1970 Plymouth Superbird Hidden in a Repair Shop Is a True HEMI in FJ5 Limelight

Chrysler introduced its first "winged warrior," the Dodge Charger Daytona, in 1969. Developed for NASCAR racing, the beefed-up Charger morphed into a production car for homologation purposes. Dodge built 503 units, just enough to make the Daytona eligible for racing.
1970 Plymouth Superbird 8 photos
Photo: Auto Archaeology/YouTube
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Looking to regain its former glory and lure NASCAR ace Richard Petty back to the team, Plymouth rolled out its own version of the Daytona. Based on the Road Runner, it arrived in 1970 as the Superbird. It was identical to the Daytona save for a few changes here and there, but Plymouth built notably more road cars.

While Dodge settled for the minimum number for homologation, Plymouth sent about 2,000 examples to dealerships. The actual number is still a mystery. While some sources claim Plymouth produced as many as 2,700 units, some Mopar historians quote 1,935 US-spec examples and 34 to 47 units shipped to Canada. But we do know for a fact that Plymouth built more cars than it could sell.

While Dodge didn't have issues moving 503 cars, 2,000 Superbirds were a bit too much for the market to handle. As a result, several vehicles sat on dealer lots until as late as 1972. And the story goes that some dealers reverted their "winged warriors" back to Road Runner specs to sell them.

Come 2023, the Superbird is still a more common sight than the Daytona, but many of these NASCAR-spec Plymouths are still missing. While some were crashed and scrapped, others are still hidden in barns, waiting for a second chance at life. Parked on a massive shelf in a repair shop, this Limelight example is one of those cars.

Documented by YouTube's "Auto Archaeology," this Mopar has been sitting in this shop for a few years. And unlike other derelict classics, it wasn't rescued from a junkyard. Instead, the current owner found it at a used car dealership. How did it end up on the shelf? Well, the owner has yet to find the time for a proper restoration, so he raised it several feet above the ground to get it out of the way. Or we could say he did it for safety reasons since he's mainly working on semi trucks, and the shop is rather busy.

The Superbird has a few rust issues and needs a total restoration to come back to life, but it's still in one piece, which is fantastic for a classic that's been sitting for a very long time. It's also finished in one of the most desirable High Impact colors, FJ5 Limelight (called Sublime on Dodge muscle cars).

But here's the really cool thing about it: this Bird is a true-blue HEMI car. Our host says the original mill has been replaced, but this Mopar was born with the mighty 426-cubic-inch V8 between the front wheels. And this makes it one of only 135 examples built. Moreover, it's also a four-speed manual car, which narrows the production number even more to just 58 units. In short, it's one of the rarest Plymouths from the golden muscle car era. And a Mopar that should definitely get restored because these Superbirds are now worth anywhere between $500,000 to $1.7 million, depending on drivetrain configuration, options, and how original they are.

Until that happens, check it out sitting high on a giant metal shelf in the video below. And make sure you check out the entire video because you'll see a super-rare 1968 Dodge HEMI Dart L023 from the 3:20-minute mark. It's a one-year-only factory dragster built in just 80 units. And it's in far better shape than the Superbird.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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