1970 was a radical year for the Plymouth brand — and “The King” Richard Petty. Plymouth built the Superbird to lure Petty back after he moved to Ford in the 1969 season. For the rest of us, we were granted one of the most beautiful muscle cars ever created! This particular example was spotted as a “loaner” to the Automotive Driving Museum in El Segundo California.
In 1968, Petty was lured away from Plymouth by the Ford Motor Company and Ford NASCAR boss, Charlie Grey, who wanted to prove “money rules none”! Petty ran a Ford Torino from February 1969 at Riverside to December at College Station, scoring nine wins for the Blue Oval in a season that included one road course, 45 Paved ovals and five dirt ovals. Needless to say, Petty and Plymouth was a driver/OEM like Earnhardt and Chevy would be later in NASCAR history — they are synonymous like peas and carrots. Petty obviously loved the car, and scored 18 wins in the 48 race season finishing fourth in series points.
In 1970, the Superbird may have seemed a bit “much” for the typical car buyer as the car was outsold substantially by the wingless Road Runner. Of the homologated 1,935 models made for the US market, some sat on dealer lots as late as 1972! Don’t you just wish you could have gone and made a deal then, as now these cars are very valuable. In 2014, a Superbird with a 426 Hemi sold for more than $500,000 at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction!
This green beauty is the 440 RB Super Commando motor with the “six-barrel” of three two-barrel carburetors. The “six-pack” moniker was designated to the Dodge Brand. Making a cool 390 hp from the factory, the notable nose and wing would turn heads at the strip and car shows for many years to come.
Originals are hard to come by, and considering that dealerships were converting the winged Superbirds to Road Runners to get them off the lots, today there are many Road Runners that have gotten aftermarket wings to essentially make them Superbirds — ironic, eh?
But this car is the real deal. The 115.8 inch wheelbase and a curb weight of 3,841 with all that power is truly a throwback to “a quarter a gallon” gasoline days when awesome muscle cars would “pass everything but a gas station”!
This particular model has the three speed Torqueflite 727 automatic transmission that laid the rubber to the road with an 8.75-inch rearend. The original Goodyear poly glass tires with raised white letters completely outfit the look. However, this particular model has the front bench seat with the shifter on the tree. Many of the Superbirds had optional bucket seats with a center console.