One of the wildest vehicles to ever come out of Detroit was the Dodge Charger Daytona. With a wedge-shaped nose and a tall, rear-mounted wing, the Dodge Charger Daytona was a very curious looking car. Today, it is still the subject of frequent conversation among car buffs and a common topic involves the height of the rear wing. Enthusiasts have wondered for years why the rear wing was mounted so high on the rear trunk and the conventional answer to that question is “so the trunk can be opened” and “it looked cooler that way.” As The service manager at Stones Town and Country of Rexburg, ID, a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer told us, neither of those assumptions is correct. Before we explore the real reason that the rear wing was mounted so high, let’s take a look at why the Dodge Charger Daytona was made.
Many people don’t know that the Dodge Charger Daytona really existed just to win Nascar races. Back in the 1960s, winning at Nascar was big news that helped sell a lot of cars. Most of the big manufacturers wanted to be involved. However, in order to compete at Nascar, the rules stated that you had to drive a car that was “sold to the general public.” The Dodge Charger Daytona was basically a Dodge Charger that designers added a pointed nose-cone and a rear wing – a very large rear wing – and you could buy it from any Dodge dealer.
If you take a look at a photo of an original Dodge Charger Daytona, you can’t miss the huge wing mounted high off the trunk. Today a popular “fact” is that the rear wing was mounted so high so the trunk could be opened. This concept is even repeated in the Wikipedia article on the Dodge Charger Daytona. However, the designer of the car and its companion car, the Plymouth Superbird, says it had nothing to do with the trunk being able to open! Here’s the story.
The designer of the Dodge Charger Daytona was John Pointer. Pointer was an actual rocket scientist who came over from Chrysler's missile division and was charged with making the 1968 Dodge Charger "go faster." When told he could do anything he wanted, he drew a picture of the Charger and added a nosecone on the front and a giant wing on the trunk. Pointer was also the fellow that made the first prototypes of the wing. This took quite a bit of time not only designing the wing but time at the Chelsea Proving Grounds refining it.
Years later when Pointer was asked why he went with such a tall rear, he said it was simple, “To put it into clean air.” When asked him about the trunk-opening theory, he stated, “Who cared about the trunk? They had asked him to make the car go fast.”
So, the Dodge Charger Daytona wings were not placed absurdly high simply so the trunk would open fully. Although that did help with opening the trunk, it was really was put there to get it into “clean air.”
Image Source: youtube.com