NASCAR Star Richard Petty’s Plymouth Superbird and Road Runner to Bring Millions at Auction
Petty won multiple races in each car, even taking the 1971 NASCAR title with the storied Road Runner.
If you’re a fan of NASCAR's old school, then Mecum Auctions has a grand opportunity for you to own two pieces of the sport's history—but only if you've got a wad of cash to burn. Set to cross the auction block over the next few days as part of "The Todd Werner Collection" in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania are two of Richard Petty’s own race cars from the early 1970s: a 1970 Plymouth Superbird and 1971 Plymouth Road Runner.
First up is Petty’s original ’70 Superbird, a car built specifically to sway "The King" back to racing cars from Mopar after he opted for a Ford Torino Talladega in 1969. This was also the only year that the Plymouth Superbird was deemed eligible for racing in NASCAR. With a 426 cubic inch Hemi V8, four-speed manual transmission, and a Dana “8 and ¾” rear end, the Auburn Hills automaker was able to redeem itself when Petty drove this car to score a grand total of 18 wins and 31 top 10 finishes in the 1970 NASCAR season.
The auction house boasts that the ’70 Superbird underwent a restoration using original or “new-old-stock” parts with Petty himself, along with Richie Barz and Dale Inman of Petty Enterprises, verifying the car’s significance. This specific race car also served as a template for the Petty-inspired character, “Strip ‘The King’ Weathers” in Disney Pixar's animated feature, Cars.
In a separate lot is another race car driven by Petty in the following NASCAR season: a 1971 Plymouth Road Runner. Also confirmed to be his official car, this Road Runner helped Petty score the Grand National championship trophy during that season after racking up 21 race wins and 38 top-five finishes. It then visited the White House in 1971 after being formally invited by President Nixon.
The auction listing says the Road Runner’s 426-cubic-inch Hemi V8 underwent a full overhaul while its original torsion beam front suspension and rear leaf-spring setup remains. To round it all off, it was the last Plymouth-sponsored car that Petty drove in any competition.
Those interested in the 1970 Plymouth Superbird will have to contact Mecum for a pricing estimate, but the auction house estimates that the 1971 Road Runner could fetch anywhere in between $1 million and $1.5 million. A replica of the Superbird sold earlier this year for almost $345,000, but it’s safe to say that the real thing will fetch way more than that.