I was introduced to Mopars by my dad after a "falling out" with the local Ford dealer, (he was a "Ford man" for a lot of years). This first  Mopar was a triple blue 1967 GTX with a 383 and a 4-speed. The car that really started it all was his second  Mopar, a 1970 Charger R/T 440 automatic car. It was bought from John P. Hughes Motor Co. in Lynchburg, VA., the oldest continually-operating Dodge dealer in the country, since 1917. I still have this car; I guess it is what's called a survivor, as it is still original except for a repaint and front seat covers. The car has 96,000 miles on it.

The most impressive first memories of this car was our first trip in it. We got the car in August of 1970, and went vacationing to Talladega for the Nextel Cup (then "Grand National") race. I think the Daytona is what prompted the old man to get a Charger. Anyway, it was about 1:00 in the a.m. on the way to Talladega, just south of Charlotte on I-85, peering around from the back seat I saw 140+ on the speedometer. This cost the old man the front left windshield trim molding, as it blew off the car somewhere along the line. In response to my mother's question, "What did you think you were doing?", he said, "I didn't think this thing would do 150."

With my dad working in a foundry, the Charger became my mother's main ride during the week back and forth to work. And then there came my driver's license. Dad bought a 1969 318 automatic Satellite, and in theory, I became the main driver of the Charger. In reality, he drove it to work and I got to drive the Charger to school sometimes, and on weekends. Naturally, after the Charger, the 318 Satellite just did not get it, so a 340 top end found its way onto the 318 and a change of gears.

This culminated when I caught the old man racing the Satellite against a kid my age in a Camaro on his way to work on a Saturday night while I had the date in the Charger. In a passing conversation a few days later, I asked how he liked the Satellite's running now. He said, "Okay." I told him it looked good enough to outrun a 1968 Camaro. This little incident helped me out immensely when I got into problems with vicious application of the right foot!

At this point, another Mopar made the scene--a 1971 318 automatic Charger 500, which had a dash fire that blew out the windshield. He decided we would put this thing together as a "father and son project". Yup, dad was a car nut too. This took a turn when the old man saw some parts and realized that not only was the '71 500 running, but there was enough stuff accumulating to put a 440+6 4-speed in it. He asked just what I intended to do with this, and I said, "You've got to ask?" He then told me if I would get rid of the '71 500, he would sell me the 1970 R/T.

So in 1978, I became the owner. The 1970 Charger remained on the road until my first year of college. Dad passed away in 1979, and I took it off of the road early in 1980 so I wouldn't wear it out or have something happen to it. I already realized that there were not a lot of them left.

The replacement was a 1970 Barracuda, factory 383 4-speed car. And in short order, the 440+6 stuff that was for the '71 Charger found it's way into the Barracuda. The Barracuda got sold when the reality of finances entered into the picture with school. It was either the 'Cuda or the Charger. This was a "no brainer". By the way, the last known destination of the Barracuda was Cleveland, Ohio. I still have the 383 block for this car. If anyone knows of a Hemi Orange factory 4-speed car, I think the VIN was BS23N0B174551, I have your motor. Not sure of the prefix, but the VIN is on the block.

In 1984, the 1970 Charger made a brief return to the road. My wife and I met during the final stages of repaint, and she helped with cleaning the parts going back onto the car. The car made about a 3-month run and then returned to hibernation.

Enter the Daytona. I got out of Mopars for about 10-12 years, but cruise-ins became a big thing in this area and I wanted a ride. With the 1970 Charger in hand, I had accumulated parts for it for 20 years, but could not think of the chance that it would get hit on the road. I had always wanted a Daytona, so in 1996, I began looking at getting into one. I quickly found out that this was a little on the expensive side, and had heard of Ted Janak's reproductions, so after a little investigation, the choice was made for a clone.

After several months of looking for a suitable car, everything from running cars to bodies, the "hulk" of a 1969 Charger R/T was bought out of Ed Wilson's Mopar boneyard (Ed is/was a well-known dealer in Mopar muscle cars and parts for the past 20 years) in mid 1998. I did not want to cut up a good car for a clone. The engine, tranny and front sheetmetal were gone. The interior was gone, some of the left rear quarter and frame had been cut out and it had the ultra-rare "tree-in-the-trunk" option. Unfortunately, this never documented option had to be removed to get the car.

The car got towed to the shop, and the fun began. The car needed floor pans, quarter panels, trunk floor, rear window filler panel and the rear window frame was replaced. With a new mig welder in hand, the work started. To give you an idea of how bad this thing was, we figured the car was a minimum 15-year resident of the scrap yard.

Enter the "interim ride". While looking for a suitable car for the Daytona project, my wife was persuaded that we did not need to go to the cruise-ins saying "We're building one" for the next year or so, and that there was a 1971 Charger air grabber hood which had been residing in various shops of mine since 1985 that "needed to be used". (There's got to be some logic there.) This led to the purchase of a 1971 383 Charger in October of 1997. Unfortunately, the day we got this car, my mother was diagnosed as terminally ill. This, along with Ted Janak's father's health trouble, drug out the Daytona building process, as I told Ted just to get me the parts as he could.

The Daytona hits high gear. Work on the Daytona did progress during this time. The sheetmetal was replaced, I made a jig for the decklid and modified a stock one, made up the decklid hinges from a combination of 1978 Diplomat taxi hinges and 1969 Charger hinges, rebuilt the transmission intended for the Daytona, built the motor, rebuilt a 1970 Charger K-frame for the Daytona (this to "standardize" on parts for the three cars).

December 2001 saw the last part of the Daytona (nosecone) arrive from Ted. Work on the Daytona got serious. The 'glass plug was installed, with the previous rust repair allowing me to recess the sheetmetal around it. This let me span the 'glass/metal joint with a figerglass matt and "feather" the 'glass out. The plug has not cracked yet. A set of 1970 fenders, perused from Ed's yard, were modified for the valance, and a combination of 1970 Charger, Daytona parts and a 1990 LeBaron gear was used to make the headlight pods operate electrically. I finished up the bodywork and painted the car early in April 2002.

The car is R4 red with a black interior. The car then went from the shop to the new addition on the house for the final assembly. The wife thought we got extra room. In reality, the area needed to park the Daytona and a Charger nose-to-rail, and two cars wide, dictated the size of the addition.

Final assembly began on the car, but was delayed by a tornado which passed directly over the house on April 28th. Fortunately, the car was not in the shop, as the tornado blew the roll-up door in about six feet, which would have wiped out the front of it!

The car was finally taken on it's first outing to the local cruise-in on July 20, 2002. It was, and still is, a big hit. The first couple of trips out to each of local cruise-in locations, I could not get away from the car to look at everyone else's stuff for answering questions. Best comment I've heard about it so far: at one of the car's first appearances, while explaining some stuff to someone else, I overheard a couple of teenagers looking over the car say, "Now THAT'S a wing!" There was a late model Mustang with a wing (deck lid spoiler) next door.

The Daytona clone was built as follows: 440+6, Hemi 4-speed, 8 3/4 3.55 posi rearend. Rallye dash including tach, rear window from OEM Glass, 15x7" Road wheels. Right now, there is a 4-barrel on it, but the sixpack has the "gee whiz" factory. It's going back on.

I did all the mechanical, electrical, paint and body work on the car. After, at the age of 12, having dad tell me there was a 4-barrel intake and dual exhaust in the back of his truck and I'd better "get it on; if you're gonna drive 'em, you're going to learn to work on 'em," I did not think this was too much of a big deal. But a lot of people seem to be surprised somebody can do it all.

Although unintentional, the VIN sequence and build date on my car was very close to the real Daytonas. So close, that at Carlisle last summer, I had to convince a guy that this was not a real Daytona. I spent a lot of time getting pictures and measurements off of a couple of friends' Daytonas. It's nice to think I got it right. So ends the tale of this Daytona. The best thing about this is, seeing how bad the '69 Charger looked coming in on the trailer and seeing the finished product, helped quiet my wife's fears about the next project...a 1970 T/A Challenger.

Shown above: This is the 1970 Charger that started it all, 440 4bbl automatic, 90% original, and yes that's the original window sticker you see in the quarter window! The second photo was taken at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1976. I was driving the Charger down to join the family on a weekend at Carowinds amusement park. As I went by, I noticed the track was open for construction work so I stopped and talked to Richard Howard (then track President), and he let us on the track with the admonition "Don't knock the walls down." Try that today! The next four photos and the row of photos below show the Daytona clone's progress.

Below left to right: This is the car's first trip, from the shop to the final assembly. This is the "ultralight" version of a Daytona! The interior option for this trip was the extremely rare CMU option. (CMU=concrete masonry unit, or cinderblock driver's seat). Yup, you're not seeing things...there really is a town called Moorefield in West Virginia! I unloaded the car at a Wal-Mart there, and before it was over I had local cops around and all. Once they found out my name was Moorefield, I probably could have shot the pope and they would not have cared. The next photo was taken at Charlotte Motor Speedway in November 2004. I took the winged car to Charlotte to duplicate the 1976 picture [of the Charger]. With Buddy Baker's signature on the wing, and Charlotte being his home track, this was an interesting day. I even had the track personnel taking pictures! Here the Daytona clone sits on display at the dealership where my dad bought our 1970 Charger. Last photo in this row shows the clone with the "interim ride" 1971 Charger. It was within 12 miles from my home and I had tried to buy it before in about 1991. It's an original 383 SE, now with a 4-speed, air grabber, Go Wing, 440 springs and torsion bars, and R/T doors. The original color is this dark bronze.

Below left to right: At 2004 Chryslers At Carlisle, Buddy Baker and I pose with the clone. I tried for weeks prior to the event to cut a deal for Buddy to sign the car. They would not even talk about it. I happened to see Buddy getting breakfast that morning, told him I had a Daytona for him to sign and he said, "Just bring the little car over." I told him, "No, Buddy, it's a real car." He then told his "guide" (the one who would not talk about a deal before) that "I've got to do this". She asked if I was with the other winged cars, and how they would find it. I told Buddy mine was painted like the old K & K car and he said, "I won't have any trouble finding that one." So Buddy signed the wing. This is documentation of the rare tree-in-the-trunk option in the Charger hulk that eventually became the Daytona clone. The last photo is my next project, a 1970 T/A Challenger.