Back in the 1970s, paint worked for us, not the other way around, like today. We were once chromatic masters, commanding a wide variety of hues to coat our cars with the ruthless abandon of kudzu. Sometimes, though, the power went to our heads, and unhinged experiments were undertaken. One of those experiments occurred deep within the bowels of Chrysler’s underground chromatic labs, and the result was the 1976-1977 Dodge Charger Daytona. The Charger Daytona did some things with paint that really hasn’t been attempted since. Is it good? Is it awful? Can our simple human methods of evaluating such things even apply here? I doubt it.
Look at that picture up there; note how the sides of the car have been divided into color panels at the front and rear, creating two oblongish panels that sort of follow the lines of the car. The oblongs are ringed in contrasting color pinstriping, which continues around the windshield and side windows, and then another U-shape of striping goes from the rear fenders, over the rear window, and down the other side.
It’s odd. Breaking up the planes of the car like this usually just isn’t done, but, well, here we are.
The Charger Daytona had a striking look, and if you wanted to really check one out, it wasn’t that hard, because it only made about 145 horsepower from its big-ass V8, so it wouldn’t be too hard to catch.
You know what else is odd? It seems that there are multiple, very slightly different versions of this brochure picture of this Charger Daytona:
See how those softball players and Danny Twocollars there are in slightly different positions? Let’s demonstrate, via the magic of CompuServe’s Graphics Interchange Format:
Look at them go! Watch that bat, blondie! You could break someone’s nose!
I wonder why these two nearly identical pics taken clearly seconds apart both made it into use? Was the tone wrong on one? In the era of film, this feels like a strange choice.
Have a bitchin’ Friday, no matter what, though.
Hmmm, I could definitely see a monochrome version of this working for me. Black with dark gray decals or dark gray with black panels?
You can get these with a manual and make them go properly, right? Right?
This throuple business isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Is it meant to evoke the split grille of the ’73 Charger? That’s all I can see.
My take on the paint scheme is to make it look as NASCAR as possible. Remember Dodge ran cars on the circuit then and they had some interesting paint schemes. This was meant to represent a street version. No numbers, decals or welded doors.
Man, “sporty brougham” was a LEWK.
It’s just a natural extension of the Hemi Cudas, no?:
Chrysler sure had the wildest tape striping of the big 3 back then.
Ford largely stuck with its fairly tasteful rocker panel striping from the ’60s, Chevy did the wide hood/trunk twin stripes bit, but even Chrysler’s subdued option, the twin beltline stripes, seemed designed to scream at you “look it’s a supercar!” And it just crazier from there.
OMG, 10 yo me loved these color combos, many vette’esque pics were drawn with layers of color
Looks pretty good to me, and a swap for a modern Charger V8 would be nice. In fact, all of the running gear from a model Charger would be perfect. .
The ad is insinuating the car is so badass, if you’re like Danny Twocollars there you might just end up with “Two chicks at the same time.”
I definitely took it as parents and daughter…
I mean, if we really think about it, is it any weirder than putting fake wood panels on the body?
I think the color scheme might be related to that bit of 1930s nostalgia that was going on in the ’70s (with an older crowd than the ’50s nostalgia happening with younger folks) – probably supposed to resemble the contrasting scallops you’d see on Duesenbergs and Bugattis, or recall when cars used to have fenders painted different colors from the body.
People took to quite a few ’30s inspired details on luxury cars and personal luxury coupes due to the perception that they made the cars look expensive
You might be on to something there, on the later Magnum, Dodge often referred to it as having a “Cord-type grille”.
I don’t know if they had many takers, but Chevrolet offered a somewhat similar paint treatment on Monte Carlos … note the pic marked “9” on the right: https://www.lov2xlr8.no/brochures/chevy/mo77/bilder/4.jpg
The paint scheme is a version of “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” from Oz (as in ‘Wizard of,’ not Australia), or – in this case – the car beneath the paint. All flash, no dash.
We called them “decal cars”. All show, no go.
It would work better with just the front panels in black, sure. But I love it anyway. That blue is glorious. Though I’d say it’s more Canadian tux vibes than a leisure suit. Maybe if it were a tan colour with forest green panels? It would probably be best to buy two; one for denim days, one for safari days. Why limit your wardrobe choices?
I’m guessing that they were targeting different audiences with the two versions. The one with the darkened windows and the ladies gazing longingly at the cool dude is probably targeting a younger male crowd.
The other is a little less aggressive on the whole “this car will make you cool and get you laid” vibe. Probably targeting a more general audience.
Hey, not only do we give you two colors, we also give you two exposures. Thank you.
It was Chrysler in the late ’70s. They paid for the photos, they were damn well going to use them all!
Long exposure vs flash? I’m not a photography buff, but maybe the photographer didn’t know which method would be better with the light conditions, so they tried it both ways, then the art department couldn’t decide which to use or their shoot resulted in too few other usable shots, so they stuck them both in.
Love the line about kudzu.
I don’t hate the paint job, but I don’t think I’m a fan. Its weird, but there’s potential?
I’m thinking of printed vinyl wrap, easy to park, 2-D body kits.
Do you think there’s a market?
Ford’s got you covered: https://www.ford.com/cmslibs/content/dam/brand_ford/en_us/brand/suvs-crossovers/bronco/3_2/1979_Ford_Bronco_neg_CN26011_264_32.jpg/jcr:content/renditions/cq5dam.web.768.768.jpeg
I would drive this anywhere (with or w/o harem): left arm out the window, chin high, and I’d even have the ba**s to slip an ABBA 8-track into the deck.
But I’m different.
Balls. Cojones is also acceptable.
No Eagles , Parliament/Funkadelic or Steely Dan? I am disappointed.
Oh no, def’nitly The Eagles speshully with Joe Walsh. Of course this goes against all my “Big Lebowski” sensibilities, but The Dude and never meshed on this.
And representing The Garden State, and who as a disheveled unknown (to me), spilled beer on my arm at The Stone Pony (1975), Bruce Springsteen.
And from the sweaty side of NYC’s downtown scene, Ms. Patti Smith and her band of dusty rockers. Not ‘zactly cruisin’ music, but I’d play it anyway. The aforementioned ABBA could always balance things out.
No Steely Dan in a Daytona.
The Steely Dan types drove Mercedes SLs.
That guy in the photo? Bread, America, Poco, Eagles, CSN&Y, Loggins & Messina, all day long. Still listens to them when mall walking.
It appears that the first photo was dodged (because of course) and burnt in the darkroom during development while the second is unmanipulated. In the comparison Jraffic Interchange Format, you can see which areas were lightened (C-pillar area, wheels) and darkened (the windows). It looks like they tried to shoot at Magic Hour™ with a couple spotlights but it came out much darker than they wanted. Maybe next time you need a photo for your Dodge Charger Daytona brochure, don’t choose dusk to shoot a black spotted blue vehicle, and put the blonde next to Jean Jacket there so she doesn’t use the bat.
Maybe they also used slightly different lenses for each shot? That is why the foreground seems to move a bit while the objects far away don’t?
That paintjob is the automotive equivalent of a leisure suit, the kind with the safari jacket with big pockets.
That a lower-tier bad guy would drive on Charlie’s Angels.
I rather like it for just that reason. Why not go full late ’70s?
I miss simple two-tone schemes. And I don’t mean just the famed cultural icons from the ’50s, I mean just everyday stuff – yesterday’s shitbox showdown discussion reminded me of how Mustangs were available in half and half color schemes in the late ’80s!
Have you seen any of these? There are a couple dealers making them. I f’ing love them.
The Longmire Package?
I’m not a truck guy in the least and I completely love it. Especially on a truck like this, it really breaks up the massive at this point expanses of metal. Makes the whole thing visually appear smaller/more reasonably sized even.
I hear Dale Earnhart Jr. was a passionate early adopter & owns one.
I’ve seen a couple Silverados done that way, but not (yet) a Ford. Neither’s half bad, considering the complicated lines on modern trucks relative to the ’80s and ’90s models that inspired them.
I drive by that dealer daily, thought those were factory paintjobs, I assume it’s vinyl
I was at my son’s baseball game and there was a Silverado in the lot with the same retro graphics. It had the “BIG 10” decals and it looked AMAZING. All the dad’s were loving this thing. When the owner walked over to it, he was mobbed by people asking him where he got it. He told me that this always happens. He joked that it’s never women, only dorky guys.
I remember that truck growing up in the 70s. But we preferred GMC’s “Gentleman Jim” more. Dodge’s “Lil Red Truck) and Jeep’s Honcho were popular with the crowd, too. Ford had nothing.
She ain’t heavy, she’s my Heavy Chevy
This is how you can get me to strongly desire a modern F-150.
Looks similar to the Silverado my dad had. But in light green / dark green 454 and of course the ling forgotten wagonwheels
In the top picture, the woman’s head in the middle is clearly responding to a sharp impact as the blonde grins in satisfaction. He will be hers, as soon as she steps over the vanquished rival.
Also, how many of these Daytonas were made? Do any still exist? It would be absolutely wild to find one in the…wild.
I suspect Cash for Clunkers ate them all.
I’m a luddite film guy, but that gif really makes me want to do a composite of these. The exposure is so different on both… one shows the interior, the other has blacked out windows… the wheels are better exposed on the one with the blacked out windows… there’s just so much information to convey between the two different exposures.