Then Versus Now; Daytona And Hellcat In Wind Tunnel Show Advancement

Back in the late 1960s, Dodge was trying to find new innovative ways to get more speed out of their stock Chargers. They began exploring aerodynamic add ons which led to the Dodge Charger Daytona. With an enormous 18″ pointed nose cone and massive two foot tall spoiler, the new Daytona edition Charger began to dominate in NASCAR circuit the next two seasons. Not only that, the Daytona was the first stock car to break the 200 MPH mark at Talladega in 1970. Obviously the new aero package Dodge created worked, but just how well?


Flash forward to today, and we can put that aero to the test at the Ace Speedlabs wind tunnel. In addition to the Daytona Charger, they also wanted to test a regular 1969 Charger as well as a 2015 Charger Hellcat to look at drag and lift between the cars. The regular Charger is first to be tested. Almost immediately they noticed that the front end of the hood was causing flow separation which caused problematic lift. The A pillars also created issues with airflow, and moving further back to the rear didn’t show any improvements since the flying buttress was also a huge source of drag.


Next up was the Daytona Charger, with the question of how effective the aero actually was. Surprisingly, the Daytona edition showed improvements that attributed to the large success the car had while racing. Although it seems rather larger, the front cone showed a significant reduction in lift which allowed the Dayton to remain stable at speed-which is pretty important when you’re behind the wheel of a car that can hit speeds in excess of 200 MPH. Moving to the back, Dodge designers made the rear window flush with the flying buttress so airflow wasn’t disturbed. When talking about the back end of this Daytona Charger, we can’t forget the rear wing. You might miss it since it’s only two feet tall (haha) but that wing improved stability by 20 percent. These aero tweaks allowed the Daytona Charger to achieve higher speeds, and be more stable while doing so. Not too shabby for 1969.


Last of course was the Charger Hellcat, which is pointed out to look like a family sedan, because it IS a family sedan. A rather quick one. However, the Hellcat doesn’t have a giant wing, or huge pointy nose, so how does it stack up? Very, very well. With stringent fuel economy standards and much better handling required, the new Hellcat is leaps and bounds better than its predecessors. Immediate and effective changes were noted during wind tunnel testing that showed lift is largely decreased, while downforce is higher overall. With a better understanding of aerodynamics, air flow for the Hellcat can be subtle and effective. Because the shape and direction of the rear window, Dodge only requires a simple lip spoiler on the trunk that still creates effective downforce that enables higher speeds, and more stability while doing so. Looks like we’ve come a long way with the development of the Charger and aerodynamics to make us faster and more stable, keep us safer, and provide better mpg.


About the author

Charles Pages

With an ever growing passion for cars, trucks and things that go fast, Charles is always seeking new information and ways to increase vehicle performance and handling. With experience among diverse vehicles, Charles gives an enthusiastic "YES" to anything performance.
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