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The Dodge Charger Daytona produced a shock and awe moment when it first hit the streets back in the summer of ’69.


The only bigger news that summer was the first moon landing and a little musical get-together called Woodstock.


A 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona still produces shock and awe moments in the 21st century and we were lucky enough to find the real deal at a summer car show.


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Steve Harris is the proud owner of this Hemi-powered beast and his Daytona has an amazing back story.


The car was originally purchased by a young guy who worked in the oil patch and paid 7200 bucks of what Steve called rig money to buy this monster. The original owner had a few young buddies in the car when he rolled it at 100 mph in 1970.


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The people in the Daytona were not injured, but the car was wiped out in the crash. It was deemed a write-off and eventually the power train was sold to another guy.


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The story may have been yet another boy-meets-muscle-car-boy-destroys-muscle car story if Steve had not discovered the car.


Steve wanted to restore the car to its original condition before it launched into a low orbit with an overconfident and under-skilled young driver behind the wheel back in ’70.


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People were skeptical about Steve’s game plan, including a tow truck driver who bet him a bottle of booze that he would be unable to put this Humpty Dumpty Hemi back together in one piece.


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Steve bought the Daytona’s original Hemi back from the other guy and a long restoration process began for the car and its new owner. Eventually Steve hit the finish line after 2000 hours of work on the car.


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The car needed a new roof and firewall, among other cosmetic necessities, to get back to the way it looked when it left the dealership.


Steve’s main goal was originality, so he even retained the stock exhaust and manifold configuration on the Daytona.


The car is a four-speed, dual four barrel fire-breathing Hemi and Steve is the kind of guy who loves to drive his rides. He has even found the car to be somewhat economical on gas when he keeps his foot out of the dual quads on the highway.


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Steve also took the time to take the previous owner for a ride in the Daytona after the restoration, a moment Steve described as a big thrill for the man.


Steve had accomplished the impossible when he tackled this project and the former owner shared in the moment. However, Steve still has not collected on the bet with the skeptical tow truck driver.


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We got the impression that Steve is a serious Mopar guy when he told us one of his daughters is named Daytona while another one is named Christine after the famous 1958 Plymouth Fury movie car.


Steve gets asked one question more than any other about his rare Hemi Daytona; “Is that real?”


Indeed it is, after 2000 hours of painstaking restoration.


Jim Sutherland

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