Almost a month has passed since Hurricane Ian hit Florida as a Class 4 storm and moved on to the Carolinas with a less severe, but still dramatic impact. And, as we revisit the story of the 1970 Plymouth Superbird and 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona that got flooded over in Florida, we get to see how the iconic muscle cars were saved and where they are now.
When we last covered the topic, Mike, the owner of the classic duo, who nearly got swept away by the water (he and his family are okay), had to deal with the washed-up vehicles remaining outside his home in Bonita Springs, Fl. The collector explained how the state of emergency meant that access to towing vehicles that could help bring the iconic Mopars back indoors was impossible at the time.
Keep in mind that these winged warriors are a testament of Mopar’s NASCAR brilliance from back in the day, when the racing version of the Daytona became the first to hit 200 mph on a closed course. Dodge only built 503 road cars. And while that number climbed to 1,920 for the Superbird, these Plymouths are just as valuable nowadays when their brand is no longer around, and Dodge is scheduled to introduce the first all-electric production muscle car in 2024.
For the record, the examples that come with the 440 V8 commend six-figure prices these days, while the even rarer ones sporting the further-down-the-NASCAR-route 426 HEMI set auctions on fire up to seven digits.
The aero cars were saved, nose cones and wings still in place
Fortunately, the winged warriors did get saved meanwhile—less than 24 hours ago, G&C Automotive & Towing, the specialist that rescued the machines, published a set of photos of the operation on Facebook.
At the time of press, there was no way to identify when the recovery operation actually took place. Even so, we still get to see the vehicles once again sharing a garage after a rescue operation that was considerably more complicated for the Superbird.
Judging from the pictures, the Dodge was pulled off the street quite easily, with a tow truck lifting its rear axle off the ground. For the record, if you’re looking for the owner in these images, he’s the one with the blue shirt, grey pants and a grey-and-red cap.
You see, Mike had rushed another Daytona and Superbird away before Hurricane Ian came. As for these two, the cars were resting on platforms in their garage—they sat over six feet high—but they got pulled out by the water, with the Plymouth endig up on its roof after hitting a structure.
So while the Daytona appears to have simply had its rear axle lifted by a tow truck in order to be removed from the street, the Plymouth had to be turned back onto its wheels—some enthusiasts will label this as flipping the bird, perhaps a way to “get back” at the storm or just make some memes.
To prevent complications, the towing company used two trucks and carefully arranged straps, taking things step by step until rubber was the only thing touching the ground. Alas, what you see pouring out of the Superbird in the GIF below is saltwater, which brings extra corrosion.
However, unlike in the case of modern cars, especially hybrid hypercars such as the McLaren P1 and the Koenigsegg Regera that also got flooded over in Florida, there are no complex electronics that need to be replaced here.
Alas, that’s not to say that fixing the Plymouth and the Dodge will be an easy job. The damage on the body is not negligible (hey, the Superbird’s wing is still strong!), we have the mechanical side, while the interior has clearly been ruined. Oh, as we stated in the previous story, there’s no clue pointing out to these vehicles being anything else than originals, but even tribute builds would be valuable.
Some of the Florida flooded cars are already on Copart
We’re not aware of any insurance details regarding Mike’s cars and yet we’ll remind you that collector and YouTuber Ed Bolian of the VIN Wiki channel, who spoke to the owner of the P1, stated that all the insurance companies he had heard about were not giving owners the option to keep their Hurricane Ian-flooded cars.
And while we’ve seen many of those luxury and performance vehicles listed on the Copart online auction platform, which clearly labels the flooded vehicles, most of them were newer models. Meanwhile, though, the number of flooded vehicles rose from 550 to over 3,000 (at the time when this article was published), including a few classics like this 1972 Corvette. By the way, the “WL” marking stands for water level, a measure aimed at assisting potential buyers identify the extent of the damage.
Since we’re on this topic, we’ll tell you that the NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau) has issued a warning to those affected by the storm, who are potentially facing post-disaster scams as they attempt to rebuild their homes and vehicles. The main point of the advice is to not rush into the process and cover the due diligence associated with such an effort.
Up until earlier today, when the NICB press release was issued, the Bureau had identified almost half a million insurance claims (471,581) related to Hurricane Ian, with the vast majority of these coming from Florida. Almost two thirds of the Florida cases involve homeowner and business claims (272,465), with the remaining ones being automobile claims (151,892).