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AJ's Car of the Day 1970 Plymouth Superbird

Car: Plymouth Superbird

Year: 1970

What makes it special: The Plymouth Road Runner Superbird was a short-lived, highly modified version of  Plymouth's Road Runner. It was the factory's follow up stock car racing design for the 1970 season to the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona's, incorporating both minor and major engineering changes and modifications from the Daytona's season in competition on the track. NASCAR's homologation requirement demanded that vehicles to be raced must be available to the general public and sold through dealerships in specific minimum numbers. For 1970, NASCAR raised the production requirement from 500 examples to one for every two manufacturer's dealers in the United States, so in regards to Plymouth, that meant having to build 1,920 Superbirds.

What made it famous: The Superbird was famous for its protruding, aerodynamic nosecone and a high-mounted rear wing, unlike any other Muscle Car of any kind. The street version's retractable headlights were made of fiberglass, adding 19 inches to the Road Runner's original length. The rear wing was mounted on tall vertical struts that put it into less disturbed air to increase the efficiency of the downdraft that it placed upon the car's rear axle. "Superbird" decals were placed on the outside edges of the spoiler vertical struts featuring a picture of the Roadrunner cartoon character holding a racing helmet.

Why I would want one: It may quite possible be one of the most famous Mopars, if not one of the most famous automobiles of all time. Up to this point, there has never been anything produced that could compare to the engineering or styling of the Superbird.

Fun fact: On the street, the nose cone and wing were very distinctive, but the aerodynamic improvements hardly made a difference there or on any drag strip. The 1970 Road Runner was actually quicker in the quarter mile and standard acceleration tests due to the increased weight of the Superbird's nose and wing. Only at speeds in excess of 60 mph did the aerodynamic modifications show any benefit.

( 1970 Plymouth Superbird photo from Wikimedia.org )

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