19-20 January 2017

Offered from a Private Collection

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Lot 275

1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird

  • Chassis no. RM23U0A175651

Sold for $110,000

Model RM. 375 bhp, 440 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, torsion bar independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and disc-front, drum rear power hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 116 in.

  • Offered from a private collection
  • A genuine, matching-numbers 440/375 Superbird
  • Iconic Hemi Orange livery; very authentic with original interior
  • A NASCAR warrior for the street

Conceived for NASCAR racing, the Superbird was a follow-up project from Dodge’s Charger Daytona of 1969, one of the so-called “aero cars” competing that year. Taking advantage of the Daytona experience, engineers worked from the Road Runner, itself a no-nonsense performance version of the Satellite. Further refining the nose cone and wing from the Charger Daytona, they were able to achieve greater efficiency. Three engine options were available: a 426 Hemi, a 440 Super Commando with a single four-barrel, and a 440 Super Commando Six Barrel with three carburetors.

NASCAR had raised the production requirement for homologation, requiring not 500, but one for every two dealers in the United States. For Plymouth that meant 1,920 cars, and best estimates put the total production at 1,935 cars, all built in 1970.

The specific objective of the Superbird was to lure Richard Petty back to Plymouth. Petty had left for Ford in the fall of 1968, but he succumbed to the Superbird’s charms in 1970, winning eight races and finishing well in many more. For 1971, however, NASCAR limited the engine size of the aero cars to five liters, or 305 cubic inches. Larger engines were penalized by carrying more weight, which quickly deflated the whole aero effort. The cars quickly became orphans, and even the street versions were difficult to sell because of the extreme styling. Some were even converted back to Road Runners to make them more saleable. In recent years, however, soaring prices for original Superbirds has begotten a cottage industry in conversion kits for Road Runners and Satellites.

Formerly in the prestigious collection of John Staluppi in Florida, this genuine 440 Super Commando Superbird has been verified with matching numbers. During a recent restoration, numbers on the engine, transmission, core support, trunk rail, title, and original fender tag were verified. The drivetrain is original to the car, including alternator, starter, and distributor. Every mechanical element was rebuilt, including the steering box. The rear quarters and trunk floor were replaced during the restoration, but all other sheet metal is original. The nose cone and wing are the originals from the car; they are not reproductions. The front seats have been repaired, but otherwise the interior is original.

The car is equipped with power steering, power brakes, windshield washers, and an AM radio with working eight-track player. It is painted in Hemi Orange, with black vinyl interior and carpet, all in exceptional condition. The body work and paint are excellent, and the engine compartment is correctly detailed. A rare example of a rare car with exceptional provenance, it signals its arrival aptly.

“Beep, Beep!”

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more