The Plymouth Road Runner Superbird and Dodge Charger Daytona are two of the most famous muscle cars of all time. These winged monsters were designed to compete in NASCAR and because they are super-rare, only the richest people in America can afford to buy them. It turns out that even the pedal car versions are desirable because four such “toys” just sold for almost $175,000.
Because of their unusual aero, the Daytona and Superbird didn’t sell well, with some of them sitting on dealer lots into the 1970s. They continued to fly under everyone’s radar for many years after that but can now be worth millions each.
You’d think that a pedal car version would be cheap enough for regular folks, but one example just sold for $59,000, which is more than some new Dodge models. The reason, once again, is exclusivity. From what we gather, these were all made on special order for a man who loved cars and toys equally.
Elmer’s Auto & Toy Museum in Fountain City, Wisconsin was put together by Elmer and Bernadette Duellman and it contains what was believed to be the greatest pedal car collection in the world with over 700 examples, along with 35,000 toys. Sadly, he passed away three years ago, and Mecum just managed to sell everything over the weekend (September 14-17). The winged cars were obviously a major highlight.
When were they made?
That’s one of most important questions, but there’s no clear answer. The museum opened 29 years ago, which means these might have come out in the 1990s and are definitely younger than the real Mopar winged cars.
All four of the pedal cars were built to be exact replicas of the road-going NASCAR legends. They were built to custom order with hand-fabricated all-metal bodies measuring about 55 inches long. The most expensive one at auction was $59,900 for the lime green Road Runner that says Elmer’s Auto Salvage on the side, followed at $47,200 by a copy of Richard Petty’s Superbird complete with his lucky “43” livery. Altogether, the four pedal cars went for $174,360.
Frankly, it’s a ridiculous sum of money, which makes you wonder if they’re expensive because of the connection to $3,000,000 winged cars or because they’re rare pedal cars. Elmer is also a very interesting guy, a personal friend of Mike Wolfe from American Pickers for many years and was “the pedal car guy” on the TV show.
The Superbird and Daytona both came out of the Chrysler family, the Mopar world. At first glance, they appear quite similar, and that’s especially true when scaled down into toys, but to collectors, they are quite different.
First came the 1969 Dodge Daytona, based on the Charger. Its wing is more vertical and measures 17 inches at the base (at full scale). Meanwhile, the Superbird’s wing is slanted back and has a 22-inch-long base.
The Daytona has a small grille right at the tip of the nose cone while the Plymouth scoops in the air underneath. Even though it’s a year older, the 69 Daytona supposedly has a higher top speed; it’s more aerodynamic. It’s also about four times rarer with 503 examples made.