The impact of the Winged Warrior Era of NASCAR racing cannot be underestimated; reaches far beyond the Super Speedways of the time. A 1969 Dodge Daytona winning the 1970 NASCAR Points Championship wrested the title away from Ford, who won every year from 1963 to 1969. The research and development into automotive aerodynamics also lead to Chrysler being the first NASCAR manufacturer to break the 200 MPH barrier. No other NASCAR driver would qualify a car at 200 mph in a NASCAR event again until 1982. It would take Ferrari's F40 17 years to achieve that velocity on the street in 1987. Chrysler had planned production of two aero car variants of their completely redesigned Dodge Charger and Plymouth Road Runner for homologation. A NASCAR rules change caused the company to permanently shelve the project. But the testing was complete as was the engineering for many of the other enhancements Mopar had in store of the “other two” manufacturers. There is no doubt that these innovations, both in aero and drivetrain advancements, would have permanently changed the face of NASCAR Racing and perhaps the fortunes of Chrysler itself. That isn't speculation or hyperbole either. Gary and Pam Beineke, the builders of the G-Series '71 Wing Car Prototype Concepts set a land speed record with a race prepped variation of this 1971 Dodge Daytona Concept, clocking 209.4 MPH in the standing mile. With this 1971 Dodge Daytona, Chrysler had the means and opportunity to permanently dominate both the Super Speedways and the streets.
This 1971 Dodge Daytona Prototype Concept was based on the results of Chrysler's secret aerodynamic wind tunnel tests and the conducted at Wichita State University between January and March of 1970. 3/8th scale models were used in these tests. No full-scale models were ever built, until now. Gary and Pam Beineke worked directly with members of the original engineering team, including Chief Aerodynamicist Gary F. Romberg. What you see here is the optimal configuration according to the official Chrysler 1971 G-Series Aerodynamic Development report and the personal notes kept by Mr. Romberg.
The Beineke's G-Series '71 Wing Cars are recognized by Mopar and the aero crew to be the only cars to be correct and accurate representations of vehicles planned for production by Chrysler for the 1971 model year. If Big Bill France hadn't pulled the rug out from under aero cars, hobbling all “special cars” using aerodynamic enhancements by limiting them to 305 C.I., Chrysler would have continued their NASCAR dominance for the foreseeable future. Every manufacturer had skunkworks programs that were well on the way to putting a Winged Warrior competitor in response to the success Dodge and Plymouth enjoyed in '69 and '70. The fact is, advancements in aerodynamics also pushed advancements in driver safety, superior braking, and improved tire and wheelsets. All driven by higher speeds and tougher competition. Much of this innovation stagnated, just as the popularity of NASCAR did. The end of the Aero Wars also marked the end of Golden Age of Grand National racing. It would be more than a decade for race teams to reach the same level of on track performance. This car is a testament to what might have been and a reminder of what we lost with the end of the Winged Warrior Era. And just like NASCAR Champions, there is only one.
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