Factory 426 Hemi/4-Speed 1970 Plymouth Superbird

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The Plymouth Road Runner Superbird is one of those cars with looks that most people either love or don’t, but if you’re into the concept of a design whose purpose was to win races it’s hard not to at least respect them even if you are a Ford or Chevy guy.  And dominate NASCAR it did, with Richard Petty claiming 18 victories behind the wheel of his wing car in 1970 alone, but it was to be short-lived as the creation was so dominant on the speedway that it was banned the following year.  But one really good rule was in place by this time that made it imperative for Plymouth to produce one street version for every other dealership at that time in order for it to be race-eligible, resulting in over 1,900 cars hitting the dealer lots but few actually coming equipped with the 426 engine, making this 1970 Plymouth Superbird Hemi here on Craigslist one of the most desirable examples out there.  It’s been tearing up the streets of Washington state for quite some time now and is presently in Edmonds, where the seller has set an asking price of $525,000.

Attempting to place a number of precisely how many Superbirds were produced is a good way to start a long discussion at any Mopar event, but it seems to be generally agreed upon that approximately 1,920 hit the dealers, mostly with 440 engines.  135 or 136 appears to be a common assumption for how many of these were Hemi-equipped, which is how the car being offered here left the factory, and while the engine in the bay isn’t numbers-matching it is a correct date code.  The motor only has about 10k miles since being rebuilt and is connected to a Chrysler A-833 manual 4-speed, which the seller says makes the Bird more fun to drive, but the 18-spline transmission is also included in the sale.

More good news is the car still has the fender tag, which seems to confirm its pedigree with a breakdown of the numbers provided by the seller.  Some additional information we get is that the car’s present owner acquired the car back in 1982 and gave it a complete restoration.

With so few of the original Hemi Superbirds still running around, they’re not that difficult to keep track of, and I kept trying to remember where I’d seen this car before.  Then it dawned on me that years ago I had stumbled across a site telling the story of this one, which is owned by Bob Kropp of Arlington, WA, lovingly known by his peers as Superbird Bob.  Mr. Kropp has done an excellent job here describing his labor of love project of bringing the Superbird up to the condition we see it in today, and his entire website will be of interest to those of us who love winged warriors.

One of the things I admire the most about Bob is that he often likes to drive his dream instead of trailering it around everywhere, which has resulted in a few minor imperfections throughout the years here and there.  But to be in driver status and able to be enjoyed, it’s really hard to find much to fault inside or out.  The dash is said to be original except for a new wiring harness, plus a trio of gauges and the aftermarket tach seem to help confirm the car being offered here matches the photos from Bob’s website.

That’s Bob Kropp on the left wearing the muscle car shirt among the 3 men admiring the Superbird, at the NW Pacific Concours D’Elegance show back in 2014.  No explanation is offered as to why he’s finally decided to let go after more than 40 years, but if you happen to have a spare half-million lying around this seems like a good opportunity to become the next owner.  Apparently, Bob has enlisted the help of Panther Road Classics to assist in finding the car a new home, or perhaps has even made a deal with them already, but in any event, the Superbird hasn’t traveled far from the area it’s called home for the past four decades.  Is this one worth the asking price of $525k?

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Comments

  1. shelbyGT500Member

    Mike , thanks for a great story.

    Like 17
  2. Larry Bird 🐦

    I have six hemi birds

    To many to add another.

    Nice bird

    Like 22
    • Woofer WooferMember

      Hi Larry, you were my hero back when you played in the NBA. Looks like you spent your money wisely buying up all those HEMI Superbirds. I never did like that wing on the trunk so I wasn’t smart enough to buy one. I would love to see your garage though. Your buddy, Woofer

      Like 6
      • William

        That is not the real Larry Bird and he does not 6 of them.

        Like 4
      • William

        That is not the real Larry Bird. He also does not own 6 of them.

        Like 4
  3. B302

    “And dominate NASCAR it did, with Richard Petty claiming 18 victories behind the wheel of his wing car in 1970”, maybe but Mr. Petty did not win the 1970 championship.
    Bobby Isaac won the championship in 1970 driving the No. 71 Dodge Charger Daytona sponsored by K&K Insurance.

    Like 9
    • Lester

      I know where that car is. Wonder what that one is worth?

      Like 1
  4. Stan

    Nice info 302.
    What a stout powertrain on this beast.
    3.54 gear ⚙️. Passengers better be ready for lift off when you step on the gas ⛽️ and gun it through the gears.

    Like 3
  5. Domenic DAlessandro

    It’s just ugly. The front end and that ridiculous spoiler.

    Like 8
    • Butch Smith

      Nah, this ain’t ugly. Go look at the AMC Matador posted earlier, that’s UGLY!

      Like 16
      • JoeNYWF64

        Nah, the Matador aint ugly. Go look at the early 4 door only Chevy Spark https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Spark#/media/File:Chevrolet_Spark_LS+_1.2_%E2%80%93_Frontansicht,_26._Juni_2011,_Mettmann.jpg
        where the headlite/blinker assemblies are bigger than the wheels/tires!
        I’d rather look at worms.

        Like 4
      • TinCanSailor

        I had an uncle that bought a new AMC Matador (on purpose!) and drove it from Texas to visit family in the mid-Atlantic. I went for a ride in it and I remember that it was a remarkably quiet and comfortable car for the era. But man was it butt ugly!

        I’d imagine that there aren’t many left in good condition so it could become a collectible at some point.

        Like 0
    • Joe

      Hey Don, it’s obvious you been beat by these a few times.
      It had one thing to do, be faster than the competition.
      I am not trying to get you to like them, but I know why you don’t.
      We created Winged Warriors because we were there and was a crewman that ran them.
      Way too fast for other vehicles from the era. Had several.
      One sold for one point six million.
      If you bought this, put away, you could almost double your money.
      Buyers today don’t buy for the looks, they buy for the upward value.

      Like 3
      • Hoss

        Is that interior configuration as odd as I think it is? I have seen thousands of 70 Plymouth B bodies over the years and don’t recall if I ever saw one with bucket seats and a 4 speed that didn’t have a console or buddy seat. I’m certain this is the only Superbird I’ve seen like that.

        Like 1
    • Moondawg00

      Thats not ugly. Tesla’s Cybertruck is ugly.

      Like 19
  6. MajikMan

    Wow! Thought this looked familiar. I’ve lived in Arlington Washington since 1980. Super Nice. ~S

    Like 1
  7. JohnfromSC

    For $525K I would expect the engine compartment to be cleaned up better. Looks like someone repainted where they could reach, instead of taking off all the parts mounted to the fenders and firewall, then doing a proper respray ( look around the shock towers). Makes you wonder whatever else is been shortcutted. And cmon, you want $525K, and the place you list it is Craigslist?

    Like 9
    • Ron

      Why not put it on Craigslist? Cheap to list, here we are talking about it and if anyone Googles hemi Suerbird for sale it pops up multiple times. Very cost effective.

      Like 5
  8. Timothy R Herrod

    Superbirds weren’t banned in 71 on nascar tracks. They could still be ran but only with a 305 ci motor

    Like 8
    • Patrick

      And your right, just like other racing bodies, Mopar got limited by motor size or Weight their entire racing life.

      Like 1
  9. Danno

    I like these a lot, but the “Scraptona” hits higher on the desire-o-meter for me. This one will almost certainly end up under lock and key.

    Like 0
  10. B302

    Are you sure you are not “The Public Defender” ?
    The good ole USA does need good Public Defenders.
    Have a Great Day.

    Like 2
  11. steve

    Prices seems a bit steep for non-numbers matching engine. And I wonder, too, why someone would sell this on Craig’s List.

    Like 3
  12. Falcon Faver

    Sell on Craig’s List if you can not afford eBay.

    Like 0
  13. Robert Gunn

    I think its fairly priced

    Like 5
  14. Leslie MartinMember

    A lot of people may think these cars are ugly, but to me they are the ultimate expression of how “form follows function”. As the seller states in their CL listing: “The 1970 Plymouth Superbird, is an icon of engineering, and technology.”

    A Superbirds go, this particular example is as nice as they come IMHO. A factory Hemi 4 speed car in white over Blue Fire Metallic… what’s not to like?

    Only one thing bothers me about this listing. I can forgive the JC Whitney cupholders, non-matching Hemi and minimal cosmetic clean up efforts. But who sells a car with a half million dollar asking price on Craigslist? I’m sure the dealer will get close the that for the car, but it deserves to be presented in a better venue.

    Like 5
  15. FrankDMember

    Amazing: a car the dealers couldn’t give away in the 70s ends up being worth this kind of money. Reminds me of my 69 corvette big block. When straight, could pin the speedo needle. The damn thing didn’t handle, brake, or ride that nice.

    Like 1
    • Donnie Lee Sears

      But they built some Corvettes that you may never see again. The ZL1 is very rare.

      Like 0
  16. C Force

    If you’re in the market for a Superbird,this is it!Does not get any better than this,4spd with a Hemi.The price is right on,maybe even somewhat of a bargain

    Like 6
  17. Leo

    Just saw two of these cars sell at Barret Jackson last January for $425K each!

    Like 0
  18. Russ Ashley

    When these were new I’ve heard that dealers didn’t want to take one. They didn’t sell well and some wound up on the used car lot at very discounted prices. Seems a little like the Ford Broncos before 1980 when dealers didn’t want them either. Too bad we didn’t have a means to predict the future.

    Like 1
    • JoeNYWF64

      Some had the superbird nose replaced with the road runner nose to sell the car. & some had the rear spoiler removed. If there’s a way to tell if the car is a superbird from a tag or vin , one should ck their regular “road runner” – it may have been a superbird sitting on the lot when new! I bet there are several out there & the owners may not even realize what they have!
      The above also applies to a Charger Daytona.

      I wonder how many dealers back in the day wanted a Yugo or Plymouth Cricket on their lot. lol

      Like 0
      • Frank

        Check the A pillar for the wind deflector, I doubt anyone removed them as they looked pretty nice. I passed on three of them and kick myself all the time.

        Like 0
  19. KH

    It’s actually risky to drive this around. What’s the insurance for a half million dollar car?

    Like 0
    • JoeNYWF64

      It’s risky driving anything new or old around these days, when you see what some drivers do “instead of” driving, & also scrolling thru screens to adjust something simple(when you could do that by just hand feel on many vehicles 30 yrs ago), on how small the side windows are on some vehicles/the view out, & how dark some WINDSHIELDS are now on some vehicles that you can’t even see the driver! – what can he or she see, espec at night?! – with the cops doing nothing. Back in the ’80s, forget it – my friend had a 1st gen camaro with no tinted glass at all – not even a narrow tint on top of the windshield.He bought a cool “chrome” thin banner from JCW that said CAMARO you could see thru, & a cop made him remove it right on the spot from the top of the windshield when he got pulled over! Imagine that happening today.

      Like 0
  20. 433jeff

    An awesome creation from one of the big 3,Im glad NASCAR waited a bit to squash it.

    It would have been terrible to take a more competitive technology and stifle it.

    Like 1
  21. Demonsteve

    I love the guy’s who say it’s ugly, would you still hate the wing and that ridiculous nose if it was sitting in your garage with that kind of price tag on it, probably not. Hell, be envious not jealous,The owner is sitting back with a big smile on their face waiting for that trip to the bank.

    Like 3
  22. Bear

    The days of the muscle car, back in the 70’s I worked washing cars at a Dodge dealership after school and all day Saturday. I saw several of these back then and other cars with a hemi. I remember the owner pulling the hemi out and putting a 383 in because of insurance
    He had a small building with several 426 hemi’s stored when he retired new new owner scraped them saying they were worthless.
    In the 80’s you could buy these fairly cheap

    Like 1
  23. Bob Kropp

    Thank you Mike for the article about my Superbird. Yes I have had the car for over 40 years now and it has always been a driving car. It has only been trailer to ONE show in those 40 years. Everyone who knows me knows my motto is TRAILERS ARE FOR BOATS. It is simply time to find a new care taker for this awesome car. Enjoy 40 years of pictures on my web site superbirdbob.com.

    Like 1

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