In Spring 2006, I wrote about a Daytona with only 300 miles on it from new. The car was advertised on a Arizona classic car broker's website. As I understand it, the car is still in Wisconsin in the hands of its original owner.
Although locally, it has been a well known car for years, club member Gary Moe called me with some more information about the car, that I had never heard. I think it's a really great story and it adds to the mystique of the car.
Gary related that the Daytona was originally delivered to Bernard's Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge, a small dealer in his hometown of New Richmond Wisconsin. New Richmond is located over on the Minnesota side of the state, along the Mississippi River.
The story is that Bernard Olsen, the owner of the dealership did not like muscle cars. His dealership would typically not stock anything high performance, and the point could be made that their sales staff would pretty much avoid having to order one for a customer as well. Interestingly, the dealer had two young sons in their twenties, and even THEY had no interest in high performance cars. Hard to believe in that heady era.
Anyway, when the Daytona arrived at their lot, it was a vehicle they did not order, and did not want. Being black in color, that paint was not all that great as delivered from Creative Industries, the shop that did the conversion and spot painting on the cars. The only way the dealer figured he would be able to sell the car, was to paint it a bright color. Being the fall of 1970, they chose the new Sublime Green color, and had their body shop repaint the car. As an added touch, instead of ordering a new Daytona tail stripe, they went down to the local Gambles Department Store in town, and bought white mailbox letters for the "D A Y T O N A" part of the stripe! The fender scoops, grille frame, and front spoiler remained factory black.
Once the car was painted, it was prominently displayed at the front of their lot. But the winter of 1969-70 came, and the car remained unsold. At this point, our club member Gary Moe was a 14 year old middle student, and vividly remembers seeing the car on the lot. In fact, he would stop by often, and just walk around the car, captivated by it. Gary says, that in the winter, they pushed the undesired Daytona all the way to the back of the used car lot, and didn't even bother to clear the snow off it.
It was not until when things warmed up in 1970, that Elmer Duellman came along and bought the car. The dealer Bernard Olsen was very disappointed that they sold the car for cost. Elmer drove the car back to his home in Fountain City Wisconsin. Fountain City is about 130 miles from the dealership in New Richmond. So at least 130 miles of those 304 were put on just getting the car home. Elmer subsequently repainted the car again, and installed a proper Daytona tail stripe. The photo on the "Mopar Fantasy" car hauler was taken in Milwaukee Wisconsin in 1978.
One more thing. Gary has spoken with the one living son of the dealership owner. He barely remembers the car. (I didn't ask Gary if he told the son the current asking price of the car.)
Gary also tracked down the body man who painted the car, and he does remember it well. Remember how I said the scoops, grille and spoiler remained factory black? The body man is adamant that he also did not paint the wing black on the car. Hard to believe, but if this is true, is it possible the car was originally delivered as black with a black wing, and black stripe? Or even stranger, is it possible that it had no stripe at all?
So again, what do you do with a car like this? Will the next buyer return it to black? Or will it stay Limelight green as it has been since before it was purchased new. Myself, knowing the story and mystique of the car, I think I want to see it stay green. Stay tuned and we will try to follow this along.
My thanks to Gary Moe for calling up and relating the story. Gary and his wife Cindy own both a Daytona and a Superbird, and are among the longest members of our club, since 1977. You can see more photos of the 304 mile car at : www.arizonaconnection.net