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1970 Plymouth Road Runner news, pictures, specifications, and information

The Plymouth Superbird was introduced in 1970 and shared many similarities in design to the Dodge Daytona. The Superbird was based on the Plymouth Road Runner except for the airfoil and nose. The Road Runner was based on the Belvedere but given Warner Brother cartoon figures and a horn that made a 'Beep Beep' sound. To inspire sales and to compete with the other muscle cars of the day, these vehicles were given large and powerful engines.

The spoiler on the Superbird was higher and more angled than the Daytonas. Part of the reason for mounting the wing so high was to allow better access to the trunk. Under 90 mph, the wing was basically useless.

Rules changed on the NASCAR circuit for 1970, making it hard to homologate a vehicle for racing. The rules for the year prior stated that 500 examples had to be produced before being allowed to race on the stock car circuit. For 1970 the rules stated that at least one example had to be built for each dealership.

There were three engine choices available. The Super Commando 440 V8 with a single four barrel carburetor was the most popular of the engine options. With 375 horsepower and 480 foot-pounds of torque, the Superbird could accelerate from zero-to-sixty in just under six-seconds.

With the 440 cubic-inch V8 with Six Pack, the quarter-mile was achieved in 14 and a-half seconds at 103 mph. The most expensive and most powerful engine available to the Superbird was the 426 Hemi. The 425 horsepower engine carried the Superbird from zero-to-sixty in just 4.8 seconds and reduced the quarter-mile time by almost a second.

During its production run lasting only one year, 1920 examples were produced. The vehicles outfitted with the Hemi engine are the rarest, with only 93 examples produced. 1,162 examples were outfitted with the 440 and single four-barrel carburetor. 665 examples were built with the 440 Six Pack.

Part of the reason for the low production figures was the controversial oversized wing and angular nose. Also, the cartoon characters and 'beep-beep' horn were 'love-or-hate'. The performance was undisputed and the top speed was unbeatable. Throughout the early part of the 1970's, Plymouth continued the production of the Road Runner. Though, due to increasing emission and government regulations, the horsepower era of the 1960's was coming to a close. Insurance premiums were costing more and many felt that these high powered machines were unsafe for the road. This would bring about a whole new trend of fuel-efficient luxury machines replacing the bare-bones, high performance, muscle cars.

When the nose on this 'Bird was stuffed, it was repaired by Richard Petty....and then autographed. This impressive muscle car is a Concours 1st place winner.

By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2006
Superbird Coupe
Chassis Num: RM23U0A177565
 
Plymouth was required nearly 2000 Plymouth Superbirds for 1970 to satisfy homologation requirements for NASCAR racing at Daytona and Talladega. The rules stated that at least one example needed to be provided for each manufacturer's US dealer. For 1970, Plymouth produced 1920 examples of the Road Runner Superbird for street use.

The season opening race was the Daytona 500, which was won by a Plymouth Road Runner Superbird driven by Pete Hamilton for Petty Enterprises.

The Plymouth Road Runner and Dodge Charger were built on the same Chrysler platform. Even though this was the case, there were many differences between the two. The bodywork was different and the Superbird's nose was one inch longer than the Charger's. The wing had a raised entry angle that swept back farther and inclined towards the body's centerline.

This 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions in Amelia Island, Florida where it was estimated to sell between $200,000 - $250,000. The car is powered by a 440 cubic-inch V8 engine that is capable of producing 375 horsepower. There is a three-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel power-assisted drum brakes. The aerodynamic body rests comfortably on the 116-inch wheelbase.

The cars first owner was a 16-year old boy from North Carolina. He was too young to purchase the car so his mother signed for it. The boy claims he raised the money to purchase the car, $4,298, from his paper route. On January 4th of 1971 the enthusiastic driver was given a ticket for 'Failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision.' The accident caused damage to the front of the vehicle. The Chrysler-Plymouth dealership did not have replacement parts, so he got them from Petty Enterprises. The street nose was replaced with a NASCAR racing nose. The differences are slight, but visible. The NASCAR unit has two sets of spoiler mounting holes and a subtly different shape.

Since new, the car has traveled just over 5000 miles. It has been treated to a restoration which has brought the vehicle to like-new condition. The original spare tire and both jacks can be found in the trunk.

At auction, the car was left unsold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007
Superbird Coupe
Chassis Num: RM23U0A175667
 
Sold for $98,000 at 2007 Bonhams.
New streamlining and aerodynamic downforce techniques helped the winged Mopars achieve new successes in 1969. Racing regulations dictated that at least 500 examples of the Dodge Charger Daytona's be constructed to qualify for racing.
For the following season, Plymouth wanted to imitate the successes of its sibling company with their Road Runner Superbird. By now, rules required a higher number of vehicles to be constructed to satisfy the homologation requirements. Satisfying this rule only allowed them to qualify them for racing on NASCAR's two high speed ovals, Daytona and Talladega.

The season-opener was the Daytona 500 which was won by Pete Hamilton driving a Petty Enterprises Plymouth Road Runner Superbird. The Superbird was built atop the same mid-sized Chrysler platform as the Dodge Charger, but the two cars were uniquely different, evident in the bodywork. The Superbird had a nose that was 1-inch longer than the Changer's and had a raised entry angle.

The rear wing on the production based cars did little other than turn heads. It was given this height so that is could allow enough room for the trunk lid to open without interference with the wing. For the NASCAR entries, the angle of the wing and the height were carefully tested for each track to provide optimal performance at speeds.

Most of the road-going Superbirds were equipped with plenty of luxury and convenience options, as well as performance equipment. The list includes the 375 horsepower 440 Magnum V8, Torqueflite automatic transmission, performance axle, power steering, power disc brakes, black vinyl roof, and hood hold down pins.

This 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird is finished in Lime Light Green High Impact color which was original to the car. It was special ordered without the rear transverse tape stripe. It came from the factory with bucket seats, console, tinted windshield, undercoating, outside mirrors, AM radio, rim blow steering wheel and Rallye road wheels.

The engine in this car has the period-correct Edelbrock three two-barrel carburetor intake manifolds that were used on the production 440 Magnum Six Barrel engines. The dashboard and the inside of the light wing were signed by Richard Petty.

In 2007 this Road Runner Superbird was brought to the Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club in Carmel, California where it was auctioned at the Bonhams auction, An Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia. Bidding reached a high of $98,000 (plus premium and taxes) which was enough to satisfy the reserve and the lot was sold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
Coupe
Chassis Num: RM21-ROA-219733
 
The Super Bird version of the Road Runner was an effort to dominate NASCAR racing with Chrysler products in 1970. The Plymouth and Dodge Daytona only saw one season of racing before it was felt the sloped nose and giant rear wing gave these cars an unfair advantage.

This 1970 Plymouth 'Hemi' Road Runner still has its original 426 cubic-inch Hemi engine. The base price was $2,896; this fully loaded example was sold new for $4,770.75. The odometer has only 9,700 original miles and it is painted in its original Impact Red painted with black striping and accents.

In 2008, this vehicle was offered for sale at the 'Sports & Classics of Monterey' presented by RM Auctions. It had an estimated value of $120,000 - $150,000 and was offered without reserve. Though it had no reserve, it was not sold for the high bid of $85,000.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2010
Superbird Coupe
 
Originally purchased in 1970 by M.H. Brown, this is a column shift car, so there's no bothersome console in the way, and only an AM radio was on board to whistle along with. Almost immediately, the Superbird was taken in to have a factory cruise control unit installed. This car was only driven for three years, and thereafter was stored in a barn. Prior to storing, Mr. Brown coated the car with a light smear of Vaseline, protecting its chrome, stainless steel and paint. For 15 years, this car became nestled in a time capsule.

Repeatedly, Mr. Brown would start the car, making sure it was well maintained. Due to family debates, in 1988 Mr. Brown drove the car back to Dukes Sales. With only 11,675 documented miles on it, the factory applied original items back to the car such as tires and floor mats. Over the following years, the car has been nicknamed the 'Bodacious Bird' and the 'Geriatric Superbird.'

Mr. Anderson purchased the car on October 13, 2600 and brought it back from to Findlay, Ohio, ten miles down the road to its original home.

This car has been featured in April/May 1995 Mopar Magazine, July 1994 Mopar Collector's Guide, 'Car and Driver' and Horsepower TV'. In 1994 it was the only car to win The Platinum Award of Excellence at the Winged Warrior Reunion in Talladega, scoring 994 points out of a possible 100.
Superbird Coupe
Chassis Num: RM23UOA167140
 
Sold for $110,000 at 2008 RM Auctions.
For the past twenty-four years, this 1970 Plymouth Superbird has been in the ownership of individual. It has had only three owners since new. Since new the car has been treated to a re-paint in its factory-correct livery of Lemon Twist. There is a black vinyl roof, correct decals, chrome-plated exhaust trumpets, and rally wheels with trim rings. It is one of the few Superbirds to be equipped with dealer-installed air conditioning. Mounted under the bonnet is a rebuilt 440 'Super Commando V8 engine and has traveled just 100 miles since that time. There is a Hurst-shifted four-speed manual transmission and period correct battery, wires and hoses.

In 2008 this 1970 Plymouth Superbird was brought to RM Auctions' Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook. It was estimated to sell for $140,000-$170,000. Bidding reached $110,000 including buyer's premium which was enough to satisfy the cars reserve. The lot was sold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2008
Superbird Coupe
 
This Superbird is 1 of 1935 built for the 1980 model year. The Plymouth Superbird was built to compete in NASCAR Racing. All Superbirds were built between October 23 and December 15, 1969. This particular one was built on November 13th of 1969.

The current owner purchased this car in September of 2003, from the original owner who bought it new on his 16th birthday, with his fathers help. The car sold new for $4,647.25 and has a value in excess of $100,000 today. The current owner has restored the car over a 3 year period.

While still in the possession of the original owner, it was stolen in 1985 and recovered a few days later in Savannah, GA and returned to him, in Statesboro, GA.

The car is Limelight Green and has a matching numbers drive train with all correct components. it is number 108 of 1,084 440-4BBL Superbirds currently registered for the USA.
Coupe
 
Plymouth wanted a car that could be sold for less than $3,000 and could travel the quarter mile in less than 14 seconds. The car that accomplished these goals was the Roadrunner. The Road Runner was named after a cartoon character that had been made famous by its 'beep beep' sound and featured Wiley Coyote. The steering wheel on certain models had a little Roadster and the air cleaner had a cartoon with the logo 'Coyote Duster.'

In 1969, Motor Trend named the Roadrunner their 'Car of the Year.'

The base engine displaced 383 cubic-inches and had heads, intake, cam and exhaust manifolds from the 440 Super Commando. The 383 engine produced 335 horsepower. The standard transmission was a four-speed manual gearbox. To reduce weight and increase speed, the car came with limited amenities which meant it had no chrome trim. For a few hundred dollars more, the 426 Hemi engine could be purchased.

In 1980, this car was purchased by its current owner. It is one of 19 built with the Hemi engine and has the original wheels and tires. The rest of the car was restored after being damaged by storms and subsequent fire while it was stored. The 2009 Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance was the first time the car was featured and offered for judging.

By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2009
Superbird Coupe
 
This racing Superbird was built by Nichols Engineering, Chrysler Corporation's factory stock car builder. It was delivered new to factory-supported driver Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa. Ramo immediately took the car to Daytona in February 1970, winning the ARCA 300 - the first win for the Superbird model.

Stott and the car also won the 1970 Vulcan 500 at Talladega on the way to the ARCA championship. He also scored top ten finishes at the 1970 Daytona 500 and Talladega 500 NASCAR events. Car and driver continued on with success in USAC stock car competition scoring a win at Michigan in 1972.

After the 1972 season, the Superbird was retired by Mr. Stott, who retained ownership until 1988. The car is unique, having never been involved in a serious incident, and retains its original body panels. It was never re-bodied or raced as a newer model, and remains essentially in as-raced condition.
Superbird Coupe
 
This is one of two Superbirds built by Petty. The car won seven races, all on the super speedway tracks of over 1.5 miles. This car has been on display in the den of its current owners house in Virginia and the 2010 Amelia Island Concours was the first time in over 30 years it has been outside of his house. The Superbirds are an iconic car that had a short life due to changes in the NASCAR rules. Still it is one of the most recognized and desirable cars from that period. The Hemi powered 'Wing Cars' are capable of over 220 MPH and held the closed course speed record many years.
Superbird Coupe
 
This 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird was delivered to a dealer in Kentucky with the 440 cubic-inch 'Six-Pack' engine producing 390 horsepower and an automatic transmission. It sat on the dealer's lot for eight years until the dealership was closed and the car retained by the former dealer. By 1987 it had accumulated only 12 miles on the odometer. The current owner acquired the car in 2009 with 5,200 miles on the odometer. It may be the most exceptional original and documented Plymouth muscle car in existence.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2010
Superbird Coupe
 
The Super Bird was a sub model of Plymouth's popular Road Runner muscle car. Its special sloping nose and astoundingly tall rear spoiler were special modifications to make the model more competitive in the popular NASCAR racing circuit. The original plan was to build one for every two dealers in order to meet homologation requirements. It became even more popular than anticipated and 1920 examples were produced for the 1970 model year, despite the extremely high base price of $4298.

The standard engine for the Superbird was a 440 cubic-inch V8 fed through a four barrel Holley carburetor. Of course, the race versions were powered by the legendary 426 cubic-inch 'Hemi', of which a street version was available. The original owner specified that option for this car and paid an additional $841 for the privilege of having a published 425 horsepower under the hood. This car has had only two owners with the current owner acquiring it in 1974.
Superbird Coupe
 
This car is one of 1,920 made, with 1970 the only year of production. The Superbird was a highly modified Road Runner conceived as a homologation special for NASCAR. It turned out to be something of an engineering and political tour de force. Plymouth wanted Richard petty back in the driver's seat and an 'aero' car to whip Ford's Torino Talledega. Petty succeeded in winning eight races in 1970. Ironically the Superbird was too extreme for showroom success and many sat unsold for two years of more. Today, their value has soared. On a lighter note, the Superbird horn still mimics the Road Runner cartoon character.
The Plymouth RoadRunner was developed as a mid-priced car and was placed between the Satellie and Belvedere model line up. It was built on the B-body platform. The RoadRunner was light and featured few amenities. This not only drove the price of the vehicle into territory that most could afford, but it gave an advantage over heavier vehicles. The front and back seats were both bench. There was no radio, no air conditioning, no cruise control, no trim, and very few color options. Most of the options available favored speed and acceleration.

It was a solid car and a favorite among moonshiners. It was faster than most police vehicles and due to its sturdy construction, was very reliable.

The RoadRunner came equipped with a 383 cubic-inch V8 engine capable of producing 335 horsepower. A four-speed manual transmission was standard equipment. For about $715 dollars, a 426 Hemi could be added making it the fastest vehicle on the road.

Plymouth paid Warner Brothers $50,000 to use the Road Runner cartoon image. Due to short production time, the decals were grey. Along with the image, the horn went 'beep-beep'.

In 1968, Plymouth sold 45,000 examples.

In 1969, bucket seats became available. The decals were now in color. A convertible option joined the line-up. An inexpensive engine, when compared to the Hemi, became available. This was a three-two barrel carbureted, 440 cubic-inch V8, dubbed the 440 Six Pack. Nearly 90,000 RoadRunners were sold during 1969.

In 1970, an Air Grabber hood was added. Operated by remote control from the passenger compartment, this would open and close a vent in the hood, creating a hood scope. The three-speed manual gearbox became standard while the 4-speed was now offered as optional equipment.

Due to increasing government safety regulations and emission controls, the engines began to decrease in size during the 1971 model year. Fuel prices and insurance costs also contributed to the demise of the horsepower. The four-barrel 440 cubic-inch engine was no longer offered. The horsepower ratings for all engines decreased. The wheelbase of the vehicle decreased from 116 inches to 115. The convertible was no longer offered. A little over 14,000 examples were sold in 1971.

In 1972, 340 cubic-inch V8 engine was now available. This engine was powerful and light. Less than 7,630 Road Runners were sold during the 1972 model year.

In 1973, a 318 cubic-inch engine was standard, producing 170 horsepower. The 440 and 400 cubic-inch engines were still offered as optional equipment. The vehicle received styling updates.

In 1974, the 360 cubic-inch engine replaced the 340 V8. The 318, two-barrel engine now produced a miserable 150 horsepower.

In 1975, the RoadRunner was changed to the Fury body.

In 1976, the RoadRunner was changed to the Volare body. The standard engine was the 318 cubic-inch engine offering 150 horsepower. The 360 cubic-inch engine produced 170 horsepower. The RoadRunner package included a three-speed floor shifter, interior trim, and an improved suspension.

In 1977, an on-board engine computer, called the Lean Burn system, adorned the interior of the RoadRunner. Spoilers, stripes, and Ralley wheels, and window louvers became part of the RoadRunner package.

In 1979, production was just over 1000 units.

The 1980 model year was the last one for the Volare and Road Runner.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2012
Superbird Coupe
 
This Plymouth Superbird was purchased by the current owner at Altman Kramer Chrysler-Plymouth Dodge in Huntington, Indiana during late March 1970. It is mainly original, barring the one repaint that was executed many years ago. The car was repainted because of basic nicks and scratches from being stored in the family garage. It is finished in the correct color for this car, Alpine White and has an all original Black interior. The mileage is original and totals less than 29,000 miles.

The engine is an original from the factory V-Code that is 440-cid with 390 horsepower with three two-barrel carburetors ('Six-Pack') and is connected to a column-mounted automatic transmission. The seat is uncommonly the bench type, of which few were built in this power / transmission / seat combination. Production numbers vary somewhat, depending on the source. According to the Plymouth Superbird NASCAR Race Program Serial Number List, 1,162 cars were produced with the 440 four-barrel. Another 665 carried the 440 with three-two-barrels (like this car), and the remaining 93 were powered by the 426 Hemi. These figures add to a total of 1,920 cars produced. Of the 665 examples built with this engine, 408 had the automatic transmission.

The Superbird was undercoated from new, has a dealer-installed hood tachometer, Rallye wheels, AM radio and optional chrome exhaust tips. The car's one owner states that the vehicle has only been in the rain 'a few times' in its 43 years and has never been exposed to winter conditions.
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