When you think of Richard Petty, usually, you think of his timeless 1970 Plymouth Superbird stock car. It comes complete with a thumping 426 HEMI powerplant, “Petty blue” paint, the No. “43” callouts and the intimidating rear wing that helped create enough downforce to keep the car planted at over 200 mph on the banked ovals of NASCAR.
Just recently, our British friends from Goodwood had a chance to ride shotgun in the legendary, coveted, and now historic, NASCAR-spec musclecar in the car’s native country, just outside of Petty’s Garage. If there’s anything that’s in need of being checked off of our bucket list, is riding in Petty’s Superbird – and these guys have done it!
What’s particularly interesting to note, is that Petty hasn’t even driven the car since 1970 and in reality, it wasn’t really a Superbird. It was actually a Road Runner that had its rear glass, front nose and the notorious rear wing swapped from a Superbird. However, Pete Hamilton’s No. “40” car, was indeed, a Superbird, and that particular car won the 1970 Daytona 500 with Pete behind the wheel.
Richard also notes, that it was the best overall car that they ever had on the track in terms of speed, power and stability – out of every car that they’ve used during his tenure on the NASCAR tracks. It certainly has left a lasting impact to a lot of people, often being associated to Petty himself, despite the other cars he’s raced over the years, including Dodges, Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Buicks and even a Chevrolet or two.
If you have children, then you might also have noticed the car’s role as “The King,” in Disney/Pixar’s 2006 film, Cars, voiced by Petty himself. King Richard wraps the video up in the end, saying, “This year’s Goowood Festival of Speed is going to be the first time the car has been on a track since 1970.”
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of Timeless Muscle Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.