Winged Warriors/National B-Body Owners Association
Special Feature Car - Phil Handley

Text and Photos by Phil Handley

I bought my SuperBird in 1973 as a rolling chassis from the original owner's son. It had no engine or transmission, but it was a real SuperBird. It had a headliner, original door panels and seats.

As a brand new SuperBird, it had sat at a Leesburg, VA Chrysler dealership until late 1971. The original owner, James Earl Brown of Clinton, MD, traded a 1961 Ford Fairlane in for it and paid about $4,100 for the Bird. Mr. Brown had raced the car at M.R.I. and blew up two engines. So the Bird was sitting in Brown's grandma's yard right off of Route 301. I had a trucker friend looking for a winged car for me and he was the one who saw it there.

After my friend told me about the car, I drove down there and asked if it was for sale. The grandma gave me her son's phone number. So I called Mr. Brown Sr. and ended up buying the car from his son. I also got the original MSO for the car and the title in the original owner's name, however I had to turn the title in at the Motor Vehicle Department.

The car then sat in my father's farm field in Frederick, MD from 1973 until June 1, 1988. At that time, I took it to Windom, Maine to a place called "Hemi Heaven". It turned out to be Hemi Hell! After two years and a total of $28,000 later, I brought the car back. It was June, 1990. They had assembled the engine, upholstered the seats and painted the body. The engine, a 1970 shortblock, came out of Maine.

I was aggravated by the experience so I let the car sit for about 10 years, but I was still buying parts for it all along. In 2000, I took the SuperBird to Chuck Dodson, a friend of mine. Chuck has been doing cars for about 40 years and he worked on it all during that winter. He actually was normally a Ford man and didn't really want to get into Chrysler products, but he wanted to help me out of this mess. I helped at Chuck's shop and we assembled the car there in the fall of 2001 and finally rolled it out done. Chuck spent about 80 hours buffing out the paint Hemi Heaven had applied and basically had to redo everything they had already done.

The Bird has a Janak reproduction nosecone because the original cone was rotted out, but I still have it. It also has NOS fender scoops and grille. A friend made the grille frame and Lou Miles made the parking light brackets out of stainless. Another friend made the rear window trim for me.

He had to rebuild the little rain troughs under the cowl area that divert the water out near the fresh air ducts. This is a trouble area on old Mopars that most owners blame on leaking windshield wipers, and it's often really the cowl troughs. The trunk floor was also replaced because the tail lights leaked. Here's a little tech tip: when sealing up the tail lights, you should use 440 glazing tape instead of the factory foam.

When the car was finally done, I took it to a couple of local shows and then to our National Meet at Pigeon Forge and the Darlington meet in 2002. It has won several places in its class.


This SuperBird is an original 426 Hemi 4-speed, 3.54 Dana. It is documented to be one of only two Hemi 4-speed Birds painted Alpine white with a white bucket seat interior. It has 3,497 original miles on it.

My Bird originally had a custom-made nerf bar type front bumper because the car couldn't be sold or registered in the state of Maryland without a front bumper!

Anyone who owns a SuperBird is all too familiar with that old problem of everybody coming up and telling you what a nice"SuperBee" you have. I solved that problem with a couple of stickers on my tells you what the car is and one tells you what it isn't!

Click On A Photo To View The Full-Size Version

[Exterior View From Passenger Side]
[Exterior View From Driver Side]
[Galen Govier Authentification]
[Window Sticker]


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