With 200 wins and seven championships, NASCAR legends don’t get much bigger than Richard Petty, which helps explain why he’s been nicknamed The King. So it comes as little surprise that he’s already been to the Goodwood Festival of Speed twice before, and this year he’s bringing out a particularly special car – the 1970 Plymouth Superbird he drove to various victories during the heyday of what’s considered the golden age of stock car racing.
Before heading out to Goodwood, Richard gave the folks from Goodwood Road & Racing a tour of his North Carolina headquarters, where he houses a number of his vintage race cars. Of particular note is his 1957 Oldsmobile coupe, which was his first race car for the 1958 season and featured a custom convertible chop so that the car could be ran in both open and closed top events.
We also get a look at his Daytona-winning 1972 Dodge Charger, which he’d previously brought to Goodwood. Petty describes the ’72 car as “the best overall stock body race car we ever had”, praising the car’s aptitude on short tracks, road courses and super speedways.
But the star of the show here is Petty’s #43 ’70 Superbird. While he didn’t win the Daytona in 1970 with it (his team mate in another Superbird did), Petty did break the 200 mph barrier in this car.
Petty explains how revolutionary the car’s aero package was in terms of high speed stability, and how dramaticly it changed things over the ’69 car. “It was so stable,” Petty recalled. “It was almost impossible to spin this car out”. He explains that he hasn’t driven the car since the 1970 race season, but he’ll be at the helm when the car scoots around the Goodwood course later this month.
In the meantime, Petty gives the green light to fire up the Superbird (which sounds like the end of times), and they end up take it out of Petty’s compound and around the block. Imagine running across this thing on your way to the store.