Own A Piece Of History: 1978 Plymouth Street Kit

If you’re a Richard Petty and NASCAR fan, you may not remember 1978 fondly. It’s the only year that Petty didn’t place in the Winners Circle. So, it might be bittersweet to have one of only 247 1978 Plymouth Volare Street Kits from that year created as tribute to the great driver. This example, found here on eBay, has only 22k original miles, and according to the seller has been in hiding after driving for only two years.

A far cry from the cars that actually saw the oblong track, the Street Kit was only available in an automatic, in this case shifting a 360 V8 – a nice power plant, but not going to set any records off the line. What the car lacks in real power, it makes up in plastic power – sporting wide wheel flares, fake hood pins, back glass vented hold downs, and a straight up spoiler.  Its two-tone paint job finishes off the tribute on this version. Most dealers (or buyers) put the famous number 43 decals on the side – and it’s fun that that owner has the surviving original stickers in the trunk.

You can find recent sales of this survivor in the $10k – $12k range, with one we featured a few years ago listed over $15k. Currently at not at reserve, there might be some room to profit on catching and releasing this Volare for the right price. It certainly seems to be in decent shape, with the interior (featuring that unnatural shade of blue they so fondly made in the late seventies) front seats, dash, panels, and rear seats all unscathed.

It’s an eye-catching car, that’s for sure – and at 40 years old, it’s certainly in better shape, and flashier than most 40 year olds I know! So this car will catch the fancy (and open the pocketbook) of a very particular buyer – one with Mopar dreams on a budget, a diehard Petty or NASCAR fan, or perhaps both. I’d unfurl those 43’s from the trunk, buff up the blue two tone, and hit the streets with this wild Kit survivor.

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Comments

  1. mike D

    while this one looks nice, I had a horrible experience in the Mid 80s with a 77 Volare.. so, I wouldn’t even consider it unless I had $$ back up for repairs , or to just rebuild the thing so it wouldn’t fall apart

    • Chris

      The bottom line on any car is how Dependable it is and how long it will last will depend on who’s behind the wheel and what type of Maintenance the car receives.

      • Miguel

        That is not true when the car comes out of the factory with problems like a lot of these Aspens and Volares did.

  2. jdjonesdr

    Lower it an inch or two, wider tires, paint all the trim the same color.

  3. Miguel

    A version of that car, well not the Petty version, was sold in Mexico and it was called the Super Bee.

  4. Miguel

    It was sold with bucket seats and a 4 speed on the floor.

    • Billy

      The four speeds you could get here with a Volare (and the smaller engines to boot) were fourth gear over drives, not real sporty. This looks like more fun.

      • Miguel

        I put it on my list to go look at. The more I look at it the more interesting it is getting. I hope the Mexican quality control was better than the American quality control.

  5. Miguel

    This one is going for the equivalent of $3600.00. Not a bad price I guess.

  6. Superdessucke

    You’d need it to run in the 9’s to adequately back up all of those sporty bits. Wow. Just wow.

  7. fish56

    Looks like the infamous lean burn attached to the air cleaner.
    That Superbee in Mexico looks much better. Fender flares look to be real, in steel. Thanks for posting Miguel.

    • Miguel

      We don’t have that smog crap here in Mexico so I expect the car to be much faster than anything that came out in the US, but I can’t get over the fact that it is still a 1980 Dodge Aspen, or Dart as it is called here.

      • LAB3

        Was in Peru in ’87 and these where being built in Brazil and sold as new, apparently Chrysler moved all the tooling down there.

      • Billy

        As much as I detest the lean burn on my Mirada, I do enjoy cleaner air. I recall the smog and haze over our major cities in the early 1970s that you could see for miles before actually getting into one. Please tell me that Mexico now has some environmental controls. Perhaps thats why so many Mexican citizens want to get here, because they want to breath easier.

      • Miguel

        Actually Mexico is very strict on their smog system at least in el Estado De Mexico and in Mexico City.

        I doubt any American would agree to what the Mexicans have to deal with.

        If you have a car that is over 3 years old, you are only allowed to drive it 6 days a week.

        If you car is a little older you can only drive it 6 days a week and one Saturday of the month you can’t drive your car.

        This is why there are more new cars sold in Mexico City than there are babies born.

    • Chris

      The lean Burn System was an electronic mixture control solenoid used in the carburetor to help with more Precision fuel delivery to lower nox and tailpipe emissions. These work very well when tuned properly and not messed with. Today’s systems are far superior because we actually have the technology to run a full engine controller with electronic controls to handle the fuel management system.

  8. Coventrycat

    They looked cool in the day, but those fender flares look like they belong on a Jeep.

  9. John D

    I had wanted to order one as a driver for myself. That idea was quickly nixed.

    As I found out with the Prowler, 300C SRT, and Crossfire, people did not come to our store for new hotrods. We did quite well with used Crossfire roadsters though.

  10. Miguel

    Here are all the negatives for this car as listed in the ad

    Because this vehicle was driven, it does have a few dings here and there.  The muffler is original and needs to be replaced.  Typical of late 70’s Chrysler vehicles, the fit and finish of the body panels is fair at best.  The passenger door was evidently scratched and repainted early in its life, but the overall condition of the paint is very good and the dark blue metallic really pops in sunlight.  The underside is original with original shocks, brake hoses, etc., and typical of the era, the cosmoline protection of the suspension components was thin, leading to surface scale on the bare metal components.  As seen in the pics, three of the wheel flares have developed cracks, which is common for these models.

    There seems like quite a few for a 20K car.

  11. John B

    Oh, those awful flares! I liked the Volare’ Super Coupe and Road Runner varieties much better.

  12. Pat

    Oh lord, deliver me from J.C. Whitney! A turd with added gaudy plastic corn and peanuts stuck on it.

  13. curt

    I like the mexican superbee a lot better….just looks like a nicer and cleaner car..

  14. Rick Byrne

    Don’t dismiss the power of these cars. The 360 was specially tuned for the Super Coupes and Petty Kit Cars. They were the fastest US production car in the year they were built, faster than a Corvette. That’s less a reflection of the prowess of these cars, though, than the smog-choked engines of the time. But it would still be cool to own the fastest car of any year.

    Like 1
    • Chris

      You are 100% correct Rick the 360 powered Dodge little red express truck and warlock trucks were also the fastest production trucks around in 78 79 equipped with a 360.

      Like 1
  15. Tort Member

    It may possibly be a good investment but it is so gaudy and ugly I wouldn’t drive it across the street. Maybe on an oval track but no where else.

    • Miguel

      I don’t see how it could be a good investment when three of the special, only on this car, fender flares are cracked.

      Without the add-ons, what makes this car special or worth that money?

  16. Nova Scotian

    Hmmm. Neat car. Drive as is. I guess it has value. But how much. That’s all in the eye of the beholder. Museum piece?

  17. RicK

    Wonder what kind of movie it would be to import that 4 speed Dart Super Bee into the U.S.? It seems like a real bargain for $3600. I’ve brought cars in from Canada before because they can be way cheaper given the significance difference in value between the US and Canadian dollar (most recently an ’06 Mustang GT) and with NAFTA, as long as they meet U.S. emissions and crash standards it’s very easy, mostly because they were built on the same assy line as their American counterparts. I suspect bringing in a car built in Mexico may be more difficult because of emissions compliance issues.

    • Miguel

      I am going to check on all of that.

      I know people sending VW Bugs to the US. I am not sure how they are getting around the emission issues.

      Some research is warranted.

      Maybe some of you guys know. When a car has collector plates or antique car plates do they have to be smogged, or does it exempt them from that process like it does here in Mexico?

      • The Walrux

        Anything over 25 years can be imported as an exempt vehicle.

  18. Bruce

    The lean burn system made these cars truly DANGEROUS to drive in traffic. My family had one for two years and it nearly caused over a dozen accidents when it would stall as you pulled out into traffic. Remove that system and it might, I repeat MIGHT be safe. There are few enough of them left that it would not cause much additional pollution but with that system in place it is DANGEROUS.

  19. Reg Bruce

    Re the infamous “LEAN BURN SYSTEM” —
    Otherwise known by the poor sods who had to work on them as the “Shake and Bake” system due to the positioning of the computer on the aircleaner housing — obviously a nice vibration-free and high underhood temperature-free position wouldn’t you say? Many highway patrol cruisers had the computer mounted beneath the passenger’s seat to avoid these issues.
    This system actually controlled only the ignition system/spark advance and not the fuel mixture (that would come a bit later but be called “Combustion Control”).
    On a Lean Burn the only thing related to the carburetor was the throttle position transducer which gave the computer information on how fast the throttle was opening or closing — when it worked.
    Those were definitely NOT the good old days if you were a Chrysler mechanic!
    RB

  20. Bill Wilkman

    Just plain silly. A footnote in automotive history at best.

  21. Newtown Jack

    These cars were also available in 2-tone red.

  22. Clay Bryant

    I had a 360 pickup and had plenty of power and been around a lot of cars in my life. Drive something for the esthetics for a change, don’t “see yourself” coming down the street and enjoy it for what it is. I would like to see some of the cars of the “experts” on here and bet there’s a lot of “cookie cutter” rides they own. Somewhere in my files I have the press kit for this.

    • Miguel

      What do you consider a cookie cutter ride? You mean like Honda Accord?

  23. Mitch Ross Member

    I just drove my VAM Rambler Lerma across the border, still driving it in NYC with Mexican plates

  24. KW

    I saw one in person for the first time on Friday night at the racetrack. They actually look better in person. It was also fun to explain to the kids why we were so excited to see one!

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