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Mecum’s Main Attraction: 1970 Plymouth Superbird

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After more than a decade in a private collection, this stunning Superbird will cross the block during Mecum’s Houston auction (April 9 – 11, 2015). One of only 58 four-speed Superbirds built for the 1970 model year, this beauty sports B5 Blue Fire paint with a black vinyl top and white seats with a black dash and accents. A rally instrumentation package with Tic-Toc-Tach and solid state AM radio finish out the interior. It is truly a fantastic looking car  — but it doesn’t end there.

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This Plymouth is outfitted with a 425-horsepower 426 Hemi engine, dual-four-barrel carburetors, a Hurst pistol grip shifter, heavy duty suspension, A33 Dana Track Pack running gear, power steering and power front disc brakes, and rides on rally wheels wrapped with raised white letter Goodyear Polyglas GT F60-15 tires.

The Superbird’s vehicle identification number was recorded on December 16, 1969 and it was shipped on December 18, 1969, making it one of the last Superbirds to leave the factory.

SB wing emblemThe Superbird is Dodge’s attempt to build a more aerodynamic version of the Charger for the 1969 NASCAR season. Engineers had warned that producing such an aerodynamically efficient machine from the Belvedere-based Road Runner platform could pose more headaches than imagined. Their fears were realized when wind-tunnel testing showed that using Road Runner front fenders actually increased wind drag. The rear window and roof design were also counterproductive to aerodynamic prowess and (with seriously limited time available) a new fastback design was cost prohibitive.

SB sideA set of Coronet front fenders fixed the fender problems but the rear window debacle was a bit more challenging. The solution was to weld a rear window plug into place in order to fashion a smooth transition between the roof and rear deck. After the plug was welded into place, Plastisol filler was used to form a weather tight seal and the whole project was covered with a black vinyl hard top. The rear wing was also revised at the last minute. The size of the side stabilizers was increased by 40-percent and they were swept back and inward slightly. Their efforts paid off when the King of NASCAR racing, Richard Petty, returned to Plymouth and enjoyed one of the most dominant seasons in NASCAR history.

SB engineUnlike the Superbird’s sister car, the Dodge Daytona, it was not completed at Creative Industries. Since NASCAR increased the homologation requirements from 500 to 1,500-units, it became impractical for Chrysler to farm the cars out to Creative Industries Inc. Instead the Plymouth was built at the Lynch Road Assembly plant and then shipped to the Clarepointe Pre-Production facility where the nose piece and rear wing awaited them. Creative Industries continued to supply the specialized body parts.

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The rear window plugs were welded into place at the start of production in the metal shop. Additional modification to the Superbird package also included wing support plates under the quarter panels, trunk floor brace Brackets, a special hood latch tray, and (in Hemi equipped cars) a special reinforced trunk pan. Despite the extra steps, typical production time for the Superbird was only 2-days.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.

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