Regarding muscle cars, few models are as iconic as the Dodge Charger Daytona. First introduced in 1969, the car was built for speed and designed to dominate on the NASCAR circuit with its massive nose and towering rear wing. Now, over 50 years later, Dodge continues to use the Daytona nameplate on its four-door muscle sedan.
Despite the return of the Daytona nameplate on the modern-day Charger sedan in 2006, Dodge has continued to put the name on numerous limited edition models, as well as the premium variant on 5.7-liter and 6.4-liter HEMI®-powered offerings. However, over the past few years, Dodge has used the name on two of its ultimate variants of the Charger: the Charger SRT HELLCAT Widebody Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition and the 2023 Dodge Charger King Daytona.
Let’s look at both models and determine which better lived up to the Daytona name.
Charger SRT HELLCAT Widebody Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition
This model built upon the Charger Daytona’s celebrated history by adding even more performance to North America’s only four-door muscle sedan. Under the hood, the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® HELLCAT V8 engine delivered a jaw-dropping 717 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque, they were making it the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world. In addition, the car’s wider wheels and tires created an aggressive, planted stance that set it apart from other four-door sedans on the market.
On the exterior, the 50th Anniversary Edition featured unique heritage appointments that paid homage to Daytona’s storied past. In addition, the car was available in four different exterior paint colors, including B5 Blue (PQD), Pitch Black (PX8), Triple Nickel (PSE), and White Knuckle (PW7), with B5 Blue being exclusive to the Daytona Edition in 2020. Other standout features included a “Daytona” decklid to rear-quarter decal with a matching spoiler and 20-inch x 11-inch “Warp Speed” wheels with a Satin Carbon finish.
Inside, the Daytona cues continued with Black heated and ventilated Nappa leather and Alcantara suede performance seats with blue accent stitching and “Daytona” embroidered seat backs. The steering wheel and floor mats were also exclusive to the Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition. Carbon fiber and unique Daytona Blue accent stitching completed the race-inspired interior.
2023 Dodge Charger King Daytona
This model is part of Dodge’s “Last Call” limited edition series and pays tribute to a famous monarch of the 1960s and 1970s West Coast drag-racing scene: Willie “Big Willie” Robinson. Robinson nicknamed his 1969 Dodge Charger “King Daytona” and used it to claim victory at the drag strip and keep racers on the track and off the streets.
The 2023 Dodge Charger King Daytona features a striking Go Mango (PVP) exterior color with unique Orange interior accents. With an extra 10 horsepower that takes the Charger SRT HELLCAT Redeye from 797 to 807 horsepower, this car has over 90 more horsepower than the 50th Anniversary Edition. Other standout features include Satin Black King Daytona rear fender graphics, hood pins, the same 20-inch x 11-inch Satin Carbon Warp Speed wheels as the 50th Anniversary Edition, and Orange 6-piston Brembo brakes.
Inside, the King Daytona features black Nappa/Alcantara “Daytona” seats with Orange stitching and Orange interior accent stitching on the instrument panel, console, steering wheel, and door trim. The car also has a suede headliner, carbon fiber interior bezels, an Alcantara steering wheel, and a premium Harman Kardon audio system.
Both the Charger SRT HELLCAT Widebody Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition and the 2023 Dodge Charger King Daytona are exceptional vehicles that do justice to the Daytona name. However, the question remains: which one better captures the essence of this iconic moniker?
Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference, and the characteristics of the Daytona name are most important to you. Whether you appreciate the 50th Anniversary Edition’s nods to the past or the King Daytona’s unique homage to “Big Willie” Robinson, both of these cars exemplify the iconic Dodge Charger Daytona nameplate.