- The Road Runner was designed to get back to the original concept of the muscle car, high performance at a modest price.
- The Superbird was designed so Chrysler would have a highly-competitive entry in NASCAR racing.
- This particular car made history by setting many land speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Chrysler wanted to return to the basic concept of muscle cars, high performance at a modest price. The Plymouth Road Runner was offered from 1968 to 1980, and introduced a performance car with several engine options and basic exteriors and interiors. The Superbird was designed with one goal in mind – to give Chrysler a highly-competitive entry in NASCAR racing that was available to the public. However, this particular Road Runner Superbird went on to become a land speed record setter at Bonneville.
Bonneville Speed Week is held each year in late August or early September; weather permitting, at Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover, Utah. These salt flats are straight and smooth, producing the best natural race and testing course in the world for wheel-driven machines. Competition is entered by cars and drivers from all over the world. Watching carefully, one can see the cars during their run disappear over the curvature of the earth.
This 1970 Plymouth Road Runner set the land speed record for B/Altered cars on the Bonneville Salt Flats. When the “Fly Rod” was owned and driven by Jim Frederick, it continued to set new world records several years in a row. Running on gasoline and without turbos or supercharging, the 1978 world record was set at 206.371 mph. In 1979, the car set a new record at 211.736 mph. In 1981, again the record was raised by this car to 214.288 mph. The last record was set at 216.392 mph in 1987 with long-time crew participant Ross Sherburn at the wheel.
Jim Frederick called his car Fly Rod because, at more than 180 mph, it looked and sounded like a jet with its aerodynamic lines and high tail air foil (23 inches). The number 707 is on the car because it had always been a lucky number for Frederick. This Supernird started out with a 440 Six Pac engine, but was later replaced with a 426 cu. in. Hemi, .030" over bore. The engine’s outstanding performance and durability is credited to Frederick’s crew chief and engine builder Bob Sykes.