Auto World 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird
Published: March 28, 2013
|The nearly-flourescent candy colors that Plymouth and Dodge bathed their late-1960s and early '70s cars in still grab you when you catch a glimpse today. This bright neon green Auto World 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird stirs memories of psychedelic pinwheels on TV's then popular Laugh-In.|
I'm dating myself and the collectors who really appreciate this nicely detailed Superbird, complete with the cartoon Road Runner logo on its magnificent towering rear wing and another on the flat black headlight door on the car's streamlined nose.
The Superbird was created to race in NASCAR and followed on the heels of Dodge's Charger Daytona, which debuted in 1969. Both had big rear wings to create down force and wedge-shaped noses to aid aerodynamics and allow the car to slip through the air more quickly.
But at the time, to race a car, the automakers had to sell the same body style to the public, whereas now NASCAR's racers are everything but stock. So in 1970, Plymouth introduced the Road Runner-based Superbird for the racetrack and made 1,920 of the high-winged birds for the street. But it was one-and-done — the Superbird only flew out the showroom doors in 1970.
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|Auto World has mastered making U.S. muscle cars at competitive prices, so you can collect as many as your favorite makes as you want.|
This is another winner, with its flat black roof, a wired 426 Hemi V-8 under the massive hood, and opening trunk and doors, like most other Auto World models. The wheels are steerable and the car rolls on authentic-looking Goodyear Polyglas GT tires, with proper sidewall labeling.
Although not superdetailed under the hood, the AW model features a pink horn, battery and power steering unit, plus the reddish-orange V-8 block with a big red Hemi-labeled oval air filter on top.
The black interior is well-detailed, with a realistic-looking dash and 3-spoke wheel with chrome horn ring. There's a monster-tall wood-handled shifter too, and the front seatbacks fold slightly forward.
Outside, the fit and finish looks much like it did on 1970s cars. This one being the street version, there's a chrome antenna in the passenger's-side front fender, plus chrome wipers and trim around the vent windows, along with two mirrors.
I like the rear-facing air vents atop the front fenders, which served to relieve air pressure in the wheel wells and cut lift as the cars circled the speedways. Not so vital on the highway. Likewise, that wing in back is sturdy, but not needed at freeway speeds. It was made just tall enough to allow the trunk to open in real life, so it does here too. And tucked inside the trunk is a full-size spare tire.
Other plusses include chrome door handles and rear bumper, plus chrome twin exhausts.
The front end's matte-black lights in the aero nose add a racy look to the car's beak, but sadly the lights don't open. That would be a great feature, but would likely add to the model's cost.
Otherwise this Superbird is a flashy addition to any muscle car collection. It comes in a great window-box package with attractive markings, including the Car and Driver magazine logo and its April 1970 cover featuring a similar Superbird illustrating the squeeze muscle cars were feeling from insurance companies, and which helped lead to their demise, as did the early 1970s' soaring gas prices.
Forget those not-so-pleasant memories of the '70s though. This green monster will be an attention grabber in any collection. Display it proudly among your other muscle cars, but in this color it'll outshine most anything you already have.
Product: 1970 Plymouth Superbird (Car and Driver cover model)
Maker: Auto World
Stock No.: AMM995
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Visit www.savageonwheels.com to read 1:1 car and truck reviews by Mark Savage.