His­tory of the Superbird

The Shed - - Car Restoratio­n -

De­vel­oped specif­i­cally for Nascar rac­ing, the Superbird was a highly mod­i­fied, short-lived ver­sion of the Ply­mouth Road Run­ner and a fol­lowup de­sign to sis­ter com­pany Dodge’s Charger Daytona.

The 1970 Superbird is a spe­cial­ized stock car, fac­tory-built for rac­ing. Only 1920 Su­per­birds were made, a lim­ited num­ber to qual­ify for the stock car rac­ing cir­cuit. These mus­cle cars were raced at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour (322kph) at Nascar events.

The Charger 500 ver­sion that be­gan the 1969 sea­son was the first Amer­i­can car to be de­signed aero­dy­nam­i­cally us­ing a wind tun­nel and com­puter anal­y­sis, and later was mod­i­fied into the Daytona ver­sion with nose and tail.

The Superbird’s smoothed-out body and nose cone were fur­ther re­fined from those of the Daytona, and the street ver­sion’s re­tractable fi­bre­glass head­lights added 19 inches (48cm) to the Road Run­ner’s orig­i­nal length. The rear wing was mounted on tall ver­ti­cal struts that put it into less dis­turbed air, in­creas­ing the ef­fi­ciency of the down­draught placed on the car’s rear axle.

These cars were banned in some Amer­i­can states, as they reached such high speeds and were deadly in wet con­di­tions. Many mus­cle car crashes were recorded.

“The power-to-brain ra­tio was all wrong for some driv­ers,” says Michael.

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