If there's one thing we've learned from the Barrett-Jackson hype machine, it's that if you want to sell an old car for ungodly sums of money, it helps to have a good yarn to tell about it. Which is why we're somewhat shocked to see this Superbird fail to attract enough interest from bidders at the Atlantic City Classic Car Auction this past weekend.

The 1970 Plymouth Superbird you see above was formerly the property of the Environmental Protection Agency, which used it in some seminal air pollution tests, racing the car down a runway against a jet to measure emissions. The story is a fascinating piece of history, in that this particular Superbird was a product of NASCAR legend Ray Nichels, the chief race car builder for Chrysler during the company's prolific late 1960's period.

Yet that wasn't enough to push bidding past $175,000, so the car will go home to its current owner, Brian Chaffee of E-Muscle in Middlefield, CT. Chaffee spent three and a half years restoring the unique muscle car after acquiring it in 2006, missing the tail end of the historic run-up in muscle car prices in the process.

While the collector market has corrected itself during the past few years of economic uncertainty, the Hagerty Price Guide still lists #1 condition '70 Superbirds packing 440 power as $182,000 cars. So the top bid in Atlantic City was a few thousand light even for a car without such provenance.


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  • 159 Comments
      Keith
      • 2 Years Ago
      A 1970 Pontiac Superbird would be a one of a kind since there is no such thing. When will AOL/HuffPo stop hiring illiterate children to do their writing and editing?
      steelersfootball
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's a plymouth not a pontiac
        karmarind
        • 2 Years Ago
        @steelersfootball
        These tards AQOL hires are luck to spell, much less know anything about a car.
      donnieorama
      • 2 Years Ago
      They'll never build 'em like that again.
      Travis
      • 2 Years Ago
      pontiac superbird ? ..... THIS is whats wrong witho ur country , its a PLYMOUTH SUPERBIRD IF YOUR GONNA WRITE A ******* ARTICLE ABOUT IT ATLEAST KNOW WAT THE CAR IS CALLED...
        nnflfan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Travis
        GEEZE.. phase out Pontiac & Plymouth and the media forgets there was a difference. how soon they forget!
      Chris
      • 2 Years Ago
      One perk of owning this car would be telling people it belonged to the EPA!! Apparently no one at the auction saw the humor.
      Edward
      • 2 Years Ago
      In '71, I worked for a Chrysler/Plymouth dealer in Mpls. We had one of these, covered with decals over bright red paint. At that time, insurance companies were doubling their rates for muscle cars. The car sat in the showroom for months, eating up floor plan interest. It finally sold below invoice (and holdback) with much relief to all. One day a guy brought in an almost new all red 440 Challenger that his insurance company fainted dead away when they found out. I recall the rate was $2200, over 40 years ago! He traded it in on an all red 318 Duster coupe, saving $800 on insurance. I bought that Challenger below wholesale and babied it for 35 years. I gave it to my son, who has almost shined the paint off of it. It's fun to see that car next to a current model. It's absolutely tiny in comparison.
        Brian
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Edward
        My stepfather had purchased a Superbird new in 1970 and he had said the same thing about the insurance being very expensive for it. I believe that he only owned it for a couple of years and ended up trading it in on a Chevrolet pick-up which I believe that he said actually ended up being a little quicker than the Superbird. I sure wish he would have held on to it. It is amazing the kind of money those cars are bringing now.
      Hi Jim
      • 2 Years Ago
      The "Pontiac" Superbird? Jeff Sabatini .. you are writing about stuff you don't understand.
      Kruelhunter
      • 2 Years Ago
      Pontiac?? Does aol even hire editors? Or read their own headlines?
        fonzy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Kruelhunter
        they must not cause pontiac never made a superbird that should have been the editors first clue if they knew anything about cars they wouldve known that before they printed the headline.
          timkunk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @fonzy
          I question if the editor or writer are old enough to remember muscle cars directly. Depending on the era they were born in, it is possible both the writer, and editor only equate "muscle car" with gas guzzling destroyer of the earth, and life. They are unable to tell the difference between a ford cobra, and a mach one. Another question is, Has The ability to individualize by craftsmanship been schooled out of them. One could make the argument that growing up riding in boxes, has retarded their comprehension that there are different brands of automobiles.
      willyk52
      • 2 Years Ago
      Adjusted for inflation, the $4,500 1970 list price would be equivalent to about $26,000 in 2012 dollars.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Signsource1808
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sticker shows Torqueflight Transmission...but interior pic. shows Clutch Pedal ???
      grecojag
      • 2 Years Ago
      Superbirds and Daytona's had many engine options 440 4bbl, 440 six pack, or 426 hemi. Bottom line the market is not full of speculators with money, buying anything close to correct. A car needs to be done right, especially a MOPAR. If this car was done with more accuracy it would have met it's reserve. Pontiac, and people give Rush Limbaugh grief. Calling one of the most iconic MOPAR's a Pontiac is a major sin in the car world!
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