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1969 Dodge Daytona Big Willie

Year: 1969
Make: Dodge
Model: Daytona
Mileage: 
Exterior Color: Yellow

Interior Color: Black

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The SPECS

  • Known as the Duke and Duchess Daytona

  • 1 of 3 1969 Daytonas owned by Big Willie Robinson of the "Brotherhood of Street Racers"

  • Believed to be the only one left in existence

  • Concours rotisserie restoration by Corey Owens at Ogilvie Collision Ogilvie, Minnesota

  • Magnum 440 CI V-8 engine

  • Upgraded camshaft

  • Torqueflite automatic transmission

  • Cream exterior

  • Day Two look with engine bay in R4 Red and body overspray in Cream

  • Hand painted lettering

  • Black interior

  • Bucket seats and console

  • Fiberglass teardrop hood

  • Featured in January 2003 Mopar Collectors Guide

At 6-feet, 6-inches and 300 pounds, the late William “Big Willie” Robinson was an imposing man with a big heart and a booming voice who reached prominence for his efforts at healing the Los Angeles community after the infamous Watts riots of 1965. His method was simple and effective: bring people of diverse and even opposing backgrounds together through drag racing. In the late '60s, Willie and his wife, Tomiko, founded the International Brotherhood of Street Racers and Brotherhood Raceway, a simple facility at Terminal Island in the Los Angeles port district, which Jim Donnelly of Hemming’s once described as “an Ellis Island of car craziness.”

 

Willie and Tomiko presided over the Brotherhood in a matching pair of Dodge Daytonas known as the King and Queen. Both cars were out of commission by the early 1970s, but the couple bought a third Daytona, known as “The Duke and Duchess,” campaigning it until the late 1970s when it was parked for the next 30 years. Sometime around 2002, Robinson sold it to Kentucky collector Gary French. French showed the car at various Mopar events over the next four years before selling it to jeans-designer and car-collector Donwan Harrell, who never realized his plans to restore it. In 2010, Harrell sold the Duke and Duchess Daytona to Corey Owens in Ogilvie, Minnesota, who faithfully restored it to its present concours condition.

 

Instead of the all-aluminum Keith Black Hemi that powered the car until its retirement, a 440 CI Magnum V-8 serves duty here along with a TorqueFlite transmission. Owens recreated the car’s paint scheme, first applying the R4 Bright Red and covering it with the same shade of Cream applied by Big Willie. The engine compartment and undercarriage show the R4 red paint like it did originally, and the hand-lettered graphics accurately recreate the original markings. Believed to be the only of the three Daytonas owned by the Robinsons still in existence, the Duke and Duchess Daytona is much more than just a valuable Mopar of the muscle-car era; it is also a fitting memorial to the lives and legacy of Big Willie and Tomiko Robinson.

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