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1960 Plymouth Superbird : Classic Cars

The Plymouth Superbird was introduced in 1970 and shared many similarities in design to the Dodge Daytona. The Superbird was based on the Plymouth Road Runner except for the airfoil and nose. The Road Runner was based on the Belvedere but given Warner Brother cartoon figures and a horn that made a 'Beep Beep' sound. To inspire sales and to compete with the other muscle cars of the day, these vehicles were given large and powerful engines.

The spoiler on the Superbird was higher and more angled than the Daytonas. Part of the reason for mounting the wing so high was to allow better access to the trunk. Under 90 mph, the wing was basically useless.

Rules changed on the NASCAR circuit for 1970, making it hard to homologate a vehicle for racing. The rules for the year prior stated that 500 examples had to be produced before being allowed to race on the stock car circuit. For 1970 the rules stated that at least one example had to be built for each dealership.

There were three engine choices available. The Super Commando 440 V8 with a single four barrel carburetor was the most popular of the engine options. With 375 horsepower and 480 foot-pounds of torque, the Superbird could accelerate from zero-to-sixty in just under six-seconds.

With the 440 cubic-inch V8 with Six Pack, the quarter-mile was achieved in 14 and a-half seconds at 103 mph. The most expensive and most powerful engine available to the Superbird was the 426 Hemi. The 425 horsepower engine carried the Superbird from zero-to-sixty in just 4.8 seconds and reduced the quarter-mile time by almost a second.

During its production run lasting only one year, 1920 examples were produced. The vehicles outfitted with the Hemi engine are the rarest, with only 93 examples produced. 1,162 examples were outfitted with the 440 and single four-barrel carburetor. 665 examples were built with the 440 Six Pack.

Part of the reason for the low production figures was the controversial oversized wing and angular nose. Also, the cartoon characters and 'beep-beep' horn were 'love-or-hate'. The performance was undisputed and the top speed was unbeatable. Throughout the early part of the 1970's, Plymouth continued the production of the Road Runner. Though, due to increasing emission and government regulations, the horsepower era of the 1960's was coming to a close. Insurance premiums were costing more and many felt that these high powered machines were unsafe for the road. This would bring about a whole new trend of fuel-efficient luxury machines replacing the bare-bones, high performance, muscle cars.

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Sources : 1960 Plymough Superbird Photo | 1960 Plymough Superbird Article


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