Here Comes The Judge, And More Groovy Cars from the '60s

By | March 28, 2018

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Ads for the 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge and 1968 Dodge Charger. Source: Pinterest

The names command reverence now: Mustang, Chevelle, Charger, GTO, Corvette. In the 1960s, American car buyers fell in love with speed and power. Manufacturers didn't abandon the luxurious boats they'd produced in the '50s, but that wasn't the growth sector -- Americans were warming to something that we'd come to call muscle. Big engines and sexy lines, cars that seemed built to take orders from the famous Steppenwolf hit: Get your motor runnin, head out on the highway. Muscle cars loved to be driven.

Hot Rods Were Popular For Drag Racing

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UNITED STATES - JUNE 03: Lions Drag Strip - 1966. Tom Sturm's '4 Chevy Lovers' Chevrolet Chevelle smokes the tires as he leaves the starting line, as seen from behind. (Photo by Bud Lang/The Enthusiast Network/Getty Images)

The 1969 Dodge Daytona and its sibling is arguably the most radical vehicles to emerge from the muscle car era. But the Daytona wasn't designed for street racing. It was built to win Nascar races on the superspeedways, the longest and fastest tracks.

To increase top speed, engineers tested the Charger in a wind tunnel. The aerodynamic modifications to the Dodge included an almost 2-foot-tall rear wing, a flush rear window, and a longer, sloped nose cone. It was an impressive looking machine. The race version of the Daytona became the first car in Nascar history to exceen 200 mph. After several Dodge wins in 1969, Nascar's put new rules into place which banned these cars. The regular production cars, which bragged a 440 big-block or the legendary 426 Hemi, are sought-after collector cars today that bring more than $150,000 at auctions.