"Actually, the front end on this car is really tight!"
Tony D'Agostino was putting the pedal to the metal on a straight piece of two-lane blacktop in the rural farmland near Dover, Delaware. Given our propensity for such antics, that wasn't so surprising, except for the fact that the car under acceleration was not just another nice musclecar. This one was the pride and joy of a small collection of gems that he owns, an unworn, unrestored original with less than 20,000 miles on the odometer. Moreover, cars like this '70 Plymouth Superbird, with its one-year-only styling, are few and far between nowadays, a speedway-spawned relic from the horsepower era and the last true hurrah of the old Chrysler Corporation's NASCAR efforts. From my location in the backseat, I could see the speedometer inching over 90 and still pulling.
D'Agostino will be best known to most Mopar restorers as the proprietor of Tony's Mopar Parts in Harrington, Delaware. Serving the Mopar hobby for close to 20 years now, Tony maintains an immense stock of both N.O.S. and high-quality pre-owned parts and pieces for many classic Mopar machines and has even begun reproducing some of the more scarce small items for the restoration aftermarket. He is also a connoisseur of unrestored cars, but unlike most cars of this caliber, today his winged monster's engine was breathing in copious amounts of sea-level air as its caretaker wrung it out this particular morning.
I was in the back because my dad was sitting up front next to Tony. As you may recall from a past editorial, my old man saw me go through my share of Mopars in the past, and I decided he needed the front seat E-ticket ride more than I did. Besides, Tony had already promised to let me drive the car around a little before the day as out.
The speedo needle moved past the 100-mph mark, then 110, then 115. Telephone poles blurred by, but a curve was approaching. Undetered, Tony let off the loud pedal and eased into the sweeping turn at 85 mph, using the standard factory front discs to slow it down. Once out of the curve, fuel resumed pouring through the factory-installed AVS four-barrel as we hit another stretch of straight roadway. Of course, a watchful eye was being kept out for constabulary and slow-moving farm equipment, and as side roads appeared in the distance, Tony wisely brought the car down to a more legal speed.
As built, the particular Superbird wouldn't have been considered anything unique except for its aerodynamic styling additions. Painted B5 blue, powered by a 440 Super Commando with the four-barrel induction system and having a bench seat and column shifter, it was standard fare for the '70 musclecar model year and 1 of 626 that left the factory with the 440/automatic combo. Rounding out the drivetrain is the standard 8 3/4-inch rearend with a 3.55 Sure Grip rear cog inside.
It was originally sold through 1st Avenue Chrysler-Plymouth in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This dealership is documented as having sold the largest number of Superbirds in the nation during the model's brief run, turning 15 of the high-bank haulers over to the public. While one would think the Deep South would have had the handle on such machines, it must be remembered that USAC/ARCA greats like Ramo Stott, Don White, and Ernie Derr, who drove the wing cars with abandon, hailed from the Hawkeye State.
Though Tony has owned his share of quality musclecars in the past, this particular vehicle offered something few vintage musclecars possess-true originality. Since new, the car had been well cared for, as attested by the original paint still shining brightly on the body panels. Ironically, this state of preservation brings out some interesting production characteristics. For instance, the paint on the nose, wing, and fender scoops has changed and faded quicker than the rest of the car. According to documentation on how the cars were built, some of the Superbird pieces were prepped and painted apart from the car, as is the case here.