The Dodge Hemi Daytona and Chevy Chevelle are two of the biggest, baddest vehicles to come out of the muscle car’s golden era. Both feature aggressive, iconic designs and a whole lot of horsepower, but which one claims the performance crown?
1969 Dodge Hemi Daytona
The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona was a slick, powerful muscle car in its own right, earning a reputation for pure performance as one of NASCAR’s “Winged Warriors.” Still, Dodge had something else up its sleeve in the form of an optional 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine. Only 503 1969 Charger Daytonas were ever built, and just 70 featured the legendary Hemi 426 under the hood. The rare Hemi-powered Daytona put out a pavement-peeling 425 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque, delivering raw power along with reasonably smooth and responsive handling, at least by muscle car standards. The late 1960s certainly had no shortage of powerful performance machines, and the 1969 Dodge Hemi Daytona is arguably among the best of them all.
1968 Chevy Chevelle
The 1968 Chevy Chevelle was hailed as an affordable, reliable daily driver that nearly anyone could afford. However, that doesn’t mean it didn’t have plenty of power to prove its muscle car credibility. The Chevelle came standard with a respectable Turbo-Jet 396 rated at 325 horsepower, but it was the beefy SS 396 trim with its L78 engine that was most sought after by performance enthusiasts. The 396 cubic inch L78 was good for 375 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, delivering excellent performance at a budget price. The suspension was paradoxically both stiff and spongy, and the four-speed transmission wasn’t particularly smooth, but the 1968 Chevy Chevelle SS 396 has no doubt earned its place as a powerhouse muscle car.
The King of the Road
By placing a big, powerful engine in a mid-sized car and making it affordable to as many people as possible, the Chevy Chevelle embodied the driving philosophy behind the muscle car movement better than perhaps any other car of the era. The Chevelle SS 396 was undoubtedly a strong and respectable performer, but it just can’t compare to the 1969 Dodge Hemi Daytona. With a proven racing pedigree and one of the most legendary engines ever made, the Winged Warrior deserves a spot on the Mount Rushmore of muscle car performance.
Which of these classics do you think stands out over the other. Let us know in the comments area below or on our Cool Rides Online Facebook Page.
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