We get a lot of comments here at RK Motors Charlotte lamenting how many of our cars are just too nice to drive. The phrase “trailer queen” sometimes gets thrown around the way Joe McCarthy used to throw around the word “Communist.” A lot of enthusiasts out there are fans of driving their cars—I know I am—and a flawless, #1 car, while gorgeous to look at, just doesn't deliver the same fun as a solid #2 car that looks great and can be driven without concerns. And when it's one of Chrysler's outrageous wing cars like this low-mileage Tor-Red 1970 Plymouth Superbird? Well, there's nothing like being your own one-car parade.
A friend of mine has one of these in mostly original condition, and he drives it EVERYWHERE. He just got back from a wing car reunion in Florida last fall, and he drove his 'Bird down there and back, for a total of more than 2000 miles. He and I go out to lunch in it, and rolling down the street in that winged wonder is like nothing I've ever experienced. About the only car I've ever ridden in that attracts that much attention might be my father's six-and-a-half-foot tall 1925 Buick touring car. My point is, he drives the hell out of his car and grins like a mental patient every time he's behind the wheel. Isn't having fun in your car what this hobby is all about?
With just 29,756 original miles, this 'Bird is ready to rock the pavement. It's an incredible survivor car with many of the original details remaining under the hood and on the chassis. It sports a numbers-matching 440 that runs like new, backed by a Torqueflite 3-speed automatic, just like my friend's car. It's not Hemi glamorous, but it is potent, reliable, and makes great sounds hammering down the highway. I love the whirring of the transmission, the visceral feel of the torquey engine, and the bellow of the dual exhausts out back. I love looking in the side-view mirrors and seeing that towering wing back there, and looking out over the hood and seeing the faux fender vents up there doing their thing (yes, I know that the NASCAR guys cut holes in the fenders so the tires wouldn't rub, and these covered up the holes). A tight, original car like this feels special, and I really like how direct and connected to the machinery you feel when driving it. And driving is the operative word here.
Fender tag, you ask? Here's the info:
RM23: Plymouth Belvedere, Satellite Medium, Road Runner 2 Door Hardtop
U0A: 440 375HP 1-4BBL 8 CYL 1970 Lynch Road, MI, USA
176662: Sequence number
E86: 440 cid 4 barrel V8 (High Performance) 375hp
D32: Heavy Duty Automatic Transmission
EV2: Hemi Orange / Tor Red Exterior Color
P6XA: Trim - Premium, Vinyl Bucket Seats, Charcoal/Black
TX9: Black / Black Velvet Int. Door Frames
B30: Build Date: November 30
J99852: Order number
V19: Full Vinyl Top, Special Order (V19=Black on Superbird)
V88: Tranverse Stripes, Deleted
26: 26in Radiator
C16: Console w/Woodgrain Panel
This car is in original condition save for a complete repaint about five years ago. The color is original Tor-Red (AKA Hemi Orange), and the work was done to factory-appropriate standards. The 100% original sheet metal is straight and tight, while the Superbird nose fits about as well as could be expected for something that was practically hand-built as the car rolled down an assembly line. Again, this isn't some untouchable car that you can only enjoy by rubbing it with a diaper, this is a car that was made to drive, and the guy who painted it understood that. If you want a flawless, restored Hemi Orange/Tor-Red Superbird, we definitely have one you can buy, but I'll wager this one is about ten times more fun for 2/3 the price.
The vinyl top is newer as well, and uses the correct grain material. It was well-fitted and shows very well today with no signs of sagging or bubbling underneath. Given all the hand work that was done to these cars when they were new, it's always surprising to me how great they turned out. The C-pillars are smooth and ripple free, indicating good bones underneath, since those hand-fitted rear windows are always where the trouble starts.
Under the hood is the all-original 375 horsepower 440 Super Commando engine. Still wearing its original coat of Hemi Orange paint, it looks pretty much the way you'd expect a car with under 30,000 miles to look. It has clearly been cherished and well maintained, but not over-detailed. All the factory components are still there, too, from the air cleaner, to the “beep-beep!” Roadrunner horn, to the original cast iron exhaust manifolds. It's very clean, there are original style hose clamps on all the critical points, and the original 26-inch radiator still keeps it cool. The only non-stock part that jumps out immediately is the battery, which is a Mopar replacement piece (and if you want an authentic Group 27 red cap battery, RK Motors Charlotte can install one for you before we ship the car). It runs like a new car, and somehow an original car feels different than one that has been restored, and this car has that feel.
Power runs through Chrysler's reliable and quick-shifting Torqueflite 3-speed automatic, with a set of 3.55 gears out back for good acceleration and great highway manners. The wheels are the original 15-inch Rallyes, now sporting 255/60/15 front and 275/60/15 rear Goodyear GTII radial tires. That should give you some idea of how well preserved this car is—how long since you've seen a set of Goodyear GTII tires? Well, these look like new.
Inside, the all-original black bucket seat interior still looks great. Race-inspired, the high back buckets feature a comfort weave on the seating surfaces, and there are no splits or rips anywhere. The seat foam is still firm and supportive, and the back seat looks like it hasn't been used since 1975. The original door panels are excellent, while the wood-grain center console is '60s perfect. The dashboard is full of original gauges, including the Tic-Toc-Tach. Squeeze the horn ring and the famous Superbird horn emits its cartoon-familiar “beep-beep!” In the trunk you'll find an original Goodyear spare, both jacks, a tire iron, along with the original trunk mat. Put a few overnight bags back here, climb in and head for the highway—honestly, is there a better vehicle for a long road trip than this one?
Trailer queens? Yeah, we've got quite a few. They're beautiful, perfect, and they will all make their new owners happy. But if you like to drive your cars, there are only a few machines that fill that niche of drivable dreams. This Superbird will continue to appreciate while you enjoy it, and it isn't so flawless that you'll be afraid to put it on the road. Follow my friend's lead and get this winged warrior out on the highway, put your foot on the floor, and let that big engine unwind a little bit. The NASCAR-spec aerodynamics will keep you safe, and you'll have a permanent smile on your face anywhere you go. Like I said, if you want a perfect orange Superbird, we have one we can show you. But to me, THIS is the perfect one. THIS is the one I can get in and enjoy every single time the sun is shining. How exactly do you put a price on that?
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$299.00 Dealer Administrative Charge is not included in advertised price. All prices and offers are before state, city and county tax, tag, title and license fees. Out of state buyers are responsible for all state, county, city taxes and fees, as well as title/registration fees in the state that the vehicle will be registered. Dealer not responsible for errors and omissions; all offers subject to change without notice, please confirm listings with dealer.
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