The car was sparkling, the famous were out in force, and the TV cameras were beaming the entire spectacle live coast-to-coast. When the gavel dropped, the YearOne/Goldberg Superbird project car sold for just over a half-million dollars – with all proceeds benefitting the Darryl Gwynn Foundation.

 

The project, dreamed up by football player-turned wrestler-turned TV personality Bill Goldberg, brought together a virtual who’s-who of the musclecar, entertainment and racing industry to benefit the work of former drag racing champion Darryl Gwynn. Goldberg teamed up with YearOne, Gillette-Evernham Racing, Barrett-Jackson and MuscleCar TV to create a one-of-a-kind Superbird inspired by the famous winged warriors piloted by Richard Petty in his heyday.

 

Starting with standard ’70 Plymouth Satellite, the crew at YearOne transformed the humble starting point into a stunning Superbird tribute. The YearOne design team spent a considerable amount of time studying and photographing original Superbird race cars on display at the Talladega Motor Speedway museum for inspiration. Gillette-Evernham Racing donated a NASCAR-spec engine and transmission to the project, making a few changes so the race-bred combination would run on current pump gasoline. Even with the changes, the engine still made over 750-horspower on the dyno prior to installation. While the competition drivetrain and extensive chassis modifications and roll cage work scream racetrack, the YearOne crew added all the necessary street equipment to make the car legal for road use.

 

The Superbird build was documented by RTM productions and has been featured on their MuscleCar TV and PowerBlock shows. Additionally, the car starred at the 2008 SEMA show in the Barrett-Jackson booth, and will be featured in a number of upcoming enthusiast magazines in 2009.

 

The ultimate goal of all this effort was to raise awareness and funds for the Darryl Gwynn Foundation. The foundation was started by drag racing champion Darryl Gwynn to support research into spinal cord injuries and to assist those individuals suffering from paralysis – particularly children. The Darryl Gwynn Foundation is an Official Charity of the Barrett-Jackson organization, and indeed the auction company provided the perfect opportunity to raise money and awareness at their 2009 Scottsdale event.

 

The Superbird drove onto the Barrett-Jackson stage before thousands on-hand and millions watching Speed Channel’s live coverage on Saturday, January 17th. The honor of driving the car into the spotlight fell to none other than living legend Richard Petty, the King of Stock Car racing. Once the car was situated in front of the huge crowd, King Richard, Goldberg, YearOne president Kevin King, Darryl Gwynn, musician Kenny Wayne Shepherd and other well-known industry and entertainment personalities helped the Barrett-Jackson crew get the auction rolling. When all was said and done, the car sold for an astonishing $501,000, the auction high-point at that time, and an additional $175,000 was pledged to the Darryl Gwynn Foundation. Altogether the event raised $676,000 for the charity.

 

YearOne has teamed up with Evernham Racing, Musclecar TV and automaniac Bill Goldberg to create an updated legend—a NASCAR Superbird. “Goldberg said he wanted it to be as close to a real NASCAR as possible; for the street,” said YearOne project designer Phil Brewer. “It’s pretty much going to be an old-school NASCAR, in particular, how we’re going to handle the body.”

 

To help with the direction of the build, cars from the Talladega Motor Speedway museum were photographed extensively. Period-correct NASCAR modifications will include raising the trans tunnel, moving the rear spring pockets further up into the floor, a stout X-brace to tie the subframes together, wheel tubs installed and a generous radius of the wheel openings. While the originals moved the torsion-bar cross member up into the floor, a more modern coil spring approach is going to be employed, which will simplify things and get the nose down. A full roll cage and early NASCAR-esque bare bones interior (with two seats) will pretty much sum-up the office space. “Goldberg mentioned that he might want to do some top-speed stuff with the car, so it’s going to be built as though it is a competition car,” Brewer said.

 

While the body is all retro, the power is all modern. Evernham Motorsports is contributing a NASCAR-spec 358ci Dodge, without the NASCAR-spec restrictions. Producing close to 750 horsepower, the engine has been de-tuned enough to run on pump gas, but is otherwise pretty much off-the-shelf NASCAR. Backing it is a feather-weight Tex Racing 4-speed manual trans feeding an 8 ¾-inch rear. At this point, the biggest problem with the design of the car is a wheel and tire package, as finding the right tires is proving difficult. “You can’t really run NASCAR slicks on the street,” Brewer said. “And modern tires just don’t look right. “

 

The car started with a complete Satellite that was an older restoration. Though the car was complete and “finished,” it was obvious the paint hid a few rough spots in the body. Once the car was taken to the blaster, the need for metalwork in the quarters, tail panel and floors emerged. Fortunately, with a project this involved, it’s just as easy to start from Square One.

 

Once the car is finished, the plan is to show it for a few times and then run through the Barrett-Jackson Auction, with proceeds going to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation to benefit research of spinal cord injuries. Former NHRA driver Gwynn launched the foundation after suffering a sever spinal cord injury following a horrific 1990 accident. Making the most of his contacts in motorsports, The Darrell Gwynn Foundation is dedicated to injury prevention, with special emphasis on programs targeting children, and is the official charity of Barrett Jackson and the NHRA.

Vehicle Specifications:


Engine:



358 c.i. Evernham Dodge R5 race engine

780 h.p. at 8500 r.p.m.

Flowmaster mufflers integrated into NASCAR exhaust

Fuel System:



Brown & Miller race plumbing

Front Suspension:



Magnum Force tubular K-frame with tubular control arms

Coilover shocks on all 4 corners

Rear Suspension:



Custom 4-link rear suspension
8-3/4” rear end with 3.90 gears

Wheels/Tires:



15”x10” NASCAR race wheels

Additional 18” and 19” Foose billet wheels for street use

BFGoodrich g-Force race and street tires

Interior:



YearOne restoration interior panels

Flaming River steering column

YearOne reproduction “Tuff” steering wheel

Auto Meter gauges

Painless Wiring harnesses

Paint:



BASF paint shot with SATA guns

Transmisssion:



Borg-Warner T-101 4-speed transmission

Brakes:



Baer 6-piston disc brakes

Body:


1970 Superbird clone
YearOne restoration sheetmetal