This is a very rare, very original 426-cid/425-hp Hemi Superbird, one of only 74 Torqueflite Hemi Superbirds built. A Chrysler/Plymouth dealer used this car to increase showroom traffic, and to participate in parades and local Mopar events.

This vehicle has just over 9,600 miles on it, and the spare has never been on the ground. The car has been recently inspected by Mopar expert Galen Govier and his report is available. Documentation also includes the original broadcast sheet and owner's manual.

The car has minimal factory options and is equipped with a black bench seat, a column shifter for the Torqueflite and a Dana 4.10 locking differential. It has been stored in an environmentally controlled warehouse for the last quarter century, never offered for sale, and has been displayed only once. It is offered here at No Reserve.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1970 Plymouth Superbird Hemi
Years Produced:1970
Number Produced:1,920 (135 w/Hemi)
Original List Price:$4,298
SCM Valuation:$36,000-$55,000 ($75,000-$90,000 w/Hemi)
Tune Up Cost:$500
Distributor Caps:$40
Engine Number Location:Bottom rear of right side of the block, along oil pan flange
Club Info:Winged Warriors/National B-Body Owners Association, 216 12th Street, Boone, IA 50036-2019, (515) 432-3001
Alternatives:1969 Dodge Charger 500, 1969 3/4 Dodge Charger Daytona, 1969 Ford Torino Talladega, 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II
Investment Grade:A

This car sold for $145,800, including buyer’s premium, at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction on January 18, 2003.

“Race on Sunday, sell on Monday” was the mantra of American performance cars of the Muscle Car era. However, the “speedway specials” from Chrysler during 1969 and 1970 were almost the opposite. They needed to sell in sufficient numbers on Monday through Saturday in order to race on Sunday.

To be competitive in the NASCAR circuit in the late 1960s meant paying attention to aerodynamics. The high-speed banked ovals of Daytona and the new Talladega track required efficient airflow over a car. As competitive cars of the era generally had drag coefficients on par with cinder blocks, if the cars were recontoured to handle airflow better, handling improved and times decreased.

The only problem was building enough aerodynamic cars so they could be homologated as a production car. During the 1969 season, Ford, Mercury and Dodge dropped the proverbial gauntlets with their Torino Talladega, Cyclone Spoiler II and Charger 500 models, respectively. All three were aerodynamically cleaned-up versions of their standard-production fastbacks, mostly with reduced frontal areas and flush rear glass.

Dodge upped the ante with the late-year entry of the Charger Daytona. Thanks to wind-tunnel testing of the Charger, the Daytona featured a tapered nose with front chin spoiler and a tall rear wing. While offered too late in the season to make up for the less-than-spectacular Charger 500, it proved its worth, and a similar treatment was offered on the 1970 Plymouth Road Runner: the Superbird.

While the two looked almost identical, no body panels were common between the now-discontinued Daytona and the new Superbird. The nose was reshaped, new fenders were fitted and the wing was retooled, now having a deeper angle along its side profile.

Powertrains were the same as the GTX series, standard being the 375-hp four-barrel 440-cid engine, with the 390-hp 440 “Six-Pack” (3 x 2-bbl. induction) and “425-hp,” 426-cid Street Hemi as the two options. All three could be mated to either the heavy-duty four-speed manual or the 727 Torqueflite automatic transmission.

Despite being a sub-series of the Road Runner (all Superbirds share the Road Runner’s RM23 VIN prefix), options and availability were limited. While bucket seats could be upgraded from the standard front bench seat, they could both only be in black or white. Exterior colors were limited to Alpine White, Tor-Red, Vitamin-C Orange, Lemon Twist, Lime Light, Corporation Blue and Blue Fire Metallic. All cars were also fitted with a black vinyl roof, regardless of paint color, to reduce the already labor-intensive time needed for fitting the Superbird-unique body panels.

While the Air Grabber hood was standard on Hemi-powered Road Runners, thanks to the unique front fender contour, the plain hood was installed over all powerplants in the Superbird. Power steering and power front disc brakes were mandatory options. As far as production was concerned, it was scheduled to be built at the rate of one per two Chrysler-Plymouth dealers (1,920 were built), more than adequate to become homologated for NASCAR.

On the track, Superbirds proved to be the cars to beat, if only by a hair. While the Fords and Mercurys were worthy competitors, the Winged Mopars ended up in victory lane more often than not in 1970 and 1971, highlighted by wins at the Daytona 500 both years.

Our featured car is one of 135 Superbirds fitted with the Hemi motor, and of those, one of 74 with the Torqueflite. It has only 9,691 miles from new as a result of its original use for promotional purposes during the 1970s.

After it was sold, the new owner put it into storage for 25 years. This same owner then detailed it and consigned it to Barrett-Jackson. Considering the superb original condition, low miles and Hemi powerplant, this should be considered the new high-water mark for a Superbird. However, this new price may not be a 21st-century record for long, as Hemi-powered Mopars are escalating in value again. Later that afternoon, a 1970 Dodge Coronet R/T Hemi with slightly more miles and a full restoration sold for $183,280. (Of course, the R/T was about as perfect a restoration as could be done on a Mopar, and therefore in nicer condition than the Superbird. Also, it was virtually a one-off: It is one of four R/T Hemi four-speeds, and the factory tape stripe is delete.)

As for the Superbird, if the new owner keeps the miles off and stores it properly, his chances of making good money over the next couple of years are very good indeed.-B. Mitchell Carlson

Comments are closed.