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Heading Home: Running Death Valley in a 1969 Dodge Daytona

Posted in Best of, Cool Stuff, Dodge, Domestic Rides, Event Coverage, General, Racing Coverage, Rides, SEMA, Top of the Heap by MrAngry | November 7th, 2011 | 4 Responses |

1969 Dodge Daytona

Well it’s finally over. The 2011 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational and SEMA have now been put to rest and to be honest, I’m dead tired. As you know we ran our 1969 Dodge Daytona tribute in the competition and while a bit outgunned, we still managed to do pretty damn good. We had a few issues like a broken shifter bolt and a thrown belt, but for the most part, we came through unscathed. Unfortunately though there was still the 600 + mile drive home yesterday that I had to endure and to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it. Running with a group of cars is one thing as you have some kind of back-up, but taking a 42 year Dodge Daytona through Death Valley on your own… well that’s another story entirely.

1969 Dodge Daytona

Now don’t get me wrong, I trust my cars as they were built right and run strong, but when you’re rolling through the desert and you don’t see another car for 45 minutes thoughts of cannibals and movies like “The Hills Have Eyes” tend to creep into your brain.

1969 Dodge Daytona

The other issue is that you simply don’t realize how good new cars are until you pilot an old one for a 1,000 miles at a clip. While the old school is and always will be cool, it doesn’t change the fact that they’re loud, only get about 10 mpg, and at days end leave you flat-out fatigued. So why then? Why the hell do we still put ourselves through this torture? I laid in bed last night at 7:15 pm (not a misprint) pondering this and the only thing I can think of is that it’s simply who we are. Yes new cars are great and yes they’re reliable, but in the end they have no character, charisma or personality.

1969 Dodge Daytona

Before I fell asleep I debated whether or not I’d actually run another pro-touring event as it always taxes me both financially and physically. The more I thought though, the more I realized that not only would I keep running them, but that I’d keep updating, racing and pushing these old sleds to the limit because lets face it… life is simply too short to drive shitty cars.

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4 Responses

  1. Sanford says:

    Well said Mr. Angry

  2. Jason454ss says:

    I love your car Mike I hope you never stop driving it. My daily driver isn’t that old but it is 22yrs old and has been getting more and more character the last 7 yrs I’ve been driving it. I hope once my kids are a little older I can rebuild the car and start Auto Crossing it.

  3. onemean'66 says:

    Right on! classics have style and new cars can’t compete. hey plus why not try to break your speed record in that daytona anyways haha jk some entertainment for the road. (excuse the pun).

  4. Ben says:

    Well said Mr. Angry. My car is 32 years old–it’s a Challenger… but not the one your thinking of. It’s the bastard child of Mitsubishi and Dodge–the 2nd Gen Dodge Challenger or more commonly called the 1979 Mitsubishi Galant Lambda. It’s an acquired taste, but for me it does have character. I take it to 16hr long roadtrips along mountain roads and she have not failed me yet. Cheers!