The spare tire and its pair of jacks (Superbirds received two because the bumper jack wouldn't work under the fragile nose cone) have never been out of the trunk and used. The interior on the car still smells new, while the machine still sports the original plugs, wires, and more. Tony's only changes were a fresh set of vintage tires, a new battery, clean oil and filters in the crankcase and transmission, and small detailing. The car also required a replacement exhaust system due to the typical condensation rust problems, but this is bone-stock as well. Though the engine shows some signs of road use and paint blistering, it's as original as they come.
Tony heard about the car two years ago, and worked very hard to buy it, finally convincing the owner to let him purchase it. A big plus was that all of the original paperwork, from the factory sales information and order form to the buildsheet, came with it. The ownership trail was documented and established, and contact with the manager at 1st Ave. C-P even yielded a couple of photos of this car on the dealership lot.
We turned down a dusty cattle farm road owned by the gentleman whose buttercup-laden field was the planned backdrop for the photo shoot; we wanted permission before getting in the corral with the horses. Once granted, we pulled back down the farm road to the apron of the two-lane and Tony handed me the keys.
Driving cars is fun, but obviously this one in particular offered its own level of stress; I didn't want to alter the car's pristine preserved condition. Nonetheless, I noticed that, as Tony slid into the back seat, my pop was looking for the seatbelts for the first time this morning!
"Oh, now that I'm driving, you decide to put your seatbelts on!"
Easing out on the pavement, it was immediate that Tony wasn't kidding about the condition of the front suspension. The 'Bird's steering was as firm as any car out there; better than any of the big-mileage Mopars I've owned. The fresh F70-14 Polyglas repro tires on the car clung nicely to the ground as I got a feel for how it handled. However, that loud pedal was begging to hit the firewall, and I saw my chance as Tony explained to my dad just what the Superbirds were in terms of options.
"Most of them didn't get a whole lot of stuff from the factory," Tony said as the road moved by. "A lot of them just got shipped to the dealers with standard equipment, but they were all big-blocks like the other Road Runners."
"Yeah," agreed my dad. "It seems like they just needed something that looked and ran fast."
"That's right, Pop! Looked and ran fast!"
Looking over at him with a grin, I layed the hammer down, causing the kickdown linkage in the TorqueFlite to engage. At 55 mph, the engine responded in kind, and the sound of air rushing through the air cleaner was soon forgotten as the speedo moved up the scale. By 90 mph, you could really feel the backend begin to sit down as the huge wing in the back created downforce. Likewise, the nose and front tires were going right where they aimed, with no sign of wandering around on the pavement. Two thirds of the way through the 150-mph limit imprinted on the speedometer, it was decided to let off the go-juice before things got out of hand. Besides, a curve was coming up quickly.
Unlike a 4.10 ring, the more common 3.55s didn't instantly drag the speed down to more sane levels. However, a light touch of the power-assisted brakes brought the car down 30 mph with no sign of pulling in either direction. Very nice.