Are you a classic car enthusiast with an eye for detail and passion for quality? If so, you have definitely come to the right place. We’d like to highlight one of our most popular models: The 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird! This iconic vehicle has been around since it debuted in its original form more than 50 years ago as both a racing machine and a luxury model. It has become highly sought-after by collectors due to its unique styling features, power, and commanding presence on the roads.
In this blog post we’ll talk about all things related to the 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird. Read ahead to learn about its history, how it was built, restoration processes, why enthusiasts are drawn to this model year in particular, and much more – get ready!
Table of Contents
Overview of the 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird
The 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird is a legendary American muscle car that was produced by Plymouth, a division of the Chrysler Corporation. It was a high-performance variant of the Plymouth Road Runner, designed specifically for NASCAR racing.
The Superbird was introduced as a response to the aerodynamic advancements made by the Ford Motor Company with their Torino Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II models. In order to compete in NASCAR’s Superbird was born.
One of the most distinctive features of the Hemi Superbird was its aerodynamic design, which was highly influenced by the need for speed on the racetrack. It featured a unique pointed nose cone, a massive rear wing (known as the “bird wing”), and a sloping rear window that was angled at 30 degrees. These aerodynamic enhancements were intended to reduce drag and improve high-speed stability.
Under the hood, the Superbird was equipped with a powerful 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine. This engine was known for its immense power and performance, producing around 425 horsepower. It was mated to a heavy-duty 4-speed manual transmission or an optional automatic transmission.
The suspension and braking systems of the Superbird were also upgraded to handle the increased power and speed. It featured heavy-duty front disc brakes, a rear sway bar, and heavy-duty shock absorbers. The car rode on large 15-inch wheels with high-performance tires.
Due to its unique appearance and limited production numbers, the Superbird has become one of the most sought-after and collectible muscle cars of all time. However, its radical design and high production costs made it less popular among buyers when it was first released. As a result, only 1,920 units were built, and it is estimated that around 1,500 of them still exist today.
The 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird is a true icon of American automotive history, known for its distinctive styling and incredible performance. Its rarity and historical significance have made it a highly coveted classic car among enthusiasts and collectors alike.
History of the Hemi Superbird’s Development and Production
The development and production of the Hemi Superbird can be traced back to the mid-1960s when the Chrysler Corporation, Plymouth’s parent company, decided to enter the highly competitive world of NASCAR racing. In order to compete with Ford and their aerodynamically advanced Torino Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II models, Plymouth needed to create a car that would excel on the racetrack.
Plymouth turned to a renowned designer and aerodynamics expert, Richard Petty Enterprises, and specifically to their chief aerodynamicist, Gary Romberg, for assistance in developing a car that would dominate NASCAR races. Romberg and his team used wind tunnel testing and computer simulations to enhance the aerodynamic performance of the Plymouth Road Runner, a popular muscle car at the time.
The modifications made to the Road Runner included adding a pointed nose cone and a towering rear wing, both of which were designed to improve downforce and reduce drag. The car also received a sloping rear window, which further contributed to its aerodynamic profile. These modifications resulted in the creation of the Hemi Superbird.
To comply with NASCAR regulations, Plymouth had to produce a limited number of Superbirds for public sale. This requirement led to the production of approximately 1,920 units for the 1970 model year. However, the high cost of producing the Superbird, combined with its polarizing appearance, made it a challenging sell to the general public. Many dealerships struggled to move the inventory, and some even resorted to removing the distinctive rear wing to make the car more marketable.
Despite its commercial difficulties, the Hemi Superbird was successful on the NASCAR circuit. The car dominated the competition and became an icon in the racing world. Legendary driver Richard Petty, who was associated with Plymouth at the time, piloted the Superbird to multiple victories, solidifying its reputation as a formidable racing machine.
After the 1970 model year, Plymouth discontinued the Superbird, as NASCAR implemented new rules that limited the use of such aerodynamic enhancements. Over time, the Superbird’s unique design and limited production numbers have made it highly sought-after among collectors and enthusiasts, further cementing its place in automotive history.
The Styling of 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird – Its Iconic Design Features
The 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird is renowned for its iconic and distinctive design features, which were primarily focused on enhancing aerodynamic performance for NASCAR racing. These design elements give the Superbird its unique and instantly recognizable appearance.
One of the most prominent features of the Superbird is its pointed nose cone. This aerodynamic extension protrudes forward from the front grille, creating a sleek and streamlined front end. The pointed nose cone helps reduce air resistance by directing airflow smoothly over the car’s body, minimizing drag and improving overall performance at high speeds.
Another standout design feature of the Superbird is the towering rear wing, often referred to as the “bird wing.” This massive wing is mounted on tall vertical supports and extends high above the roofline of the car. The wing serves multiple purposes: it generates downforce, which increases traction and stability at high speeds, and it also acts as a visual statement, making the Superbird instantly recognizable from a distance.
The rear window of the Superbird is notably distinctive as well. It has a pronounced slope and is angled at 30 degrees, which was intended to further reduce drag and improve aerodynamic efficiency. This design choice gives the car a sleek, sloping profile and contributes to its overall aerodynamic package.
In addition to these key design elements, the Superbird also features other aerodynamic enhancements. It has fender-mounted aerodynamic air scoops that provide cooling to the rear brakes, and the front fenders were extended with small “nose cones” to improve airflow around the wheels.
The Superbird was available in a range of vibrant and eye-catching paint colors, often paired with bold graphics and decals. These color options, along with the distinctive design features, added to the car’s visual impact and contributed to its status as a standout muscle car of its time.
A Closeup Look at the Engine – How Does It Power This Legendary Car
The 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird is powered by a legendary engine that played a significant role in the car’s impressive performance. Under the hood, you’ll find a formidable powerplant known as the 426 cubic inch Hemi V8.
The “Hemi” in its name refers to the engine’s hemispherical combustion chambers, a design that promotes efficient airflow and combustion. This Hemi engine was renowned for its power, reliability, and performance capabilities.
The 426 Hemi V8 engine featured a robust and durable construction. It had a cast iron block and cylinder heads, ensuring strength and stability even under high-stress conditions. The engine’s displacement of 426 cubic inches, or 7.0 liters, contributed to its ability to deliver substantial power.
In terms of performance, the 426 Hemi V8 engine produced around 425 horsepower, although some variations could generate even more power. The engine’s high horsepower output made the Superbird a force to be reckoned with on both the street and the racetrack.
To complement the engine’s power, the Superbird offered a choice of transmissions. A heavy-duty 4-speed manual transmission was the standard option, providing precise gear changes and maximizing driver engagement. Additionally, an optional automatic transmission was available for those seeking a more relaxed driving experience.
The Superbird’s engine was equipped with various high-performance components to enhance its capabilities. It featured dual four-barrel carburetors, which provided a steady flow of fuel to feed the hungry engine. The engine also had a high-lift camshaft, larger valves, and heavy-duty internals to handle the increased power output.
With its powerful 426 Hemi V8 engine, the Superbird was capable of impressive acceleration and top speeds. It could go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under six seconds and had a top speed of around 150 miles per hour, making it one of the fastest production cars of its time.
The combination of the Superbird’s aerodynamic design and the potent 426 Hemi V8 engine allowed it to dominate on the racetrack and earn a reputation for performance excellence. Today, the Superbird’s engine remains one of its most revered attributes, contributing to its desirability and status as a true muscle car legend.
How to Restore and Maintain a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird
Restoring and maintaining a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird requires a combination of mechanical knowledge, attention to detail, and access to appropriate resources. Here are some steps and considerations to help you in the process:
– Planning: Before starting the restoration, create a comprehensive plan outlining the scope of work, budget, and timeline. Assess the condition of the car and determine which components need repair or replacement.
– Documentation: Gather as much documentation as possible about the original specifications of the Superbird. This includes factory manuals, parts catalogs, and historical records. Such resources will guide you in restoring the car to its original condition.
– Disassembly: Carefully disassemble the car, taking note of the arrangement and condition of each part. Document the process with photographs and labels to ensure proper reassembly later.
– Body and Paint: Evaluate the condition of the body and address any rust or damage. This may involve sanding, welding, or replacing panels. Select the appropriate paint color and finish for an authentic restoration.
– Engine and Mechanical Components: Rebuild or replace the engine as necessary, following factory specifications. Inspect and restore other mechanical systems, including the suspension, brakes, transmission, and exhaust. Pay attention to authenticity and ensure the correct components are used.
– Interior: Restore the interior, which may involve reupholstering seats, replacing carpeting, and restoring or replacing the dashboard and trim. Use materials and finishes that match the original specifications.
– Wiring and Electrical: Inspect the wiring harness and replace any damaged or outdated components. Test and restore electrical systems, including lights, gauges, and accessories, ensuring they function properly.
– Reassembly: Reassemble the Superbird using the documentation, photographs, and labels created during the disassembly process. Take care to align panels, tighten fasteners to the correct specifications, and connect wiring and plumbing correctly.
– Testing and Fine-Tuning: Once the restoration is complete, thoroughly test the car to ensure all systems function properly. Perform any necessary adjustments, fine-tuning, and troubleshooting.
– Ongoing Maintenance: After restoration, regular maintenance is crucial to preserve the Superbird’s condition. This includes routine inspections, fluid changes, lubrication, and addressing any issues promptly.
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FAQs About 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird
How many 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbirds were produced?
Approximately 1,920 Superbirds were produced for the 1970 model year. This limited production was due to NASCAR’s homologation requirements.
What is the significance of the rear wing on the Superbird?
The towering rear wing on the Superbird serves multiple purposes. It generates downforce, increasing traction and stability at high speeds. It also became an iconic design feature, making the Superbird instantly recognizable.
Did Richard Petty drive the Plymouth Hemi Superbird?
Yes, Richard Petty, a legendary NASCAR driver, piloted the Superbird during the 1970 racing season. He achieved numerous victories with the car, contributing to its racing legacy.
What engine options were available for the Superbird?
The Superbird offered a range of engine options, including the highly regarded 426 cubic inch Hemi V8 engine. Other available engines included the 440 cubic inch V8 and the 383 cubic inch V8.
What is the top speed of a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird?
The top speed of a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird is estimated to be around 150 miles per hour. Its powerful engine and aerodynamic design contributed to its impressive speed capabilities.
How much does a Plymouth Hemi Superbird cost today?
The cost of a Plymouth Hemi Superbird can vary significantly depending on factors such as condition, originality, rarity, and documentation. Prices can range from several hundred thousand dollars to well over a million dollars for exceptionally well-preserved or highly sought-after examples.
Are original parts readily available for restoration?
While some original parts can still be found, they may be challenging to locate due to the limited production numbers of the Superbird. However, there are aftermarket suppliers and specialized vendors who offer reproduction and restored parts to support restoration efforts.
How can I authenticate the originality of a Superbird?
Authenticating the originality of a Superbird requires careful inspection and documentation. Consultation with experts, researching historical records, and verifying VIN numbers and other identifying markers can help establish the car’s authenticity.
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To conclude, the 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird is one of the most iconic cars in American automotive history. Not only is it known for its stellar performance, but also it’s unique styling and engineering that made it a truly unforgettable car. The features on this model marked the pinnacle of muscle car design for its era and despite its rarity remains very popular amongst collectors today. Many who see a Superbird are taken aback by its pure majesty and beauty.
If you’re looking for an icon to add to your collection, look no further than the 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird! With all these features together, any owner can have a true classic at their hands that is sure to be an envy of onlookers everywhere they go. Come get yours today!
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