good that NASCAR quickly changed the rules to prohibit such extreme designs.
Just 503 Daytonas were built for the street in 1969 and many have been lost to history, as they were initially unpopular among buyers and treated with none of the respect they get today.
Of those only 70 were ordered with Dodge’s legendary 426 cubic-inch Hemi V8 and just 22 matched the motor to a four-speed manual transmission.
The Daytona auctioned by Mecum had both features and was the only one of the 22 painted T5 Copper Metallic with a white wing stripe and a tan interior, making it a truly unique car.
It’s also the lowest-mileage Hemi Daytona with its original engine known to exist and has just 6,490 miles on its odometer.
The car has had a notable list of owners over the years, including the late Los Angeles Times owner Otis Chandler, NFL Hall of Famer Kevin Greene and actor David Spade, whose character drove a beat-up Daytona in his comedy film “Joe Dirt”.
Spade paid $900,000 for the car in 2015, which was an auction record for the model at the time.
It was one of a dozen Daytonas and Superbirds offered at Mecum by its most recent owner, collector Gary Edwards, with the rest selling at prices ranging from $247,500 to $742,500, but it wasn’t the only one that went for $1.43 million.
In a remarkable coincidence, a Daytona NASCAR racing car that was driven by Bobby Allison was offered at Kissimmee by a different consignor and sold for the exact same amount as the street car, which also set a record for the competition version of the car.
Dodge will be bringing back the Daytona name in 2024 on a very different kind of car. The Charger Daytona SRT will be the brand’s first all-electric model and will replace its V8-powered cars, which will be discontinued at the end of 2023.