When the 1976 season ended, Doc decided to retire the Charger-skinned chassis. Let's face it-in 1976, NASCAR race cars were evolving, and the aged Charger-skinned chassis was considered "too old" to be competitive. The Charger languished, collecting dust, and eventually Doc decided it was time to let the car go.
After it was sold, the car was painted a two-toned scheme of gold and brown, became No. 28, and spent several years racing on small regional West Coast tracks. Although we couldn't confirm it, it's thought that Doc may have sold the car without the Hemi engine. While in this gold and brown paint scheme, it ended up being raced with a small-block in it.
After that, our research takes us to Chuck Shafer of Portland, Oregon. How Chuck discovered and acquired the car is a bit of a mystery, but we do know that at one time, it was stored in a barn somewhere in Iowa. When Todd Werner expressed an interest in acquiring the car, he had to speak with Mrs. Shafer, as unfortunately, Chuck had passed away.
The interior is simple and...
The interior is simple and race ready. Notice the small, silver access-panel on the floor under the steering wheel?
Todd was able to get small bits of information from Chuck's widow. All we know for certain is that Chuck felt confident it was indeed a Petty car by virtue of the research he had done before and during his acquisition.
If the name Chuck Shafer sounds familiar to you, it might be because he is also the man responsible for the restoration of the '71 Petty Road Runner that won the 1971 Daytona 500. In other words, he knew a Petty car when he saw one.
During the time that Chuck owned this car, he wasn't exactly sure which "Petty" car it was, but thought that it might be the '70 Road Runner that Richard raced at Riverside in 1971. We now know that his hunch was correct, but he never pursued the issue, and so the car languished for several years in the back of his storage area. Chuck passed away before he was ever able to verify the car.
That panel was removable,...
That panel was removable, and when the race was underway, Pete could remove the panel, exposing a mechanism that allowed him to lower the left front corner of the car with a wrench. This lowering added about 4-5 mph to the car's speed.
That brings us to the current owner, Todd Werner. When Todd purchased the car, he knew Chuck's suspicions about it, but even though the car wasn't verified to be a Petty-built car at the time, he felt as strongly about it as Chuck did. In 2008, Todd decided it was time to see if the small bits of information he had gathered about the car's history could be verified, and he set up an appointment with Petty Enterprises. During this first meeting, a representative of Petty Enterprises-Dale Inman, who has been with Richard Petty since the mid-'60s-came out of the Level Cross compound and began to thoroughly scrutinize the car. Remember, the chassis has worn several different "skins" or body shells over the years, and verifying whether or not this was one of the Petty-Team cars is not something taken lightly.
Todd's suspicions were the same as Chuck Shafer's-he believed that this could have been one of Petty's Road Runners. After several hours of inspection, Dale felt this car might be something special. He asked Todd to bring it back the following day so he could have another gentleman look it over.
Upon returning the following day, the "other" gentleman, Richie Barsz, began to thoroughly check the car. For those of you who may not know the name, Ritchie Barsz joined the Petty team in 1970 and spent most of his time as the chief fabricator in the shop. Since he was there in 1970, he might know a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to Petty cars-specifically the Superbirds. Richie and Maurice, "Chief," as he was known in the shop, were responsible for the No. 40 Superbird when it was at the track and in the shop.
Finding reproduction decals...
Finding reproduction decals is nearly impossible, so the guys at Petty's had them recreated using photographs from 1970.
Also found in storage upstairs...
Also found in storage upstairs at the Petty complex was this complete Petty-modified Superbird wing.
The wing uses Petty-built...
The wing uses Petty-built struts and a cable system that adds support.
Early during the 1970 season,...
Early during the 1970 season, the cars still had the factory side windows, and the door cage was made of straight bars because the door's inner panel was still intact. Later in the season-after Richard's crash at Darlington-the windows and mechanisms were removed, along with the door's inner panel. This allowed the door bars to be moved away from the driver, giving him more room. The addition of the window net was a result of the crash Richard was in during the spring Darlington race, when he destroyed the '70 Road Runner. This window net was also found upstairs. According to Martha Jane (Richard's assistant for almost 30 years), she and Mrs. Petty used to make the nets. Since they are leather, after temporarily assembling the nets, they had to be sent to the local shoe factory to be stitched together.