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.