Winged Warriors/National B-Body Owners
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
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
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
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
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
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.
© 1997-2001 Winged Warriors/National B-Body Owners Association. All rights reserved.