1970 Plymouth Superbird
The Plymouth Superbird is an American automotive legend and icon – both on and off the NASCAR circuit. In 1970, Chrysler needed a car that could compete and win races on high-speed tracks, primarily those over a mile in length known as Superspeedways. Speeds were steadily increasing and Chrysler needed something to cut the air better than the competition.
The previous year, Dodge had built the Charger Daytona – a highly modified version of the Charger that included a nose cone and tall rear wing. The Charger Daytona was in fact the first American car ever designed (or more specifically, modified) in a wind tunnel. The Charger Daytona’s 1969 NASCAR season was successful, having been the first car to break the 200 mph barrier in a race, along with numerous wins including Talladega.
But for the 1970 season, NASCAR changed the rules regarding the required number of production cars that needed to be sold in order for a particular model to race. In fact, the number jumped from 500 cars sold in 1969 to a ratio of one car per every two dealerships. This, along with Plymouth’s attempts to win back Richard Petty who had left the Plymouth team for Ford in 1968, resulted in the Superbird – a modified version of the Road Runner. Petty won eight races in 1970 from within the Superbird, while placing well in several others.
Though Dodge and then Plymouth had successful runs in NASCAR with the Charger Daytona and Superbird, their respective homologation specials were the real success – at least in the big picture. Neither car sold well initially, with reports saying consumers didn’t like the aero packages. There’s even reports of the cars sitting unsold on deal lots for several years.
Nowadays, the cars – especially those with the 426 Hemi – are worth anywhere between $200,000 and $350,000. Only 1,920 examples were built, though legend has it Plymouth made several more. Either way, Superbirds are a rare bird indeed.
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