So Long Superbird: No NASCAR for You
Chrysler decided that 1970 was the year of the NASCAR racers. Plymouth had the Superbird and Dodge had the Daytona. These two cars were designed with the hopes that Chrysler would design a car like the Daytona for Richard Petty, who was driving a Plymouth at the time. Unfortunately, since Chrysler could not meet Petty’s demands, he left to drive for Ford. Chrysler took control of their own NASCAR destiny and then created the Plymouth Superbird.
Production Rules in Place
Due to the fact that NASCAR rules stated that manufacturers had to have a certain number of the racecars in production, Plymouth made about 2000 Superbird models for everyday drivers. Unfortunately for the Plymouth, the Superbird did not sell well to the general public. Drivers did not like the drooping front nose cone and they did not like the size of the tail wing.
Eventually, Plymouth had to fix the Superbird to make it work on the NASCAR track and make it sell on the dealer lots. The designers made major changes and took the Superbird away from the Belvedere platform and put it on the Road Runner. The huge wing kept the design stable and did not add any drag to slow the car down. The nose cone stayed in place giving the Superbird its unique beak-like appearance.
End of the Aerodynamic Cars
After the 1970 season, NASCAR put an end to the Superbird’s life. It lived to see only one year, but with Richard Petty behind the wheel, the car won eight races that year. The Superbird was one of the fastest production cars ever to hit the tracks. With those speeds and the unusual design, NASCAR banned the Superbird, Dayton, and other similarly designed cars from the tracks. NASCAR officials were worried about the wing and the nose cone, as well as the fact that the Plymouth Superbird looked nothing like the other stock cars speeding around the tracks.