1969 Dodge Charger Daytona
In the Fast & Furious movies, Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) has had a tempestuous and ongoing relationship with the 1970 Dodge Charger. But in this sixth film, Fast 6, he doesn’t have a ’70 Charger at all. Instead he drives a 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona.
The Daytona was an aerodynamically enhanced version of the Charger built to compete on such high-speed super speedways as Talladega and Daytona. Those enhancements consisted of a longer, sharklike nose, blisters on the top of the front fenders to allow the car to settle down over its tires, a flush-mounted rear window in place of the regular Charger’s tunneled backlight and, of course, the tall rear wing to generate downforce in the clean air up there.
With its extremely long nose and ridiculously high rear wing, an original 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona would be ill suited to cinematic stunt work, and at more than six figures for a good example, way too expensive. So a variation on the Daytona with a shorter nose, a slightly less elevated rear wing, and a set of custom-made 18-inch wheels wearing 275/40R18 and 315/40R18 Nitto tires, was created for the movie. Compared to a production ’69 Daytona, the Toretto Daytona’s nose is almost 12 inches shorter overall and somewhat taller in profile. The movie car’s nose has fixed headlights under Plexiglas covers instead of the original’s pop-up units. The tail wing has been brought down by about 12 inches for a sleeker appearance. The most impressive features on Toretto’s Daytona are its perfect stance, glorious maroon paint and slick details like the shaved rain gutters. For movie cars, these Daytonas are particularly well finished.
To simplify construction of all the film cars, Toretto’s Daytona, like several other vehicles in the film, is powered by GM’s 6.2-liter LS3 V8 rated at 430 horsepower. Behind that on most of the Daytonas is a GM Turbo 400 three-speed automatic transmission. The power finally leads to a Ford 9-inch solid-axle rear end. Different gear ratios were installed in different Daytonas depending upon what each was going to do during filming.
Suspension wise, the front end uses Reilly Motorsports’ “AlterKtion” coil-over system in place of the stock torsion bars, and the tail is held up by Reilly’s “triangulated four-bar” system, which mixes coil springs and five links together. The braking systems use Brembo calipers at all four corners, with a second set of calipers for the rear wheels hooked up to a separate braking circuit so stunt drivers could induce some sideways attitude when it was needed.
Inside, Toretto’s Daytona is pure minimalism. Forget everything Dodge did originally except the door handles; the car is finished in custom-made aluminum panels, a roll cage, AutoMeter gauges, simple switches and a pair of Premier Racing Products low-back seats. And forget the rear seat altogether, as that space has been taken over by a pair of Magnaflow mufflers exiting out each side through holes cut into the quarter panels.