WINGED WARRIORS/NATIONAL B-BODY OWNERS ASSOCIATION

SUPERBIRD DEVELOPMENT

Photos from the collection of Sue George with thanks to Dick Padovini; text by Sue George

Shown here are some fascinating photos taken inside of Creative Industries of the Superbird clay mock-up. Creative Industries was a small customizing and assembling plant that was located in Detroit near Chrysler's Lynch Road Assembly plant. In the 1960s and 70s, and even as late as the late '80s, the car manufacturers outsourced many special projects to Creative Industries. While most people are under the impression the folks at Creative Industries built all of these special parts, the fact is most often they outsourced other small businesses to actually manufacture the custom parts. For Chrysler's projects, Hackett Brass built the wings, a company in Canada stamped out the grille frame and parking light frames, another company in Chicago provided the screen, etc. Chrysler did some experimentation and developing of some parts in the Creative Industries building, but for the most part, C.I. mostly only did the disassembly and reassembly of custom parts.

We've talked to several people who worked in either Creative Industries or one of the many small manufacturing plants nearby and heard many stories about the stacks of brightly colored Charger hoods and RoadRunner fenders that were removed and stored while the cars were being converted to Daytonas and Superbirds. If you look closely at the far left photo, you can see a stack of Charger hoods leaning against the wall between the two Daytona nosecones. Probably left over stuff from the Daytona project.

These are very early photos of the Superbird nosecone development. They are dated July 7, 1969 which is interesting because that means the Superbird was already this far along in development even before the Daytona debuted at the Talladega 500 race! Note the nose is mocked-up out of clay. The nose is molded right into the fenders at this point! The headlight doors have been outlined in the clay. Also note the side marker lights have been filled in. The fender scoops appear to be solid blocks of clay or perhaps even wood. The clay nose was heavy so it was held in place by stanchions on the floor.

In the next three photos below you can see the wing and rear window development. The clay nose was heavy so it was held in place by stanchions on the floor. I thought it was extremely interesting that at this very early stage of development, the stainless steel A-pillar mouldings are already in place! You can see the wooden stanchions on the trunk that hold up the wing in the first two photos. Also note that the wing upright was made in a two-piece design, like the first wing that was made for the Daytona test mule (Greg Kwiatkowski has that wing now).  Look closely at the rear window clay mock-up and you can see the window plug outline.

But the really interesting thing about these photos is--if you didn't already figure it out from the body lines and bucket seats with headrests--the car being sacrificed is a 1969 RoadRunner, NOT a 1970! Note the old dial phone on the wall that they have the car's rearend shoved up against.



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2006 WINGED WARRIORS/NATIONAL B-BODY OWNERS ASSOCIATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.