Rare 1969 Dodge Daytona Hemi Four-Speed Set to Top $1 Million at Mecum Auctions
The Mecum Auctions roadshow rolls into Indianapolis on May 13-21 and Mopar fans will want to have their eyes glued to MotorTrend for this one, as one of the most significant Dodge muscle cars to ever assault the pavement is crossing the auction block, and when it does, this is the exclusive inside story they’ll be talking about. We’ll dive into that in a moment, but first some quick history. The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona was a one-year-only model designed specifically to dominate the high-banked super speedways of stock car racing. Its aerodynamic nosecone and raked rear wing made it a terror on the track but ungainly on ordinary roads. The Daytona’s extremely limited production of just 503 examples makes it one of the rarest and most sought-after cars in the world of muscle car collecting.
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Developed with help from the aerodynamicists at Chrysler’s aerospace division during the heady years of the Apollo program, the Daytona was designed to slip cleanly through the air, only permitting drag for the sole purpose of downforce to keep it glued to the track at 200 mph. Power was the other half of that formula, and the 1969 Dodge Daytona was available with just two engines: the 440ci Magnum, and the vaunted 426ci Hemi making a rated 425 hp. The production run was designed to satisfy NASCAR’s homologation requirement that at least 500 units be available to the public, and of the 503 produced only 70 cars received the 426ci Hemi V-8. Among them, even fewer—just 22—came with the four-speed A833 manual transmission. They are rare and fast cars indeed.
Conditions Ripe for Record-Breaking Hemi Daytona Sale
As a result, a Dodge Daytona of any description is always going to draw a crowd when it goes to auction. Though not at the absolute top of the pile when it comes to rare Mopar muscle cars (the 1970 and 1971 Chrysler E-Body Challenger and ‘Cuda convertible Hemi four-speed cars own that top spot), the 1969 Hemi Daytona is perilously close. To date, the highest price ever paid for a Hemi four-speed Dodge Daytona went for the T5 copper metallic Daytona from the Wellborn Collection, which sold to actor David Spade of Joe Dirt movie fame for $900,000 at the 2015 Mecum Kissimmee auction. The F8-Green Hemi Daytona offered for auction in Indy is more highly optioned and theoretically more valuable than Spade’s Daytona, which could set up a record-breaking auction result in Indy. Adding to this is the current state of the economy and stock market, which has seen huge outflows of capital recently. There’s a lot of money floating out there just looking for a safe investment harbor, and we completely expect some of it to be deposited into the bank of Mopar. Mecum anticipates a sale of between $1.1 and $1.3 million for the F8-Green Hemi Daytona, and we think it could go even higher.
F8-Green Hemi Daytona Four-Speed History
Today, you don’t have to convince Mopar lovers of the value of a Hemi-equipped 1969 Dodge Daytona, but in the summer of 1969, there were few takers. Pat Harper, a high-school English teacher (or by an alternate account, a photographer) in the Phoenix, Arizona, area was one of the few. In fact, she was so drawn to the model that she went to the local Dodge store—a dealership named Dodge City in Phoenix—and special-ordered one to suit her taste. You can just imagine the look on the salesman’s face as Pat ticked the box for the 425-hp 426ci Hemi, the four-speed A833 manual trans, and most every other option on the sheet, high-performance or otherwise. It would turn out to be one unique car that would have lips flapping over a half-century later due to its distinction of being the most well-optioned 1969 Hemi Dodge Daytona in existence. But one thing bothered Pat Harper: Air conditioning was not available with the Hemi. More on that important detail in a moment.
DodgeCharger.com: Keepin’ Things Real
We came to know all of this about Mecum’s auction lot F111, the F8-Green 1969 Dodge Daytona Hemi four-speed (VIN XX29J9B383276) scheduled to go up for bid on Friday, May 20 (live coverage will be on the MotorTrend channel and MotorTrend+ from noon until 6 p.m.—sign up for a free trial today!), thanks to the Chrysler fanbase at DodgeCharger.com forum. Fans like these have a rabid fascination with every known example of Chrysler’s winged warriors, including the 503 examples of the 1969 Dodge Daytona, and they keep tabs on all of ’em. (We’re talking about hardcore gearheads who show the VINs of previous Mopars they’ve owned in their post signatures.) As we searched the web for any scraps of info on Pat Harper’s F8-Green Hemi Daytona four-speed car, we came to realize just how special it was, and that a surprising number of people at DodgeCharger.com remember the same car as far back as the 1970s—a car that would’ve instantly appealed to wide-eyed school children anywhere. A car this rare with a trail this long simply can’t be faked, and in the case of Mecum’s Indy lot #F111, we see a rare Daytona with a well-documented history, though some of it is still shrouded in mystery. Today, we pull that shroud off.
Some details about the car that bidders will want to know have come to light. For much of the car’s history, it had a white vinyl top, white billboard “Daytona” graphics, and a white wing instead of its born-with black graphics and wing. It also had a 1970 Dodge Charger nose at one point. In an archived post from October 2007, a senior forum member at DodgeCharger.com, going by the handle of Moparchris, said of the car: “The green Hemi Daytona was originally owned by an English teacher [Pat Harper] at my old high school in Scottsdale, Arizona. At the time, the car had a ’70 Charger front end on it and a dealer-installed white top. Since there was no air, and it’s really hot here, the white top was probably installed to help the interior stay a little cooler. She sold the car the year before I started high school (’77) to a local politician.” (Could this buyer be David W. and Julie M. Jones of Indiana stated in the car’s IRS forfeiture case? More on this later.)
The Nose Knows
At some point, the F8-Green Hemi Daytona may have lost its nose when it got knocked off at an intersection during an attempted right-on-red turn, and had it replaced with a more convenient 1970 Charger nose. We know this through various accounts and old photos on the DodgeCharger.com forum. The white vinyl top was a dealer-installed option, and years later, upon the F8 Hemi Daytona’s first restoration by a subsequent owner (most likely a man named Phil Jackson, who we’ll hear about later), the white top was restored, and matching-but-not-original white graphics (the F8-Green Hemi Daytona’s fender tag specifically calls out a V88 black trim stripe, not white) were installed to match the top. Around this time, a set of the now-infamous Kelsey-Hayes Warrior recall wheels, option code W23, was added to the car. (Most interesting is the fact that the Kelsey-Hayes Warrior recall wheels are to the collector wheel market what the Daytona is to the collector car world—super rare. A set of real ones can fetch as much money at auction as many collector cars. As far as we know, these W23 wheels are not included with the car at auction; a set of the car’s born-with W25 steel wheels and redline tires are included instead.) We believe these Kelsey-Hayes recall wheels are the same ones that appear farther down in our story on a Hemi-Orange Daytona Hemi four-speed, VIN XX29J9B379743, that was the subject of an IRS seizure in February 2009.
The YouTube Video
We know many of these details because of a YouTube video from October 2010, in addition to archived photos of the car from the 2004 Mopar Nats. In this video of the F8-Green Hemi Daytona from the 2010 Monster Mopar Weekend in St. Louis, the interviewer from FiveStarCarVideos.com asks Phil Jackson about the F8-Green Hemi Daytona, and he says that he had just reinstalled a white vinyl top to make the car more closely resemble the way it looked in an earlier photo taken by the original owner. He explains that the car had been owned by his dad, but since his dad’s passing, he now is its caretaker on behalf of his mother. In the video, the car is shown with a white wing, white Daytona billboard quarter panel decal, and W23 Warrior wheels, but not it’s born-with black wing, W25 steel wheels, or the black “Daytona” billboard graphic of its Mecum livery (shown in our story).
Besides Phil Jackson, a few of the car’s previous owners are believed to include a man named Dave Jones, as well as Jay Soneff of Soneff’s Master Garage (a classic car dealer in Denver, Colorado), and Bill Jurevich of Hollister, California. We could find no information about when these gentlemen owned the car or what their contribution to it was, only a consensus among DodgeCharger.com members that the F8-Green Hemi Daytona’s prior owners were known to them. Phil Jackson’s involvement with the F8-Green Hemi Daytona, however, is very well-documented.
Hemi Daytona on Trial: Jackson vs. U.S.
In a bench trial verdict by District Judge Richard E. Dorr in June of 2010 to settle the ownership disposition of the F8-Green Hemi Daytona after an IRS seizure, it’s revealed that the car had also been owned prior to May 1988 by David W. and Julie M. Jones of Indiana, and was sold to a Dr. T.J. Flatley of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dr. Flatley then sold the car to Bill Jackson of Newton County, Missouri for $250,000 in August of 2003. This helps us with part of this car’s timeline, and it’s where the story gets interesting. We should also note that the F8-Green Hemi Daytona appears to have undergone its first restoration with an incorrect green/white combination by this time and can be seen in this form in the previously mentioned photos from the 2004 Mopar Nats.
Bill Jackson and his wife Phyllis relied on their son, Phil—an experienced Mopar collector who also happened to own that Hemi-Orange four-speed Hemi Dodge Daytona we previously mentioned—to store and maintain the car. Whether it was Bill and Phyllis Jackson’s original intent to have their son flip the car for a profit or simply to enjoy it for the time being is unknown, but for whatever reason, son Phil began to search for a buyer as early as 2005. According to court records, Phil received an offer from a potential buyer in 2005 for the sum of $700,000, and dad Bill declined. Nevertheless, Phil Jackson continued to represent his parents in the effort to sell the car. Then in the May 2006 issue of Hemmings Motor News, an ad appeared for the F8-Green Hemi Daytona with a photo and an asking price of $1,500,000, and a contact phone number in Missouri. The ad was presumably placed by Phil Jackson in another effort to sell the car, which subsequently failed. (The ad stated the Daytona would be worth twice that in two years, a comment that received sharp sarcasm at the time by DodgeCharger.com forum members in October of 2007.)
Seized: the Wrong Hemi Four-Speed Daytona!
The trial record shows that in the fall of 2008 when Bill Jackson became consumed with late-stage cancer, son Phil was authorized by his parents to consign the car through Lost ‘N The ’50s, a classic car dealer in Neosho, Missouri, for the sum of $700,000. However, a conflicting post on DodgeCharger.com, copied from the Lost ‘N The ’50s website, shows the car for sale at $850,000. Concurrently, the IRS had obtained a writ of seizure for a 1969 Dodge Daytona owned by Phil Jackson—only it was not the same car as the F8-Green one owned by parents Bill and Phyllis; it was for son Phil’s Hemi-Orange Hemi four-speed Daytona, VIN XX29J9B379743.
After Bill Jackson’s passing in February 2009, the IRS entered the premises of Lost ‘N The ’50s and seized the F8-Green Hemi Daytona, though it was not the Phil Jackson Hemi-Orange car named in the warrant. The only cloud still hanging over matters, as expressed by the bench trial’s judge, was whether Phil Jackson’s parents were simply willing proxies for purposes of avoiding tax payment, or whether the interest in the winged warrior was genuine. Reasons for this include testimony to the fact that Phil frequently represented the car as his own to potential buyers. (He is seen making similar confusing statements in the October 2010 YouTube video, taken just a few months after the trial.) The intrigue described by Judge Dorr in the court decision claims there’s evidence of past tax-avoidance around Phil Jackson’s sale of other collector cars, but not, ultimately, in reference to the F8-Green Hemi Daytona. As a result of the ruling, the car was released to Phyllis Jackson as its rightful owner, but in practice remained demonstrably under the control of Phil Jackson.
In September 2011, the F8-Green Hemi Daytona may have appeared in an ad on AutoTraderClassics.com with an asking price of $595,000, but the ad is no longer extant and only a cut-and-pasted record of it exists on DodgeCharger.com here. By contrast, we also discovered a DodgeCharger.com forum post referencing the F8-Green Hemi Daytona changing hands at a Russo and Steele auction in either 2010 or 2011, but we were not able to search a database of R&S auction results to verify this. Based on paperwork submitted to Mecum for the Indy auction, the car’s provenance was documented by Mopar expert Galen Govier of Galen’s Tag Service in July 2014. That document indicates that a person named David Meister of Onekama, Michigan, (presumably the owner of the F8-Green Hemi Daytona at the time) commissioned the inspection. It’s worth noting that by this juncture (July 2014) the car had been restored a second time, returning the F8-Green Hemi Daytona’s appearance to its original, as-manufactured state, with W25 color-coordinated steel wheels, black graphics, and a black wing.
By our count, the F8-Green Hemi Daytona has had no fewer than eight owners, but there may have been more. This illustrates one more thing about 1969 Dodge Daytonas: With so few made they tend to get passed between members of the Mopar community for continued enjoyment and curation. Often, Daytona owners know each other through forum participation, club membership, reputation, and event attendance, making it difficult to stage a fake without community members catching on. More tellingly, each owner of this F8-Green Hemi Daytona has made money on this car while enjoying it for a number of years. Could the next owner be you? Make sure to tune-in to Mecum’s Indy Coverage on Friday, May 20 to see how things turn out, and don’t forget to check out all the photos of this unique F8-Green Hemi four-speed Daytona in our attached gallery.
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Dodge Daytona Fender Tag and Option Decoding
- E74—Engine: 426 HEMI with Dual Carter AFB 4-barrel carburetors
- D21—Transmission: A833 4-speed manual transmission
- XX – Car Line: Dodge Charger Fast Top
- 29 – Body Type: 2-Door Sports Hardtop
- J – Engine: 426 HEMI with Dual Carter AFB 4-barrel carburetors
- 9 – Model Year: 1969 E-Series
- B – Assembly Plant: Hamtramck, Michigan
- 383276 – Assembly Plant Sequential Number
- F8—Roof Paint: Dark Green Metallic
- F8 – Body Paint: Dark Green Metallic
- F8 – Upper Door Frame Color: Dark Green Metallic
- C – Trim Grade: Charger
- 6 – Front Seat: Vinyl Buckets
- G – Interior Color: Green
- 00 – Dual Carter AFB 4-barrel carburetors (4619S – Front/4620S – Rear)
- 11 – Standard Turn Signal Lever
- 15 – 3-Spoke Premium
- TT – Woodgrain Steering Wheel
- 18 – B-Body – HEMI w/ 4-Spd – Engine Frame
- 24 – 15-inch x 6-inch H.D. Stamped Steel Wheels
- 26 – Radiator: 26-inch Width
- 29 – B-Body – Front Disc Brakes
- 32 – Front Firm Ride Shocks
- 43 – B-Body – P/S – with Floor Shift
- 92 – Rear Firm Ride Shocks
- 514 – Scheduled Production Date: Wednesday, May 14th, 1969
- 605 – B-Body – A833 – 18-Spline – HEMI 4-Spd Trans
- 644 – B-Body – 4.10 S/G Dana 60 Axle with 10-inch Drums
- 921 – 426 HEMI Engine with M.T. Specifications
- 1857780 – Right HEMI Torsion Bar .92 x 44″
- 1857781 – Left HEMI Torsion Bar .92 x 44″
- 2539765 – Right HEMI Rear Spring Assy
- 2539795 – Left HEMI Rear Spring Assy
- 2949054 – B-Body – 26-inch Radiator
- 2896186 – B-Body – 26-inch HEMI Inlet Hose
- 2863245 – B-Body – Radiator Outlet Hose
- 2462885 – B-Body – Front Sway Bar .94″ Dia.
- 2863215 – 7-Blade – Engine Fan
- 2806070 – Torque Drive Fan Space Unit
- 2642969 – 70 AMP H.D. Battery with Red Caps
- 2944031 – 3-Way – Power Brake Vacuum Fitting
- 2538940 – 40 Teeth – Orange Speedometer Pinion
- 2944089 – Red Stripe Hub Caps
- 2996581 – #7190 – 3 1/4 x 50.96″ Prop/Driveshaft
- 926971 – Vehicle Order Number: Special Order – Charger Daytona
- A01 – Light Package, Map Light, Glove Box Light, Ash Receiver Light, Trunk Light, Ignition Switch Lamp w/ Delay, Headlamp-On Signal
- A11 – Special Model XX29 – Charger Daytona
- A34 – Super Track Pak (4.10:1 Axle Ratio, H.D. 9.75-inch Dana 60 Axle, Sure-Grip, Max Cooling, 26-inch High-Performance Radiator, 7-Blade Torque Drive Fan, Front Disc Brakes, Power Brakes
- B41 – Front Disc Brakes – 10-inch Rear Drum
- B51 – Power Brakes
- C16 – Console
- C23 – Rear Armrest w/ Ashtray
- C55 – Front Seat: Buckets
- C62 – 6-Way Manual Adjustment Seat-Left Side
- C93 – Carpets
- D58 – 4.10:1 Axle Ratio
- D91 – Sure-Grip
- F25 – 70 AMP H.D. Battery w/ Red Caps
- G11 – Glass: Tinted-All Windows (exc. Rear on XX29)
- G33 – Mirror: Outside LH Remote Chrome
- H11 – Front Heater w/ Defroster
- J11 – Glove Box Lock
- J15 – Cigar Lighter
- J25 – 3-Speed Wipers w/ Electric Washers
- J31 – Dual Horns
- J46 – Locking Gas Cap
- L05 – Map Light
- L11 – Glove Box Light
- L15 – Ash Receiver Light
- L25 – Trunk Light
- L65 – Ignition Switch Lamp w/ Delay
- L72 – Headlamp-On Signal
- M21 – Moldings: Drip Rail
- M26 – Moldings: Wheel Lip
- M31 – Moldings: Body Belt
- M85 – Front & Rear Bumper Guards
- N51 – Max Cooling-less Fan
- N65 – Torque Drive Fan
- N85 – Tachometer Includes Clock
- P31 – Power Windows
- R22 – Radio: AM w/ Stereo 8-Track Player
- S15 – HEMI Suspension
- S25 – Firm Ride Shocks
- S77 -Power Steering
- S81 – Woodgrain Steering Wheel
- U65 – F70 X 15-inch Red Streak Tires with Fiberglass Belted 3/8-inch Sidewall Tires
- V01 – Mono-Tone Paint Style
- V88 – Delete R/T Sport Stripe / Add Daytona Sport Stripe
- W25 – H.D. Stamped Wheels
- Y14 – Sold Car
- Y39 – Special Order
- EN2 – End of Fender Tag Codes / Line 2 Build
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