Chrysler’s Winged Warrior

Chrysler's Winged Warrior

The year 1970 was like the renaissance age for performance car buyers. Thus came Chrysler’s Winged Warrior into the fray. Automobile manufacturers were competing to produce the fastest cars. Cars that history would call “muscle cars” were competing at the race tracks right off the dealer’s showroom floor. The very heighth of that era came when Plymouth produced a factory modified Road Runner they called the Superbird designed specifically to run in NASCAR. 

Today we celebrate the 1970 Plymouth Superbird as a monumental achievement in ground hugging super speedway performance. Chrysler, in fact, brought their people in from a government rocket science project to design the aerodynamics on the Dodge Daytona and the Plymouth Superbird.  It was never the plan to win over new car buyers of that era. No, it was a flat out effort to win in NASCAR. And win they did. 

Today you don’t see many of Chrysler’s Winged Warrior Mopars at big national collector car auctions anymore. Held close in high profile Mopar collections, these cars are getting harder and harder to come by. But this week Legendary Motorcar Company, one of the premier collector car dealers, has listed one on the Cars-On-Line website for sale. And it is a beauty. 

Legendary Motorcar Company posted this Alpine White 1970 Plymouth Superbird for sale with the highly desirable 440 6 Pack motor and a Pistol Grip 4-speed manual transmission. They say only 308 Superbirds were produced with the 440 6 Pack and a 4-speed, so that makes it very rare to begin with. Because it is a 4-speed, Plymouth gave it the 3.54 geared Track Pack option and the heavy duty suspension upgrades the same as the Hemi cars. (Find dozens of detailed photos at the link in the ad from Legendary Motorcar Company.) They sold new for $4,298 or about $1,000 more than other muscle cars of that era.

What makes them icons of the muscle car era was the huge wing mounted over the rear deck. The wing rose 24 inches over the decklid creating astounding downdraft when these cars hit speeds of over 200 miles per hour on NASCAR’s super speedways. Superbird owners will tell you that even at 80 or 90 miles per hour you can feel the wing lowering the car over the pavement slightly.  On NASCAR’s super speedways like Talladega and Daytona they were unbeatable. 

History records that 1,920 Superbirds were produced for 1970 to homologate it to run in NASCAR. (NASCAR had increased the number of factory produced street cars to 1,000 that year just to make it harder for automobile manufacturers to build cars specifically for the track.) Although they were amazing performers in NASCAR, the Superbirds did not sell well as Plymouth dealers. When NASCAR made it impossible for the wing cars to compete in 1971 Chrysler scrapped their racing program and the Superbird was no more. 

Legendary Motorcar Company says this Alpine White version of Chrysler’s Winged Warrior still retains its numbers matching engine and transmission. That is so important to muscle car collectors today. It is a virtual litmus to the value of this car. Included in the sale is the original broadcast sheet, fender tag decode and parts manuals. As per the fender tag it was optioned with bucket seats, console, power steering, power brakes and Rallye wheels. You will note that it has the black vinyl roof. Every Superbird came with a vinyl roof. They say that when Creative Industries was building the Superbird the roofline was modified to enhance its aerodynamics. Because of the short time they had to get the cars ready for the 1970 racing season, there was no time to refinish the rooflines perfectly so they put vinyl roofs on them to cover up where the “plugs” had been welded in. 

With these cars being held so closely in big Mopar collections these days it is rare to see one being sold on the public market. You may have to hurry to get a shot at this one. It is a very unique opportunity to purchase a very rare and highly collectable and documented piece of NASCAR heritage.

You will find more muscle car era rides for sale in the Cars-On-Line Mopar Section online. Cars are added every day, so bookmark the page to follow the market on these cars. Or, sign up for a subscription to the Cars-On-Line newsletter where you will see all the top cars featured each week.

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