locked in a barn
- now it wants to fly!"
upgrades in 2015,
Gen III Hemi, 440+ cid,
Tubular K, 4-link rear, 4-wheel disc,
Sporting "Banned Bird" graphics.
this is a documented legitimate "barn find" and a legitimate
1970 Plymouth Superbird. In 2010, this specific Superbird became mildly
popular on the Internet. Coverage of the 2010 Carlisle barn find display
shows pictures of it in articles and car forums. It's color combination
of Petty Blue with White vinyl top and lack of the headlight nose decals
is unique. It is documented to have been this color combination since
1978, and still is today.
late 2014, the 2010 Carlisle barn find display became second in Internet
popularity for this unique Superbird. More common now are current pictures
of it with plain black steel rims. It was up for sale then, and many
car forums were posting pictures of it. On a few forums, this car fuels
an ongoing debate: Should a non-stock looking Superbird that is recognized
in the community be restored to "day one" showroom condition,
or be kept as is? Yes, this specific Superbird is not the original color
and is weathered, but should that history be lost on a full restoration?
for this Superbird:
14, 1969 = At the Chrysler Clairpointe Plant for nose cone and wing
installation (as all Superbirds were).
- 1978 = Believed in Virginia during this time. Car gets repainted
during this time period because of a rumored incident with a ditch.
The result is Petty blue added over the original B5 blue. Since no
Superbirds are documented with factory applied white vinyl tops, odds
are that the top was installed after delivery to the dealership.
- 1978 = Rear horizontal (middle) section of wing is replaced with
a flat black piece (assume after the paint job since it was not painted
= The Superbird is stored in a Cumberland Virginia barn. Stickers
on car are for 1978. It will remain in the barn for at least 25-years.
(or 2005) = Ken Dehnel had heard of a "Petty Blue" Superbird
sitting in a barn, so sought it out. When removing the pile of leaves
under the hood to inspect the fender tag, he was attacked by a possum
that had nested there. Ken trades a matching numbers running Road
Runner for the 'Bird. Ken recovers the intact broadcast sheet from
rear seat. (Note: Ken has said 2003 and 2005. At this time we are
calling it 2003, but imbedded date on one .JPG picture file is 2005.
Other pictures in barn have no dates).
or 2007= Ken trades the Bird to Le Hodge of Hodge Restorations
(located in Inman, SC). The 'bird has spent some time in Florida
driven by Ken's father.
2007 = Le sells the car to Steve Gemza at Creations by Gemza (Denver,
9-11, 2010 = Car is in the Barn Find display at the Carlisle show.
2010 = The Hendricks show is the last time Gemza drives the car to
a show. Steve takes it off the road and parks it in a corner of the
shop. Suspension and motor make driving it a challenge, and figure
park it until they have time to restore it. In a 2015 interview, Steve
Gemza said that they weren't in a rush to start a restoration because
they were afraid to what could be underneath the paint job. This refers
to the signs of putty around the car.
= Steve Gemza trades Le Hodge for 2 cars. Le once more owns the 'Bird.
2013 = Le sells the car to Mr. "H" in South Carolina.
2014 = Mr. "H" sells the Bird to Steve Larson in Northern
Illinois. Mr. H has a knack of finding Superbirds. At this time he
has 3 or 4 birds he is restoring and/or selling. He has done nothing
to this car (probably since Superbird prices have leveled off and
the cost of restoration would not make it profitable). Around this
time pictures of the car being for sale were on several Internet forums.
The Petty blue body, white vinyl top, no nose decals, and black steel
rims make it unique. The car stirs up forum comments regarding if
cars like this should be restored to full stock or keep as is.
2014 = Larson contacts a few people regarding putting in a Generation
III Hemi. The goal is to make the car "kind of" Pro Touring,
but not change the 1970 period look of the body and interior. To cover
the option of a Hellcat motor, a new Hellcat Challenger is ordered.
Pulling the motor from the car is an option.
2014 = Larson
finds long lost friend Ben Grasso on Internet. Ben and Larson traded
model car kits (some Superbirds!) in the late 1980's. Now Ben owns
Plum Floored Creations and has
done several Gen III transplants into Mopar B-Bodies, including a
clone Superbird. A budget is prepared for a normally aspirated Gen
III Hemi and a Challenger Hellcat motor, but all Gen III builds rejected
because of cost. Will keep the Superbird running to get through 2015.
4, 2015 = Tires leak, transmission leaks, vacuum line leaks, gas leaks,
brakes leak, power steering pump needs to be filled weekly. The motor
purrs like a kitten: if it starts. Have to jump the solenoid with
a screwdriver. Major work is needed to make the car dependable. Either
repair or replace with 1970 tech or with 2015. After much talk and
planning, the decision to replace the entire drive train and suspension
with 2015 tech is made by Larson. The Hellcat motor idea is rejected
not because of cost, but because it is new ground. Communicating with
the motor with non OEM software/equipment could be an issue and delay
the build. Also, 2 other Hellcat powered Superbird builds are in progress,
making this a 3 bird race to be done first.
- April 24, 2015
= The Superbird is shipped to Arizona for modification done by Ben at
Plum Floored Creations.
- April 28, 2015
= Official start of clock on project: Gen III HEMI rotating assembly
for the motor ordered.
- May 10, 2015 =
Larson looking for history of car finds that old owner Ken Dehnel posted
some history of this barn find on Dodgecharger.com back in 2014. Also
finds images of it (from 2010) on a French Canadian car forum site.
- August 1, 2015
= The Superbird, still assembled, is given a decal package to appear
as "The King" from the "Cars" movie for a weekend
event in Arizona. Almost all parts are ready and staged or ready to
ship to the Plum Floored Creations shop. Work will not start until all
pieces are on hand or known to be ready.
- September 29, 2015
= A white stripe is added down the center of the nose, hood, trunk,
and wing. The paint is given a cracked appearance to look as patenia
as the Petty Blue paint. In true 1970's street race style of under-advertising,
a "426 cid" callout is added to the hood rather than the actual