Country Singer Marty Robbins’ NASCAR Dodge Charger Heads to Auction

Mecum Auctions is preparing to offer a very unique Dodge Charger from NASCAR at its event in Orlando. In addition to bearing the infamous Daytona bodywork that was banned by NASCAR for making the cars too fast, this one was driven by singer, songwriter, and actor Marty Robbins.

Who was Marty Robbins?

Marty Robbins drives a Dodge Charger to an eighth place finish at the 1972 Miller 500.
Marty Robbins competing at the NASCAR Miller 500 in 1972 | Gerry Stiles of The Enthusiast Network via Getty Images

Marty Robbins rose from childhood poverty in Arizona to become a star of country music and western movies in the 1950s and 1960s. According to his bio from the Country Music Hall of Fame, he won a Grammy award in 1961 for the iconic western ballad, “El Paso.” Robbins wrote the song himself and recorded it on the 1959 album, Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs. Over the years the multi-talented entertainer also appeared in several films, including the 1967 racing movie, Hell on Wheels.

Robbins did not compete full-time in NASCAR, but his racing career was fairly long. He began with micro midgets in the 1950s and reached the NASCAR Grand National series by 1966. Robbins suffered a heart attack in 1968 that sidelined him from competition until 1970. He bought a Dodge Charger 500 from fellow driver James Hylton and had it converted to a Daytona. After gaining clearance to race again, Marty Robbins returned to the driver’s seat. His first and only event in that car was the National 500 on October 11th, 1970.

What happened during the race?

A Dodge Daytona leads the field during a NASCAR Grand National race in 1970
A Dodge Daytona leads the field during a NASCAR Grand National race in 1970 | ISC Archives/CQ-Roll Call Group via Getty Images

Unfortunately, the Charger’s 426 Hemi engine suffered from mechanical problems and lasted only 105 laps retiring from the race. Afterward, Bobby and Eddie Allison removed the Daytona bodywork to campaign the car under revised aerodynamic rules in 1971. Neil Bonnett also drove it until a fiery crash in 1973, after which the vehicle disappeared until 2005.

Restored and up for sale at Mecum

Ray Evernham’s Big Iron Garage in North Carolina performed a full rotisserie restoration, returning the Charger to the configuration raced at the 1970 National 500. Pictures and full details are available from the Mecum Auctions listing. The Mecum Orlando 2021 auction begins on Wednesday, July 28th. At the time of this writing, Marty Robbins’ Daytona is scheduled to cross the block on Saturday, July 31st.

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