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Covering Sports cars & Supercars

The Design of Speed

1970 Plymouth Superbird

📸: Photo by

Last year, Road & Track online published a listicle on ten cars with crazy factory wings. Here at The Design of Speed, we're going to take a slight closer look at some of those cars and more in our new series, "Serious Downforce."

First up is an oldie, the limited edition 1970 Plymouth Superbird. Back in the day, American stockcar racing had heated up to the degree that in order to achieve the speeds necessary to win, factory race teams were forced to get serious about aerodynamics. And once they started making changes to race cars, the cars no longer resembled production vehicles. NASCAR officials stepped in with homologation rules, mandating that the factories actually sell street versions of these new aero wonders. And so it came to be that cars like the Superbird and the nearly identical Dodge Charger Daytona were available for purchase at your friendly neighborhood dealer. Surprisingly, they weren't as popular as one would think; reportedly, some dealers had trouble getting rid of them. In this day and age, that's kind of hard to believe; after all, we're talking about a 425 horsepower car capable of going an honest 150 mph. This was a big deal in the '70s. There are some great stories and articles about these cars all over the web; here's a great source for those who want to know more about these "Aero Warriers."

📸: Photo courtesy

According to this article from Road & Track online, an engineer from Chrysler's missile division by the name of John Pointer actually developed the nose cone and basket handle wing for the cars. The wing was made tall so that it would travel in "clean" air. Makes sense.

📸: Photo courtesy

Simple, clean lines on what would normally be an unassuming car. Yet 100% functional at the high speeds it was intended to reach. Serious Downforce.

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