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Risky Investment: Would You Restore This Ratty 1970 Plymouth Superbird Or Would You Start Building It Up?


Risky Investment: Would You Restore This Ratty 1970 Plymouth Superbird Or Would You Start Building It Up?

That beak. That wing. That shape that was meant to convey one meaning only, directly to Ford Motor Company: “Richard Petty is OUR driver, and you will pay dearly for your treachery.” It’s a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird, the second of Chrysler Corporation’s “wing cars” and the last of the “Aero Warrior” era NASCAR racers to make both homologation and racetrack appearances before NASCAR cooled off the war between Ford and Chrysler with a rule change against such aerodynamically-enhanced cars. The story of the Superbird goes back to 1969…Ford had the swoopy Torino Talladega and Dodge had the Charger Daytona, an evolution of the Charger 500. Plymouth had the Road Runner…which, compared to the to the other two cars being fielded, had the aerodynamic properties of a cinderblock. Petty, still riding high from his monster 1967 season, wanted to either jump from Plymouth to Dodge so he could get a Daytona and continue his winning ways, or wanted Plymouth to get off their hides and build a sister car to the Daytona so that he didn’t have to adjust course. Plymouth pushed back, so Petty went to Ford for the 1969 season.

Chrysler Corporation knew that Petty was a draw and that they couldn’t afford to lose. “King Richard” was a household name and had a strong relationship with Chrysler products for years. For Petty to jump to Ford was too much, so the Superbird was born. A Road Runner with a slightly more upturned nose and a fatter wing than the Charger Daytona, the Superbird was the answer that brought Petty back into the fold for the 1970 season. For racing reasons, the car worked. For the homologation street cars required, it didn’t. The rules had changed for 1970…instead of 500, manufacturers had to crank out one car for every two dealerships in the country, or 1,920 vehicles. On superspeedways, the Superbird’s shape meant it was out front. In the real world, they were at the back of dealer lots or were in the shop being converted back into a normal 1970 Road Runner.

History lesson over, let’s take a look at what we have here: a B5 Blue, 440-6/four-speed car with a 3.54 Dana 60 underneath, sporting more “patina” than we’d like to see, missing the vinyl roof that every Superbird had (it hid the modifications for the rear window setup), sitting forlorn somewhere near Wareham, Massachusetts. The nose cone is off of the car, the interior is rough, the exterior is rougher. But it’s there, except the six-pack setup for the 440…that’s long gone. Metalwork is guaranteed. So is a properly large restoration bill. The VIN number decodes correctly: Plymouth B-body, Medium price, two-door hardtop, 440-6 engine, 1970, built at Lynch Road, Michigan. One look in the trunk to verify the wing supports and a glance at the fender tag will confirm whether or not you have a fake, though we believe this is the real deal.

Now, for a car in this condition, $70,000 is a steep starting point, regardless of what kind of a car it is. Auction-worthy cars hover around the $150,000 mark, though they can go higher depending on how many people visited the bar at the auction. This Superbird is a blue-chip investment piece, but the question now before you: do you go full-on restoration and hope you get your money out of the car, or do you take the opportunity to have a little fun with a legitimate Superbird? We aren’t advocating for anything that can’t be undone or reverted to stock for the sake of value, but we would consider mothballing the four-gear for a six-speed and leaving slot mags in period-correct sizes on the car instead of the usual Rally wheels.

What would you do?

Craigslist Link: 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird 


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12 thoughts on “Risky Investment: Would You Restore This Ratty 1970 Plymouth Superbird Or Would You Start Building It Up?

  1. 75Duster

    It deserves a full restoration, restore it to stock with the 440 Six Pack , 4 speed, then add those slot rims fully polished up.

    1. Charles

      Knowing my luck I would go full on depending on what parts are there and not and what I can get This car may not be exactly original it might be part muscle and part street rod part american modern muscle tuner. I just build the cars no matter the shape.It might be over the budget or sometimes I have to just make it work with what I have. Its all cool because there is always a buyer who sees this car the way you see it.I would build it to make someones dream come true to own a badass ride. I recently sold a galaxie that I custom built and the guy liked it so much.He liked the fact it was hand put together.seat upholstery was all hand stitched.I would have to admit that the labor put into building a car can be brutal But in the end its just amazing.

  2. Brendan M

    It’s hard to believe there’s still mopar’s like this out there, that aren’t sitting on Steve Dulcich’s farm.

  3. drivindadsdodge

    we are probably gonna see this eventually on a episode of Graveyard Cars with Mark and his Gang of Ghouls

    1. Ray Guardiano

      I\’d say pull the original engine/trans and store them both, replace it with a solid 440 with a Six Pak setup with 4 speed, do the brakes and front/rear suspension…make it mechanically safe and patch in metal on floorboards/trunk as needed, polish those mags with new tires and give a real good clean up. Maybe a new Legendary Legendary interior (do it yourself, save money) then….drive it and enjoy it…..piss off all your buddies who say you should spend THOUSANDS on a full routiseree restoration…..they are jealous that YOU got it and saved it. No drive it and enjoy, let the next owner spend the THOUSANDS for it\’s restoration….have fun with it NOW ! If people bitch about it, tell them you\’d gladly accept cash or checks toward it\’s full restoration !

  4. Robert

    Amazing how some of these great muscle cars (any brand) reach the point of nobody caring and letting them get to the point of such disrepair. I guess the good thing is that with the modern internet, it gets out there and maybe somebody with deep enough pockets will rescue it.

  5. KCR

    Jon is spot on. Great cars.Really piss off the guys that spent $100K having their restored. And see everyone at the car show looking at this ,and not their shinny one. Spend the $70 K . get it running and stopping. Drive the shit out of it for a few years. The price of those cars will come around again. Then let someone give ya $150K for it like it is.

  6. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    Full on restoration to maximise any profit as these cars sadly don’t turn up that often.

  7. Jack Boyd

    This Superbird with 440/6 is 1 of 16 built. Spend the $70,000.00 and restore to ordinal. I like some modern mod cars. And if it\’s not a trailer queen, dics brakes and etc.. are needed.
    But if you are going to moderate an old car. Get one that\’s not important, one of 100,000 build. Don\’t destroy a 1 of 16 model.

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