The ’70 Superbird was cool, but Charlie knew the Dayton, with only 503 ever built, was the real news. The story was just getting started. Says Charlie, “The Daytona he told me about was a two-owner car, so after I looked at the Chevelle I took a drive over to see the Daytona. After knocking on the door of the man’s house, he agreed to show it to me. It was an unmolested car sitting in a shed with two owners and 20,000 miles on it. Of course, it was a barn find, it’s weathered, with surface rust. At one point in its life, he let his pet sleep in the driver’s seat, so it’s a little tore up, but it’s all complete, all number’s matching, even down to the hose clamps on the radiator hoses.”
The visit went well, but Charlie could tell the owner was still pretty attached to the car, and he didn’t want to push his luck. “He wouldn’t sell it, and he told me the car has never been for sale,” says Charlie. “We were there an hour or two, and at some point in the conversation he admitted that he’d probably never get around to restoring it. At that time I told him if he was ever interested in selling it at all, I’d be interested in buying it, and left it at that.”
Charlie and his sons thanked the Daytona owner and bid farewell, but not until Charlie made note of the man’s contact information. This would be a lead he’d have to follow up on. If nothing else, he had made a new friend who owned a Daytona—the next best thing to actually owning one. Charlie told us: “As time went by, I continually texted him, keeping my name in the hat, letting him know I was interested in buying it. It was a process of a few months, and I would text him every week or so. Then out of the blue, he texted me one day. He told me if he was going to advertise it for sale he would ask a certain amount of money, and if I wanted it, I could have it for that price. I immediately told him I’d take it. Last Saturday, we went up there and spent the day airing up the tires, freeing up the brakes, and pulling it out of the barn.”
What you see here are pictures of that visit to Glenwood, AL, a small outlying town near Montgomery. We’re keeping the transaction price and the seller’s name confidential, but we’ll tell you some of the background information on this particular Daytona, which is pretty interesting. We know that relatively few Daytonas were built with bucket seats, automatic transmission, and a console, and this is one of them. It’s also a four-barrel 440 car with original Charger Red paint. The original owner was the town judge, and bought it for his wife to drive. In 1974, that owner went back to the dealership he bought it at, and had them sell it for him. (We’ve included a picture in the gallery of the storefront that used to be this Dodge dealership.) The second owner—then just 18—bought it for $1,800. His family was in the timber business, but he was destined for medical school to become an anesthesiologist. The memorable thing here was that he wanted this wild-looking Daytona to drive down to Spring Break in Panama City, so he had a local painter lay on those outrageous flames that are still on the nose cone to this day.
Charlie bought it from this gentleman who has had it ever since 1974, and who says has kept it running until about four years ago. “Based on the conversation that we had,” says Charlie, “that consisted of starting it up and moving it around the yard.” What eventually took the car out of service was a small accident where a car backed into the nose, crunching it in slightly.
Right now, Charlie is just amazed that he even owns the car, which he jokes that he bought for a shoebox full of folding money. “Pinch me, I can’t believe it,” Charlie told us. “This is the first and only Daytona I’ve ever seen out in public and not in a museum. It’s the first time I’ve been able to purchase one.” He hasn’t decided whether he’s going to restore it back to new, or simple get it running and driving in its current condition (we dig the moss growing on the rear wing!), but he is over the moon about his latest find. We’ll be following this closely in the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned!