Preview: 2006 Dodge Ram Daytona
Mike Magda, EditorPosted:
01-08-05 08:10 PT
Following retro-Sixties-muscle footsteps of the Rumble Bee, Dodge will
soon release the Ram Daytona. Basically another special edition cosmetic
package for the fullsize pickup, the Daytona will draw on the heritage
of the winged ’69 Dodge Charger that raced on the high banks at
Daytona Speedway. The Ram Daytona will also have a distinctive rear spoiler,
although much smaller than the Charger’s model, and other appearance
modifications to distinguish it from the rest of the Ram lineup.
The first appearance of the Ram Daytona came with no formal fanfare at
the Los Angeles Auto Show. We spotted it in a central location of the
Dodge booth but there were no information cards or literature nearby.
And the vehicle was not mentioned at the Dodge press conference. It took
a talk with Dodge marketing boss Joe Eberhart and a few phone calls to
track down the story.
Eberhart says the Daytona is a continuation of a strategy to offer special
edition Rams to maintain interest in the line.
“It started in Texas with the Bighorn editions, which were very
successful and have now been copied by our competitors,” says Eberhart,
noting the Rumble Bee was the latest special edition. “In that mold,
the Daytona fits very nicely. It’s got a great nameplate and great
heritage associated with it.”
Charger Daytona was a special edition built to comply with NASCAR homologous
rules after Dodge built a revolutionary aerodynamic Charger for racing.
It featured an 18-inch sloped front extension and a 2-foot-high rear wing
over the deck lid. Plymouth came out with a similar version of its racing
Road Runner a year later called the SuperBird. With Hemi power and an
aerodynamic advantage, Chrysler cars dominated NASCAR in those years only
to have NASCAR ban winged vehicles by 1971.
Dodge revived the Daytona name in the mid-‘80s with a sport coupe
that offered a turbocharged option. The Daytona was even offered in Shelby
and IROC editions before production was halted in 1993.
The Ram Daytona is recognizable by the 11-inch rear spoiler and complementary
flat-black graphics on the bed sides. Other noticeable features include
side-exiting twin chrome tips from the Borla exhaust, body-colored grille
and tail lamp guards and 20-inch alloy wheels.
“It’s a very performance oriented look but it also makes
a design statement,” adds Eberhart. “We just think it helps
to underline the overall Ram leadership image.”
The truck also features the same hood scoop as the Ram SRT-10, the flagship
of all Dodge trucks. When asked if sharing this distinctive trademark
would harm the SRT-10’s image, Eberhart said:
“It’s always a good question whether you do that or not.
We find that with all the performance models the enthusiast will always
know an SRT-10 from a regular truck. You see it at BMW with the M-series
and AMG in Mercedes. All the companies that have in-house performance
tuning operations, the real enthusiast know. We don’t think it will
dilute the image.”