1970 Plymouth Superbird
As one of the craziest muscle cars the ever produced, Plymouth has one of the most recognizable graphics packages they ever presented to the public. The Superbird was an attempt to win the famous Aero Wars in the late ’60s to early ’70s NASCAR championships. However, to homologate the car for racing, Plymouth built just under 2,000 roadgoing Superbirds, selling them all over America.
When the NASCAR officials noticed the limit of 500 cars was too low, they raised the limit to one car per dealership. And in 1970, Plymouth had exactly 1,971 dealerships across the states, so they based the car on the Roadrunner. It came with a 440 V8 as standard and 426 Hemi as the only engine option. However, to make it as aerodynamically efficient as it could, Plymouth installed a nosecone, hideaway headlights and an enormous spoiler on the back.
They even transformed the rear glass from the standard concave-shape to the regular shape, which proved more slippery in wind tunnel testing. The Superbird came with a wild graphics package along with the choice of bright colors. Also, all the cars had a vinyl roof to hide the rear glass conversion scars and big “Plymouth” lettering on the rear fender.
But the best part was the roadrunner bird logo holding a racing helmet. Also, they were quite successful in racing, managing to woo the legendary Richard Petty back to Plymouth after a brief stint with Ford.
1970 Ford Torino King Cobra
Ford wanted to attack those fast and victorious Aero Mopars, the Dodge Daytona and Plymouth Superbird. So for the 1970 season, they designed the Torino King Cobra. Apparently, the Torino Talladega with its modest modifications was not enough to beat those wild winged warriors from Mopar.
The King Cobra was a regular Ford Torino with a special, wedge-shaped front end and 429 engine. The car did well at its initial testing, but at the last minute, Ford pulled the plug on the project. They only made three cars, which are incredibly expensive today.
1971 Plymouth Superbird Prototype
Inspired by the racing success of the original 1970 Superbird, Plymouth wanted more. So, they moved to design and testing the 1971 version. Since they redesigned the 1971 Mopar intermediates with a new body, they based the 1971 Superbird on their new line. However, they added a pointy front end and a new, improved double rear spoiler.
Once again, they thoroughly tested the car in wind tunnels. However, the sudden change of rules implemented by NASCAR officials canceled the project. To tame down the raging speed wars, NASCAR decided to limit the displacement of the engines to 302 inches or 5.0-liters. This slowed the cars down, yet made them extremely aerodynamic.
Sadly, since the 1971 Superbird was an expensive project, the car was obsolete. So, Plymouth canceled the model at the last minute after building just a few prototypes.
Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe
Despite being in production for just two short years, the Aerocoupe is one of the most interesting ’80s muscle cars ever. Basically, it was a regular Monte Carlo SS, but with a few design tweaks they homologated for the NASCAR races. They presented the Aerocoupe option in 1986. It featured a panorama-style back window and a back spoiler. The new rear glass provided an almost fastback profile, vastly improving the aerodynamics on the NASCAR superspeedway tracks.
However, mechanically speaking, the Aerocoupe was identical to the regular SS. And that meant that the power came from a 180 HP 305 V8 engine. The production for the 1986 model year was just 200 examples, which was enough to homologate the car. However, for 1987, Chevrolet produced an additional 5,852 cars.
Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2
Domestic car buyers were surprised when Pontiac introduced the interesting 2+2 package for its popular luxury coupe in 1986. It was the muscle car the company lacked since the late ’60s and an interesting version of the boring Grand Prix of the ’80s. Similar to the Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe, the Grand Prix 2+2 used the same platform, rear glass and rear spoiler for NASCAR races.
Unfortunately, Pontiac didn’t provide the 2+2 with an exciting performance for street use since all cars got the 305 V8 with 165 HP. However, the Grand Prix 2+2 handled much better than the Aerocoupe. That’s because gas-filled shocks, stiffer springs and sway bars, as well as high-performance tires, were a part of the standard package. Pontiac produced this model for two years, in which time they made 1,225 cars.
These are the top nine legendary NASCAR aero warriors. These were Detroit’s fastest stock cars that changed racecar history. No matter what the rules, they managed to build cars that went fast and ruled the NASCAR tracks.