It started simply enough: an invitation via email from a PR person at a nearby college, subject line “Can you assist me?”
The University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s (UOIT) ACE Speed Labs was turning their attention from renting out their wind tunnel to OEMs; to renting it out to motorsports teams and enthusiasts, and wanted to know if we could help get the word out.
In exchange, we could use the tunnel for a story. “Hmm,” I thought to myself. “What would I stick in a wind tunnel if I could?”
It didn’t take long for little daydream-y clouds to form in my head: imagine a comparison between a stock ‘69 Dodge Charger and an “aero warrior”-class Charger Daytona? Heh, maybe even throw in a new Charger. But that’ll never happen.
Then I paused. Maybe I could make it happen. I know people with Charger Daytonas. And a new Charger would be no problem, thanks to a former colleague with keys to the press fleet at FCA Canada.
The first email went to my Daytona contact: Would you know anyone who might have a wing car they’d like to stick in a wind tunnel? His response: Yeah. Me. I’ve got three.
I ran my idea past my UOIT contact; he liked the sound of it. So I checked with my then-editor Mitch about lining up a new Charger. He had a Hellcat booked a few weeks prior to the date we were looking at, but a little juggling on the part of our FCA friend (and a nice letter from Mitch to the journo whose Hellcat booking we’d be swiping) and it was done.
The last step: finding a stock ‘69 Dodge Charger. Piece of cake, right? Wrong. While a lead or two got back to me from “casting calls” I posted on Mopar forums and friends I reached out to, nothing panned out.
So I threw all my eggs into one basket: the upcoming Moparfest show in New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada’s largest all-Chrysler meet. There’d be plenty of stock Chargers among the thousands of Dodges on the grass there, I was certain.
Two. There were all of two, maybe three, stock-appearing ’69 Chargers, and none were buying what I was selling. I had resigned myself to defeat when, just before leaving, I swung by a black ’69 parked a few cars down from my Valiant Scamp.
“I’m looking for a stock Charger to put in a wind tunnel, as part of a video comparison with a Daytona,” I explained, waiting for another ‘no.’ “Yeah, sure,” came the reply. He was selling the car, and agreed if we could plug its sale, he’d help us out.
That was it. We had our dream team. We were going to make this happen.
You can see the fruits of our labour over on Autofocus. Man, that was a fun day. But that’s a whole other story for another time.