This LS-swapped 1970 Road Runner proves you don’t need to be rich to have fun.
Held together with hopes, dreams, and a whole lot of backyard engineering, this DIY 1970 Road Runner Superbird collected its Long Hauler plaque at the 2021 HOT ROD Power Tour Presented by HP Tuners and Driven by Continental Tire! Yep, it may look stitched together, but this hot rod was built to be driven and proved it could be by traversing more than 1,000 miles in the course of a week, sometimes in pouring rain. Hell, this ride screams “fun,” and we loved it from the moment we spied it on Day 1 of Power Tour.
But what’s the story on this faux Superbird? Well, it was built by Shawn Jones, with the support of his wife, Sara, at Schweaty’s Speed Shop, their shop in Tennessee.
Related:Coolest Junkyard Mopar Ever! 1969 Dodge Charger “Scraptona”
“After meeting up with the guys at TredWear and seeing the Scraptona, we knew we needed a ratty wing car,” Shawn said. “Then I remembered my dad had the roof of an old Road Runner and a pile of parts. After sharing my idea with him, he agreed to give us the parts.
“After collecting all the parts, we were in the process of building a chassis for it when I found an old NASCAR Cup car chassis, from a Toyota team, for $1,600,” Shawn continued. “I added some used NASCAR brakes for $300 along with a fuel system then started slamming the body on the chassis. Kind of like Lego, but with a welder.”
The goal was to build the world’s most affordable Superbird. “Fast and cheap” was the mantra, so the ride has a real minimalistic race car vibe going on. If you’re curious, it’s actually titled as a 1970 Road Runner. The nose and wing are fiberglass replicas from eBay, and all told the couple has a scant $8,500 invested in the Frankenbird.
The rat rod raced-out Mopar is powered by a 6.0L Vortec mill, so pretty much an iron-block LS, backed up by a AR5 five-speed out of a Chevy Colorado and controlled by a Holley Terminator X ECU. The LS-swapped car did great on HOT ROD Power Tour 2021; the biggest problem was the wrong-length axles in the rear floater and an A/C line that blew out. (Yeah, it has A/C!) For the next cruise, he wants some upgraded QA1 shocks and highway-friendly 3.73 gears to replace the current 4.44 ratio set.
During a very bad rainstorm, the couple found out the interior isn’t sealed well enough from the elements. They also discovered they need to add a few more drain holes because the water kept getting deeper, but that’s the fun and adventure of taking a newly built hot rod on Power Tour for its break-in run. We love this ride because it shows what a lot of ingenuity combined with a minimal amount of money and a lot of hard work can pull off. It’s the poster child of hot rodding, built from cast-off parts and some really cool ideas.
Watch! Frankenbird’s Inspiration: Scraptona
Host Kendra Sommer checks in with the folks at TredWear about their incredible 2018 SEMA Show build known as Scraptona. “The Scraptona started out as a ‘what if,'” said TredWear’s Michael Hunt. “What if the good ol’ boys campaigned a car for Le Mans back in 1972: What would they bring to race?”
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