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Does the 2020 Dodge Charger Daytona Live up To Its Classic Namesake?

The Hellcat Redeye model isn’t the only special Dodge Charger available right now. In honor of the original Charger Daytona’s 50th anniversary, Dodge launched a limited-edition modern homage. But just because the name’s the same—or at least similar—doesn’t mean the new model drives like the classic one. So, how does the 2020 Dodge Charger Daytona compare to its forebear?

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona vs. 2020 Dodge Charger Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition: big wing vs. big power

The side view of a blue-and-white 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition
2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition side | FCA

Regarding the name, the modern car’s full name is technically ‘2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition,’ Motor1 reports. But for the sake of brevity, we’ll just stick to ‘Dodge Charger Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition.’

As its full name implies, the 2020 Dodge Charger Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition has the Hellcat engine. Only here, the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 makes 717 hp, up from 707 hp; torque remains unchanged at 650 lb-ft. That’s sent to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic.

Like every Hellcat-equipped Charger, it’s a Widebody model, meaning wider tires, fender flares, stiffer springs, and thicker anti-roll bars, Car and Driver reports. And for the Daytona model, Dodge also retuned the adaptive suspension, Automobile reports.

A bronze 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona | FCA

In-period, the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona was also available with a V8—two of them, in fact. The standard engine was a 375-hp 7.2-liter V8, and a 425-hp 7.0-liter V8 was optional, MotorTrend reports. And while there was an automatic available, the original Charger Daytona could be had with a 4-speed manual instead.

But the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona’s party piece isn’t its engine, but rather its rear wing and nose cone. They significantly improved the muscle car’s aerodynamics over the standard version, The Drive reports. The difference was so significant that the Charger Daytona, as well as its corporate cousin, the Plymouth Superbird, was banned from NASCAR.

And the Dodge car was actually faster than the Plymouth one. That’s because of its functional fender-mounted air extractors, which were technically illegal under NASCAR’s rules, Road & Track reports.

What’s it like driving the 2020 Dodge Charger Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition compared to the 1969 model?

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Interestingly, the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona actually has a higher top speed than the 2020 model, MT reports. The 50th Anniversary Edition tops out at 196 mph, while the classic model qualified in-period at 199 mph, R&T reports. And on Chrysler’s test track, the original easily breached the 200-mph barrier.

However, in terms of acceleration, the 2020 Dodge Charger Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition eclipses its ancestor. The original went 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds, R&T reports. Meanwhile, the 2020 car goes 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, Automobile reports. And instead of the original car’s drum brakes, the modern car has 4-wheel Brembo discs.

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Naturally, the 2020 Charger Daytona has more amenities than the classic car and better overall quality. It comes standard with navigation, performance apps, traction control, and heated seats. Plus, heated door mirrors and blind-spot monitoring, MT reports. As a result, it’s a more comfortable place to sit. And it undoubtedly handles better, too.

No, the Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition doesn’t have the same racing heritage as the original 1969 car. And in terms of spectacle, the classic car’s big wing arguably draws more people. But as a way of bringing performance to the masses, it’s a fitting successor.

They’re equally rare experiences

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Though admittedly, ‘masses’ may be a slight stretch.

There’s a slight discrepancy in 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona production figures. Some sources claim Dodge made 503 examples, while others say 501. The automaker itself quotes the latter, which is why it’s only making 501 2020 Daytona 50th Anniversary Editions, Hagerty reports. And some sellers are already jacking up prices.

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Officially, the 2020 Dodge Charger Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition starts at just over $74k, Automobile reports. However, one dealer marked its car up to $114,000. In contrast, a rusty barn-find 1969 model went for $90,000 at a 2016 Mecum auction, R&T reports. And in 2017, an original Superbird sold for $154,000 at a Bonhams auction.

Luckily, if you can’t get your hands on either car, there’s always the 797-hp Redeye.

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