Hurricane Ian is currently racing towards South Carolina, being expected to make landfall this afternoon as a Category 1 storm, which means winds of up to 95 mph. Meanwhile, Floridians are dealing with the aftermath of the deadly storm, which had previously taken out Cuba’s entire power grid. Hurrican Ian hit Florida on Wednesday, becoming a monstrous Category 4 storm (150 mph winds), one of the most powerful to have ever affected the US. And, as people confront the havoc wrecked by the storm, details about a damaged 1970 Plymouth Superbird and 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona have emerged.
Update: Mike, the owner of the Superbird and Daytona, recalls the terrible experience in an interview for cinematographer and fellow Mopar man Douglas Thron.
Neil Walton, a family member of the owner, who is reportedly named Mike, uploaded a photo of the situation on Facebook. And we can see the Superbird sitting on its vinyl roof in front of the garage where it used to be, with at least a dent in the rear quarter panel and what appears to be a deformed rear wing.
The garage is situated at the ground level of a mansion, with Facebook user Robert Bobby Peterson claiming this is located in Cape Coral, FL.
Next to the Plymouth, there’s a Charger Daytona that was also damaged by the hurricane, as confirmed by Walton. Fortunately the Dodge has its wheels on the ground. Nevertheless, while the low-res photo makes it difficult to tell, the rear window could be broken while there seems to be some debris on the rear bumper. However, it’s also worth mentioning these cars were flooded with salty water, whose corrosive effects are well known.
The classic muscle cars were sitting on hoists, above the height of an average adult
As with the McLaren P1 (and Rolls-Royce) we recently covered, these muscle cars were dragged out of their garage by the storm. However, unlike the newer machines, which sat at ground level, the Plymouth Superbird and the Dodge Charger Daytona were raised on four-post hoists, sitting about 6.5 feet (2m) high inside the garage when the rushing water dragged them outside.
These details come from Walton, who also provided some addition images from when the property was in order. And in those photos, we can see that the garage also held a similar pair, but, as Walton states, the other Superbird and Daytona were moved to a safe location before the storm hit.
With images of the disaster going viral on social media, some commenters wonder why the owner didn’t take all four vehicles out of harm’s way. And while we can’t think of an answer, digesting material that shows the aftermath of the storm shows us that not too many people expected the situation to be this severe, even in a state that constantly has to deal with extreme weather of the sort.
Now, the Superbird and the Daytona damaged by Hurricane Ian could be originals, but there’s no way of being certain. However, we know the Charger Daytona that was spared is genuine and that Mike bought this new (440, automatic) back in the day. These details come from a Graveyard Cars YouTube video that shows the vehicle before a recent restoration the Oregon-based specialist performed—you’ll find the clip at the bottom of the story.
The Charger Daytona and Plymouth Superbird are a piece of American history
These winged warriors, were born for NASCAR dominance back in the days when aero was still a bit of an option in banked oval racing.
The Charger Daytona, named after Florida’s Daytona Beach racing attraction, may not have been as successful as hoped, but it became the first racer to hit 200 mph (322 km/h) on a closed course in 1970. After all, this is the model whose name Dodge is using to usher in its first electric muscle car, whose production version is scheduled for a 2024 debut.
Returning to the past, engineers had more time to develop the Superbird, which is based on the Plymouth Road Runner, with almost four times more road cars being built—Dodge put together 503s Daytonas, while Plymouth assembled 1,920 Superbirds. Still, since not too many customers understood the nose cone and the super-sized wing back then, production remained limited.
Both Mopars are treasured collector items nowadays (six-figure cars when fitted with the 375 hp 440 V8 and even seven-figure machines in 425 hp 426 HEMI trim. However, the extra rarity of the Dodge means this generally commends a higher price these days.
Fortunately, unlike in the case of the McLaren P1 and the Rolls-Royce, salty water ruining the electronics isn’t an issue here. Still, the vehicles require extensive work to say the least, as anybody who’s had to deal with flooded cars can tell you.
And we can only hope that these muscle icons, be they originals or tribute builds, return to proper condition when possible. Meanwhile, we’re happy that Mike and his family appear to be unharmed.
With nearly a month having passed after the disaster, the Plymouth Superbird and the Dodge Charger Daytona are back indoors following a complicated rescue operation.