Winged Warriors/National B-Body Owners Association
3/8 Scale Wind Tunnel Models

Introductory Text by Sue George
Charger Photos and All Photo Captions by Dave Patik
Romberg/Road Runner Photos by Dianne Whittacker

We all know that the 1969 Charger 500s and then the Daytonas and SuperBirds were the result of many hours of testing clay models in wind tunnels. Air flow, lift, drag and all means of aerodynamics vs. body design were tested and developed in the wind tunnels using the models. It wasn't cheap, but Chrysler was serious about beating Ford to the finish line with a sleek fast car. And racing vehicles that won on Sundays helped on the dealership sales floors on Monday.

Most of the Daytona wind tunnel testing was done at the Wichita State University, while drafting tests were done at the Lockheed tunnel in AL. We have included here a copy of the invoice where Chrysler shipped the 3/8 scale model and different nose cones to Wichita State University.

So what happened to all of these models and all of their various test parts? My guess is most were destroyed after their job was done for lack of interest or space to store them. Two that did survive are the 1968-70 Charger/Daytona 3/8 scale model and the 1971 Road Runner model that Richard Petty now owns. They were thrown in a dark corner of a warehouse somewhere near Detroit, their usefulness gone and forgotten.

In the mid 1980's, Chrysler was in serious financial trouble. During this time, they cleaned out all of their rental storage buildings and warehouses, where many parts, promos, test vehicles, show cars and other one-of-a-kind pieces of history were found. Most of it was sold off to recoup some of their finances. During this clean-up, the Charger/Daytona 3/8 model was uncovered. Some parts were missing and it was a little rough around the edges, but it had miraculously survived all those years of neglect.

Chrysler very generously donated the Charger/Daytona model to the Winged Warriors/NBOA. As far as we know, it is the only Daytona scale model in existence. It has lived out most of its life with our Restoration Advisor, David Patik, who has spent years researching it and has taken on the monumental task of restoring it.

Click On A Photo To View The Full-Size Version

This is the car in its original form. Note the mono color of all parts. The front end here appears to be a 1968 Charger.
This is the early work in the clay nose designs. Note the reshaping of the windshield area using clay. More time was spent on designing the front spoiler than any other part!
The car is shown in the wind tunnel air stream. Note the wool tell-tales taped to the body, wheels and clayed-in area of the windshield.
In the wind tunnel, after installation of the fiberglass (?) nose, the final-design front spoiler and a second paint job. The sign board behind the car reads: ALPHA-0.5, BETA 0, G SERIES TEST, PHASE 1, RUN 556, FEB. 5, 1970, DODGE FW 29, 45 IN SQ INLET.
This and Adjacent Photo: A center mounted single "shark fin" wing was also tested. Mounting holes are visible in the body. My restoration of the car will include all wings and details.
Rear wing testing: the purpose is unknown of the rod under the center of the horizontal wing. Note that some studies had the wing upside down.
This is the underside of the chassis. Note the dual racing exhaust and single stock exhaust.
Shows the front of the body, upside down. Note the rotted and broken support and the multiple holes for mounting the different front ends.
Shows the top side of the chassis. Extremely high quality fiberglass was used, with metal and fiber bracing.
This and Adjacent Photo: The 3/8 scale model as it appears on display at various Mopar events across the country.
This photo was taken at the October, 1999 Aero Warrior Reunion in Talladega. Shown is Gary Romberg on the left with son Kurt on the right. Gary has worked for Chrysler since the mid 1960's in aerodynamics. He did all of the 1968-69 Charger wind tunnel research and made the original clay noses for our 3/8 scale car, which he had the model department at Chrysler build. Gary is now Chief of Aerodynamics at DaimlerChrysler and is supervising construction of their full-size wind tunnel. Kurt is an Aerodynamic Engineer at Petty Racing. He is known as the "Wind Wizard".
Shown here is Kurt Romberg in his Petty Racing uniform at Talladega. His father, Gary, has never worked directly for Petty, but this father and son sure look good together. They are very much like each other in brilliance, wit, charm and hard work.
This is the 1971 model on the floor of a storage building at the Petty Compound in Level Cross. The white SuperBird shown behind it is Richard Petty's car. He has owned it for many years but doesn't drive it. It's a 440 4bbl automatic with console, black interior, very well preserved and unrestored.
I believe the 1971 Road Runner wind tunnel model is 3/8 scale, although I never measured it.
Unlike the Daytona model, this 1971 Road Runner has only a simple underbelly with separate wheels being the only detail. The model was suspended in the wind tunnel, wind was blown at it and the model's movement was observed. This Road Runner has no "velocity point" computer pickup tubes in its body, while the Daytona model has many of them (the tubes measure air pressure from inside the model). Also, no fan speed or radiator measuring was done on this model.
The Road Runner model is a one-piece body, with only a few details added on for aerodynamic tests. The windows and hood are just molded in and the windows were painted to make them look real. No electronics seem to have ever been inside or under the body to feed information to a computer. Apparently, when in the wind tunnel, wind and smoke were blown at it, and that's all.

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