Gillette/Evernham Motorsports provided this current Mopar NASCAR Sprint Cup engine to power the project Plymouth. The tall intake manifold leads to reshaped air cleaner and other underhood mods.
That merger also included making sure the headlights worked properly, and putting the correct rear window trim on--two more challenges. Phil says there are no reproductions of the Superbird's rear window trim (not even from Year One---yet), and they couldn't find any usable originals. "It was important that it have polished trim to look authentic. We found a late-model rubber window seal that had a chrome insert that saved the day."
When the new sheetmetal was on, in went the full NASCAR-spec rollcage. As Phil notes, "The cage was designed after the roll bars used back in the day, with modifications to make sure it would be legal to run in current top speed competitions. After the metalwork was complete, the body and cage was powdercoated to make sure that if it saw any action in the salt at Bonneville, it would be safe from any corrosion." YearOne painted it Petty Blue over black, and added a fully-decked-out interior for driver and passenger comfort.
Richard Petty drove this tribute...
Richard Petty drove this tribute Superbird onto the auction block at this year's Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. There, it sold for $501,000--to benefit the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. (Courtesy Barrett-Jackson)
To fill the engine bay, YearOne turned to the engine shop at Gillette/Evernham Motorsports for a current Mopar NASCAR Sprint Cup Series powerplant. With it came another problem: Hood clearance. "Once the engine was comfortably set in the K-frame, we noticed how tall the NASCAR intake was," Phil recalls. "The intake had to be slightly milled, and a custom air cleaner made to get it under the hood." Backing it are a NASCAR-style four-speed, and an 8 -inch rear end--just like what the Petty's used on their 'Birds.
Anyone care to guess what this finished repro Superbird is like to drive? We thought so. "It's a blast to drive," Phil says proudly. "The engine is a little grumpy at low rpms, so you can't lug it around, and you have to keep the revs up a lot more than a normal car, but any dealings with that are cancelled out by the unmistakable NASCAR sound coming from the exhaust. People hear it coming and know that it has something special under the hood. Get the rpm up, and it pulls like a beast and sounds even better, just like you would expect from a race-bred drivetrain."
A NASCAR-grade fuel cell replaced...
A NASCAR-grade fuel cell replaced the stock 18-gallon gas tank, but still leaves some trunk room under the rear wing.
Along with the sounds, this 'Bird can generate some big numbers. We're guessing that its engine is good for around 750 horsepower, and we're also guessing that 200 mph on an oval like Daytona or Talladega is possible. But the biggest numbers that it's generated so far came this past winter. At Barrett-Jackson's collector-car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona--after none other than Richard Petty drove it onto the auction block--this 'Bird sold for $501,000, with the proceeds benefitting the Darrell Gwynn Foundation (to support research of spinal cord injuries and assist those individuals suffering from paralysis, particularly children). Also, an additional $175,000 was pledged to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation during the auction session of the car at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale event.
The Road Runner and Superbird has always been about generating big numbers. This tribute 'Bird is generating them while looking like the No. 43 and No. 40 cars of 1970 at speed--blue over black with the look of speed, even away from the track.
1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird (Recreation) Built by: YearOne, Braselton, Georgia
- Engine: From Gillette/Evernham Motorsports' engine shop came a current-generation 358-inch NASCAR-spec engine, sporting a big Holley four-barrel, MSD's HVC Pro Billet distributor, coil and ignition box. It breathes out through a custom-fabbed exhaust (incorporating Flowmaster ½-inch oval track mufflers) by Gillette Evernham Motorsports. All engine plumbing by Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Concord, N.C.
- Transmission: NASCAR-style Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed manual, built by Gillette/Evernham Motorsports.
- Rearend: Ma Mopar's 8¾-inch one (just like the ones that Petty Enterprises ran on their Superbirds). There's a pair of 30-spline axles, an Eaton Sure Grip differential, and a set of 3.90:1 rear gears inside.