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Popular Mechanics has assembled a list of the top 10 all-time cars in NASCAR racing. Guess which one was #1? No surprise- the 1969 Dodge Daytona/1970 Plymouth Superbird. It was a simple formula:

426 Hemi "Elephant" engine + super slick body= NASCAR dominance.

Here is what they said:

"Chrysler's glorious winged cars only raced competitively for about a season and a half in NASCAR. But their radical appearance, instant on-track success, and sheer audacity produced an indelible and enduring image.The problem Dodge and Plymouth faced during the 1969 NASCAR season was that the bodywork of their current production cars were obstinately the opposite of aerodynamic. They all had blunt front grilles and some had deeply tunneled rear windows that broke up the air as it tumbled off the roof. In fact, aerodynamically speaking, the worst of all the cars Mopar was building at the time was the Dodge Charger--the very car whose sales would most likely benefit from some NASCAR success.

Dodge first tried to clean up the Charger by creating the Charger 500. It was a subtly smoothed version of the same car but with a flat nose and a rear window moved flush with the roofline. But the Charger 500 was only a half step forward and not particularly successful. So midway through '69, Dodge took the Charger 500, added a long, sharklike nose and planted a 23-in.-high wing on its tail. The result was the Charger Daytona, a car that cut through the air with stunning ease and remained stable even at 200 mph. In fact, during testing at Talladega on March 24, 1970, Buddy Baker became the first driver to turn a lap at more than 200 mph in the 426 Hemi-powered No. 88 Daytona.

The Charger Daytona won its first race (the inaugural Talladega 500 in 1969) and was the primary ride for Bobby Isaac during his successful run for the 1970 Championship. Building on that success, in 1970 Chrysler applied the Daytona formula to the Plymouth Road Runner to create the 1970 Superbird. And the Superbird won its first race too--the 1970 Daytona 500 with Pete Hamilton driving the No. 40 Petty Enterprises car.

However, as thrilling as the Charger Daytona and Superbird were on the racetrack, they were mere specks on the sales charts--homologation specials few people wanted to live with every day. So NASCAR effectively outlawed the winged wonders going into the 1971 season by restricting their engine size and increased homologation requirements so that no manufacturer would ever be so daring again."

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