Featured here is a fine looking 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird. The Plymouth Road Runner Superbird was a highly modified, short lived version of the Plymouth Road Runner.

1970 plymouth superbird specs
1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird

Of the first generation Plymouth Road Runners, the 1970 model is perhaps standing out the most. The unique shape of its grille opening, with the horizontal air intake below, makes this particular Road Runner model look more aggressive in appearance than those from 1969.

The Plymouth Road Runner itself is a mid-size car with a clear focus on performance. The car was built by Plymouth in the U.S. between 1968 and 1980. By the time 1968 came around, some of the original muscle cars were moving away from their roots as relatively cheap but fast cars, as more features were added thus raising the car’s sales price.

The Birth of the Plymouth Road Runner

The idea behind the Plymouth Road Runner had been discussed around Chrysler Corporation for a while. The problem, and why nothing was done sooner, was that upper management simply had turned it down. The story that’s told is that the go ahead actually took place, but with a very small development budget. This apparently happened in spite of the opposition from upper management.

Prior to the Road Runner, with Plymouth automobiles, you had to purchase a premium level car like the GTX if you wanted your car to have a big engine. Before the Roadrunner came along, performance model Plymouth cars  were actually derivatives of the company’s premium models. This would have priced out a lot of potential car buyers in a performance car market that was growing.

plymouth road runner superbird photosSo how was the Plymouth Road Runner accepted? In it’s introduction Plymouth sold 44,599 Road Runners in 1968. This was more than double the 18,940 GTXs that were sold. Compare those numbers also to the 32,000 Barracudas sold. The Plymouth Road Runner was a big winner from the start. Think of how more profitable Plymouth might have been if it’s upper management was a bit quicker with new ideas.

The 1970 Plymouth Road Runner and Superbird Details

The late 60’s and the very early 70’s was an interesting time for muscle cars.The muscle car wars had been going on for several years and every automaker seemed to be in the game. The performance market was booming and you’d have to have a good reason not to be in it.

1970 Road Runners and Superbirds looked aggressive and neat. An interesting side note is that the Plymouth Superbird, a modified version of the Road Runner, shared several aerodynamic qualities with the Dodge Charger Daytona which itself was a modified version of the popular Charger. The Plymouth Superbird and the Dodge Daytona, two modified muscle cars both produced because of NASCAR,

In 1970, Plymouth gave the Road Runner an Air Grabber hood which was remote controlled from the passenger compartment. If you wanted a hood scoop to appear all you needed to do was press a button. Press the button again and you converted it back to a normal looking hood. This was a pretty slick device.

The 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird was an astonishing car with a slippery shape using a win tunnel during the design phase. Top speed for the Road Runner Superbird, equipped with either a 440 or 426 Hemi engine, was reputed to be over 150 mph as they arrived at the dealer, and over 180 mph with relatively minor modifications at the dealer level. Chrysler itself reportedly set a record of over 200 mph which was pretty astonishing at that time.

The Plymouth Superbird achieved a fine record in competition. Racing legend Richard Petty won eight races in 1970 with the Plymouth Superbird and placed well in several others.

1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird Specifications

Engines available for the 1970 Plymouth Superbird was a 440 cubic inch V-8 and a 426 V-8. Horsepower ranged from 375 to 425.

Transmissions available were a four speed manual and a three speed TorqueFlite automatic.

Front brakes were vented discs with drums on the rear.

Dimensions include a wheelbase of 116.0 inches, width 76.4 inches, height 61.4 inches and overall length 221.0 inches.

Suspension for the Superbird was heavy duty. Independent front with control arms and torsion bars and extra heavy duty rear with semi-elliptic leaf springs. Shocks were extra heavy duty hydraulic telescoping.

1970 Plymouth Production Numbers

Total Plymouth Road Runner production for the 1970 model year was 43,400 vehicles. Out of that number 1,950 Superbirds were built.

plymouth superbirdFind related Auto Museum Online articles on the links below..

1970 Chevy Camaro RS/SS

1970 Dodge Challenger

Reference material used for this article includes..American Muscle Cars: A Full-Throttle History by author Darwin Holmstrom..Muscle Cars: Kings of the Street From the Golden Era by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide..1970 Plymouth Superbird: Muscle Cars in Detail No. 11 by Geoff Stunkard…Hemmings.Com

1970 Plymouth Superbird Collector Popularity

The Plymouth Superbird is a very rare automobile. Only 1,950 models were produced in 1970 and that was the only model year the car was produced. The main reason the Superbird was a one year only model was that NASCAR banned the car in 1971 under the pretense that it was dangerously too fast and looked totally different from other stock cars.

plymouth superbird specificationsThe Plymouth Superbird was produced only because of NASCAR and therefore was produced only for one year.  Needless to say, these cars today are not inexpensive.

Current valuations depend, among other things, on the car’s engine and it’s configuration, gearbox, and additional options.

The 1970 Plymouth Superbirds have values today generally anywhere between $150,000 and $350,000. These are rare collector cars built only for the 1970 model year.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)