Back in 1970, the Plymouth Superbird was built to do one thing, and one thing only; dominate NASCAR racing. With the legendary Richard Petty behind the wheel, the ‘Bird won 18 races that year—most of them at speeds over 200 mph—before NASCAR outlawed the car the next season.
NASCAR’s 1970 homologation rules required Chrysler to build 1,920 road-going Superbirds, complete with the race car’s bolt-on, air-piercing nose cone and outrageous rear wing. This painstakingly restored, 80,000-mile example finished in High Impact Lemon Twist Yellow, was one of those cars.
What sets this vehicle apart is that it’s one of only 308 equipped with a thundering 440 cubic-inch (7.2-liter) Super Commando Six Barrel V-8 engine and a four-speed stick-shift.
While not as potent as the range-topping, high-output 426 Hemi version, the 440 cranked out a muscular 390 hp—just 35 horses shy of the asphalt-peeling 426. The power train is enough to punch the Superbird to 60 mph from a standstill in around 5.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 150 mph.
Restored 13 years ago by a specialist in Washington State, this hugely collectible example is ‘numbers-matching’ and comes with its original VIN, fender and body tags, along with those must-have, pizza-sized Road Runner decals on the sides of that towering rear wing.
Inside, the fully restored interior is all period-correct black vinyl with a too-cool wooden pistol-grip shifter and trademark ‘Beep! Beep!’ horn.
Russo and Steele estimates the car’s value at $250,000 to $300,000, which seems to be in line with recent auction results. At a Mecum auction last March, a fully restored 440 six-barrel, four-speed sold for $357,500.
That’s a far cry from 1970, when a brand new Superbird would have set you back around $4,776. The car’s polarizing styling, however, turned off many customers and a majority of the cars were left sitting in dealer lots unsold, often for years.
The Russo and Steele collector car auction runs from January 15 through 19 in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Superbird is scheduled to cross the block on Saturday the 18th.