Two 1970 Plymouth Superbirds Set For Auction – No Reserve!

The Plymouth Superbird was born from a culture of “win on Sunday, sell on Monday,” and was designed to deliver the marque success in NASCAR. This it managed to do, with the Superbird, and its cousin, the Dodge Daytona, managing to secure a total of 38 race wins during the 1970 NASCAR season. Rule changes for the 1971 season saw the end of these be-winged monsters, but the intervening years have seen the Superbird grow in cult status, popularity, and value. Finding a beautifully restored example at auction happens on occasion. Finding a pair that are going together is a rare treat, but finding that pair being offered at No Reserve is virtually unheard of. That is the case here, with these cars set to go under the hammer early in the New Year. Located in Scottsdale, Arizona, you will find these amazing twins listed for sale here at Barrett-Jackson. They are set to go to auction around January 11th, 2020, and as I said, they are being offered with No Reserve. So, let’s take a look at each of them individually, and see what the next owner will be getting for their money.

The first Superbird is finished in Lemon Twist Yellow and underwent a full nut-and-bolt restoration around 2-years-ago. It presents beautifully, and it is hard to find anything that can be faulted with the car’s presentation. The Superbird essentially looks like it has just rolled off the showroom floor, and I suspect that it hasn’t done much work since the restoration was completed. It’s no surprise to find that there is not a spot of rust to be seen anywhere, while panel gaps and fit are very impressive.

As can be the case so often with cars like the Superbird, there is a mass of conflicting information surrounding many aspects of the car. The first of these revolves around build totals, with various sources quoting figures as low as 1,290, through to a high of 1,935 cars. You would think that this figure would be easy to confirm, but when you are dealing with cars that were built as motorsport homologation specials, this isn’t necessarily so. Manufacturers have been known to be a bit “loose” with the truth when it comes to these figures. They do this to ensure eligibility for their vehicle while minimizing risk and cost for them as a manufacturer. I am not for one moment suggesting that this might have been the case with Plymouth, but…who knows? What isn’t in question is the vinyl top, and you won’t find an original Superbird without one. A more streamlined rear window was fitted to the Superbird in a bid to improve aerodynamics. The same thing occurred on the Daytona, but the changes were hand-finished on those due to low build numbers. On the higher-volume Superbird, this wasn’t seen as economically viable, so the conversion work was finished to a relatively acceptable level, and then the whole thing was covered with a vinyl top to disguise it. Easy, cheap, and effective.

When you decided that a new Superbird was just what you wanted to park in your driveway, you faced three choices when it came to what engine you would like. The most desirable was the Hemi, but hot on its heels was the 440ci Six-Pack. That’s what you get here, and when new, this produced a healthy 390hp. This Superbird is a numbers-matching car, and in addition to the 440, you get a 4-speed A833 manual transmission, power steering, and power brakes. We receive no information on how well the car runs and drives, but if the presentation is any indication, then it should be pretty impressive. It is also worth noting that with a mere 55,000 original miles on the odometer, the car has very low mileage for its age.

The white interior trim in the Plymouth presents beautifully, and there is nothing that I can really fault here. When it comes to luxury appointments, this is a car that didn’t score many, beyond an AM radio. Mind you, grabbing that awesome pistol-grip shifter would seem pretty luxurious when things were getting serious. It really is an interior that is designed to be basic and purposeful, and I think that it achieves on both of these counts.

Just like its brother, this Lime Light Green Superbird has also been the recipient of a full restoration, but in this case, it was completed around 5-years-ago. Once again, we are confronted with a car of virtually faultless presentation, and when I look at this pair, I struggle to decide which one I like best. Really, it’s a bit like being asked to choose a favorite child, so I don’t think that I’ll go there. Apart from build totals, another fallacy with the Superbird surrounds the height of the rear wing. There is a belief that it was designed to be the height that it is to allow the deck lid to open cleanly per NASCAR rules. In fact, no such rule existed at that point in time, and the wing was raised to a point where it was exposed to “clean” air at speed, to maximize downforce. Similarly, the scoops on the tops of the front fenders had absolutely nothing to do with tire clearance as is often asserted, but in the race-cars, these had holes cut beneath them to allow air out from beneath the fenders, reducing aerodynamic drag. In fact, the scoops on road-going Superbird had no such holes cut below them.

The Green Superbird shares a lot in common with its brother, including its numbers-matching mechanical configuration. With 390hp on board, the Superbird was quite the performer. It was capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in around 5.6 seconds. A ¼ mile could be dispatched in 14.1 seconds, and for a 4/5-seat road car of this era, a top speed of 127mph was also nothing to be sneezed at. While there have always been some question marks hanging over the build totals for the Superbird, what doesn’t seem to be in dispute is the fact that only 716 Superbirds rolled out of the factory with a Six-Pack under the hood. That makes this pair an even rarer treat. As with its brother, this is a low-mileage example, with only 49,000 original miles showing on the odometer.

Apart from the paint color, the biggest area of difference between these two cars revolves around interior trim. Whereas the Yellow car is a “bare-bones” car, this one features a few more optional extras. The first of these is a floor console, but you still get yourself a Hurst pistol-grip poking out of it. In addition, this Superbird is equipped with the optional radio/8-track player, so that you have something else to listen to if the music from that 440 isn’t enough for you. Once again, interior presentation is extremely impressive, with no signs of any issues or problems with the black vinyl upholstery.

This really is a rare pair, and both are in amazing condition. Both have also been inspected by renowned Mopar expert, Dave Wise, and a Wise Vehicle Report for each car will be included as part of the sale. In addition, both will be sold with its Broadcast Sheet, which verifies every aspect of each vehicle. It will be interesting to see what they sell for at auction because on current trends, I would be expecting a figure of at least $400,000 for the pair, and possibly higher. I’m opening the floor on that, so what do you think that they will sell for?

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Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    Seeing the two words, “Barrett-Jackson” really solidified the feeling that us “average joes” will NEVER be able to own one of these, even at No Reserve!
    Oh, well…I can still dream, though! :-)

    Like 24
    • Steve R

      So what.

      Prices for upper echelon cars have been significantly more expensive than garden variety muscle cars since I entered the market in the early-1980’s. It’s nothing new and predates Barrett-Jackson. Most people I know either worked harder at finding their dream cars or they adjusted their expectations and searched for cars they could readily find and afford. That’s what people used to do, not complain online that someone else is willing and able to outspend them for rare and desirable cars.

      Steve R

      Like 14
      • Chris M.

        Well said Steve. That’s how it is for me. I’ve put what I could into my “less than desirable/ valuable ’65 Fury and admittedly it’s low budget but she makes me happy and I’m satisfied. By the same token a good friend is currently restoring a ’70 six pack Super Bird that he traded for and drug out of a Florida shed 2 years ago. No envy on my part. Well…maybe a little lol

        Like 8
    • Danno

      IMO, a Scraptona is the way to go, if you really want something that (kinda) looks like those. Plus, you’d no longer have the concerns/limitations of “spoiling” a numbers-matching car.

  2. PDXBryan

    Adam Clarke
    Really, 127mph? I would have guessed they were capable of at least 15-20mph more than that. The NASCAR racers were breaking records with these, topping 200mph if I recall correctly.

    Like 11
    • Dave

      Can’t vouch for the top end number, but from a PR standpoint it would make no sense to sell a car that can outrun the Police Interceptors Chrysler sold.
      By the time these cars took to Talladega the only thing in common with the street versions was the bodywork.
      I believe that you’re right, that Buddy Baker and the K&K Insurance car were the first to break 200 at Talladega.

      Like 8
      • Michael Barner

        That is true. Buddy was the original 200mph man.

    • Tim Hensley

      Big difference between a stock BIRD and Nascar prepped BIRD

  3. steve

    Personally I don’t care for restored cars, I’ve heard of Galen Govier but never heard of this Wise guy. I don’t think anyone really cared for these oddballs, although now its all about the bling effect. I think the Daytonas are way cooler, too bad the restrictor plate killed the Hemi.

    Like 4
  4. Jwinters

    what barn were these found in?

    Like 9
    • Dave Laf

      Exactly.

  5. Classic Steel

    Very expensive yes-but at least pistol grip four speed units with decent engines and nice paint 😅

    High dollar cars have always been around but so have clones and hot rods 👍👀

    These are great looking beasts and nice to see but I would rather put the cash on a smaller 68 Shelby King cobra . Not saying I would kick one out of the garage (or barn) given to me or at a cool price cheap 😎😂

    Like 4
  6. Tempo Matador Ray

    @ Steve R, 👍, I agree whole heartedly. It needed to be said…focus on tech. talk, rather than on personal financial blight. There is a price point for everyone on this site…

    Like 4
  7. Gaspumpchas

    My small collection has the distinction of consisting of 3 cars that will never be worth what I put into them. But I enjoy the heck out of them and while not perfect I love driving them. Looking at a couple more that I may have a shot at, but being retired I cant afford anything really expensive. They were expensive to us back when we were kids and expensive now!
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 4
  8. Michael

    Ugly then. Ugly now. Sorry. 😀

    Like 3
  9. TimM

    There is really no need to have reserve oncars like this!!! There’s going to be more than two people that want theses cars and all you need to run the bid up is two people that don’t want to give in!! I’m also sure BJ is giving these two beautiful cars all the publicity they need before they go on the block!!!!

    Like 3
  10. MDCustom

    Given the pair, I think, that it will add a small premium to the overall final bid. Somewhere slightly north of the half million mark?

    Like 2
  11. The one

    We never thought they were ugly, just goofy looking. And they weren’t that fast! Don’t forget these are the consumer version not the NASCAR version
    Heck we had a ’65 valiant 340 automatic and we would smoke these cars.
    Ah the good old days…

    Like 3
  12. Steve S

    My uncle worked with a guy that bought a superbird with the 426 hemi and 4 speed manual transmission off the show room floor when he was 16 years old. The car is still 100% factory original and in museum condition. He keeps the car in a environment controlled room in a Morton metal building on blocks. He starts it and moves it once in a while to keep everything good and there is not a single scratch or dent or spot of rust on the car either. If he does take the car to a cruise in or car show he puts ropes around the car 5 feet away from the car so nobody can get close to it.

    Like 3
    • Grandpa Lou

      Poor kid, bet he had little to eat and begged on the street for pennies so he and his family could buy bread. That story doesn’t sound like someone who has to “work”.

      Like 2
    • JS

      How the heck do you you buy a Superbird when you are 16 years old? Weren’ t they like $5,500? That’s a lot of newspaper deliveries.

      Like 3
      • Grandpa Lou

        Use your imagination. Either it is a made up story, or “he” didn’t have to struggle for money, even at the tender age of 16. If he did actually get a car like that at 16, how could he afford the insurance? Why didn’t he ruin it on the street, I know at 16, I sure wouldn’t treat it with kid gloves. So, either we have a fake news story, or we have a kid living in the 1% who started living the lifestyle early and with relish on a whim.

        Like 3
    • Steve S

      It ain’t a fake story. My uncle told me that the guy drove it to work one day on a nice day to pick up his pay check or something. My uncle didn’t know what he had to pick up and my uncle was running a machine that was the farthest away from the parking lot entrance. My uncle told me when the guy left he counted how many gears he went through burning rubber and he got 3 out of the 4 gears. The guy told my uncle if he tried a little bit more he could of got the car to lay down rubber in all 4 gears.

  13. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Yes….one for every dealer is what they had to build – so over 1900 were built – Daytona’s were less as Dodge had fewer dealerships. But correct that slow Daytona # 71 won the championship for 1970. They took it to Bonneville and set 20 something records with a carburetor that stood for years…..

    Petty won the championship 1971….nice cars but I like my little Studie Daytona better……….

  14. vpp

    Safer than stocks or CD’S\and they are sought out by many collectors.

    Like 1
  15. Eric

    Way back in 1982 when I lived in Anchorage, Alaska, I was offered a metallic blue 440 4spd Superbird for $500. It had no engine, or transmission. The seats and console were gone. The car was rusty, and a bit beat up. I had no way to transport it- and no place to store it, so I passed. sigh

    Like 3
  16. stang

    Pricey now, still prefer a hot challenger…like Nash.

    The superbirds were known for their great looks, style and speed though,that is why demand is so high.

    Like 1

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