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31 Orchard Lane Middlefield, Connecticut 06455  Ph. 860-349-4570

For Sale: Ray Nichels EPA Superbird

        In early 2006, the E-Muscle team was very excited to locate what was described as a “unique” Plymouth Superbird that had vanished from public sight for more than 30 years. 

        After conducting preliminary research from our Connecticut facility, company president Brian Chaffee verified the seller’s claim that this particular vehicle was a one-of-a-kind 1970 Superbird specially built and outfitted for the Environmental Protection Agency by the late Ray Nichels of NASCAR and stock car racing fame!     

        With the car’s identity confirmed and a promise to the seller of immediate action, we made the drive to Goldston, North Carolina within the next 24 hours and soon found ourselves standing in front of this historically significant muscle car – and amazing discovery! 

        The on-site inspection of the Superbird quickly confirmed the car’s identity before one of E-Muscle’s loyal clients (who has chosen to remain anonymous) purchased the vehicle for an undisclosed sum and informed the seller that Brian and his team had been commissioned to perform an in-depth show-quality restoration.

        With regard to the Superbird’s remarkable heritage, it’s fascinating to note that back in the early 1970s, NASCAR supercar builder Ray Nichels of Nichels Engineering won a U.S. Government bid to build a very special vehicle for the EPA. The mission of this purpose-built automobile would be to chase after airborne commercial aircraft while technicians operating sophisticated testing equipment mounted inside the car monitored the levels of air pollution, noise and tire dust being emitted. Stepping boldly forward to meet this unprecedented challenge, Ray decided a 1970 Plymouth Superbird would be the perfect platform for the high-speed rolling laboratory he was about to build and soon purchased an almost-new example from an individual located in his area.

        Following the installation of the EPA’s testing equipment and the completion of a labor-intensive build process, the Superbird was “launched” into service in March of 1972. After reliably performing its assigned duties for a period of only 18 months, it was decommissioned by the EPA in October 1973 and put out to pasture like a used fork lift before being offered for sale at a government auction in 1979. At the time the car was removed from service, only 10,000 miles had been logged on its odometer!

        After transporting this iconic American automobile to E-Muscle facility, company owner Brian Chaffee and the restoration staff performed a carefully documented disassembly before undertaking a painstaking “nut and bolt” restoration that ultimately achieved bringing the car to show condition and original EPA specifications.

        It is important to mention that the three and a half year restoration process was so thoroughly documented in photographs that everyone from Superbird collectors to NASCAR fans will find the project a fascinating insight into 1970’s automotive technology and the late NASCAR and stock car racing legend, Ray Nichels

        Now offered for sale to discriminating collectors worldwide by Brian Chaffee and his award-winning E-Muscle, LLC organization; this historically significant “one-of-a-kind” Plymouth Superbird will be a show-piece in any private collection, automobile museum or NASCAR-oriented venue. Offers please.        


1970 Superbird  Vehicle Specs:

Prod # 0964 (on NASCAR list of 1,920 VINs)

Build date 11/30/69

440 Commando 4 BBL (#261 of 634 made w/ auto trans)

High Performance 375 H.P.

Special Nichels Camshaft

A833 4 Speed Transmission (Changed over by Nichels)

1969 Road Runner Shifter (Nichels)

8 ¾ Sure Grip -3.55  to 1 Ratio

A13 Superbird Pkg

Vinyl Roof

Hood Pins

Power Steering & Power Disc brakes

Performance Axle Pkg.

H.D. Cooling Pkg.

Dual Exhaust

Hemi Suspension

F70 X 14 RWL Goodyear Polyglass Tires With H.D. Steel wheels

Rally Gauge Pkg

Tic Toc Tach

Deluxe Steering Wheel

3 Speed Wipers

Rear Wing Spoiler & Front Nose Cone 

Originally Alpine White

Now Ice Blue Poly (Changed over by Nichels)

Modifications to include:

Able to do over 100 MPH for over 1 hour and 0-100 in less than 15 seconds


Carry on board test equipment

(3) 12 volt batteries

Dual alternators


4 point safety harness


Special rear suspension system control and gauges


4 speed H.D. transmission

and clutch


Aircraft radio


Braking instrumentation


NASCAR fuel cell


EPA friendly paint scheme

& badges


Automatic on the column with bench seat was replaced with buckets console interior w/ a H.D. 4 speed

Rear seat was removed to accommodate on board test equipment



Documentation: CLICK HERE  

Dealer Invoice

Window sticker

EPA gas charge slips from the 70’s

EPA Articles and press releases

Dash Plaque indicating the vehicle was built for the EPA


For additional information please contact: E-Muscle@snet.net or call 860-349-4570



Where it all began

1972 Press Release

March of 1972

Special Exhaust

EPA's John Moran radios the tower

Interior cockpit

On board fire safety equipment

EPA Inventory tag on dash

Nichels-EPA Plate

After EPA Purchase

2nd owner resto

N.C. Pick up

Initial Inspection

Airing her out

Smells like old Mopar all right

Ray Nichels Special

Gathering of info

Original Stickers

In the air above, talk about a sign!

Superbird Factoids

Tons of documentation and a coyote to boot

Lots of Mopar books too

Vroom Vroom

Loading Up

Loaded for road trip

Fresh from North Carolina

After detail

Cleaned up for Spike TV

Ready to fly!

The Bird has landed

Ready for teardown

What was here Ray?

Rear wheel brake dust sampler port for EPA testing

On board air shocks for adjustable ride height while in motion

Fuel cell installed by Ray Nichels

Fuel cell vent tube

Only driven on Sundays by a little old lady

One rust free bird!

Fuel cell

Extreme Photo Documentation

Tear Down

Factory Undercoating

EPA spec for onboard air suspension system.

Preserve the numbers.

Roll bar remnants.

Interior Removal

EPA storage area rust.

Heater Box.

On board air compressor for inflating air suspension.

Engine Tear Down

Custom Crossmember

Someone was aerosal happy.

Engine Removal

Nichels Internals.

Was this supposed to read nichels?

EPA Test Tubing

Rotisserie Mount.

Interior Gutted

Banking it, just like Nascar.

Wow this is going to make a mess!

Organization is important.

Scrape / Scrape / Scrape

Everything Must Go!

Custom Battery Trays.

Special sandblaster instructions

Ready for blaster

Trip to the sandblaster

At the blaster

In house black phosphate plating.

Back from the blaster.

Within 24 hours - Epoxy Primer

Looks like airplane parts.

Hi-build for the pits.

Sanded for flatness.

Sure grip rear end.

Parts Prep

Blasted Body

No more undercoat.

Let the body work begin.

No more rust.

Look mom, no weld marks!

Even Shrek is pleased with the refinished Brightwork.

Bucket seat corners for pre-fit.

Rear equipment shelf recreation

Putting back battery box brackets

What floor repair?

Fitting battery boxes.

Roll bar pvc mock up.

Fuel cell removal.

Trunk floor repair.

Spot welding to scale.

Trunk floor blue.

Mysterious non-factory holes throughout car.

Holes in tail panel to be determinded.

Beginning body works to panels.

Blocking for straightness.

Final coat.

Interior close to ready.

Inside & out?

Alpine white.

Nichels mods duplicated.

Prepping for black trim.

Roll bar install.

Black Glossy Black Interior Trim.

Proper overspray on the gray.

Fuel cell re-install.

The "what goes where."

Console not included.

Applying sealer.

Apline white.

Needs new console chrome.

2 K-member numbers.

Engine parts prep.

Front end refinish detail.

Correct coloring.

New hardware.

More parts.

Getting dialed in

Balanced to perfection

Checking crank clearance

440 Magnum Assembly

Piston Installation

Engine Assy Complete

Factory like undercoating

Ready for assy.

Fuel cell installation

Dash prep

Rallye gauge rebuild

Firewall Assy.

Heater box install

K-member Assy.

Engine paint prep

Transmission install

Ready for installation

Attention to detail

Rally wheel drums

Nichels air ride suspension

Used buckets fit the bill

Thank God for ebay

Prepping for powder coater

Prepping for plater

Zinc plating

Gold cadnium plating

Looking for replacement fire extinguisher

Found! NOS Goldmine!

Mopar NOS

New Upholstery




She's A Roller

Details, Details

How many alternators?

Hey isn't that the wrong side?

Fuel cell assembly

No! No! It has to look like this!

Date code correct

NOS motorcraft batterys

Motorcraft in a Mopar???

Building to EPA spec

Fire supression

Custom dual exhaust (coming)

New Vynal top

"Testing 1, 2, 3"

Nose prep

Custom EPA air sampler switch

Console install

Nose pre-fit

Headlight assembly


H.D. Steel Wheels

2 years to find the Anderson Air sampler!

"Nose Dive"

A wing and a prayer

Aircraft Radio Communication Device

Custom power inverter box

Fuel cell Re-assembly

High Voltage!

Pre-fit of aircraft radio

On board air compressor pump

Intense masking job

Tim's got the blues

No overspray allowed!

Not to be nosy but...

Straight as a an arrow!

After 2 + years -Never been happier to see blue paint !

Liquid Superbird!

EPA-Chrysler Blue!

Wetsanded but kept 1970's orange peel.

Punch list.

68 Charger Gas Cap

Alpine jambs- Thats the way Ray did it!

Factory correct.

Fuel Cell Inst complete.

Guess Ray forgot to paint this blue.

Heavy Duty Steel wheels!

Original style battery-One of 4 on board.

Plumbing in Air Sampler.

Ready for pollution sampling.

Special blackout delete pkg.

Used for calling the aircraft towers.

Dramatic color difference

Precision body lines

Running fire suppression cable

Fire Suppression Release Handle

Close at hand

Final upholstery

Threading the safety harness

Nichels NASCAR style roll bar

Nichels Harness cable system

Strapping the seats down

10,000 Original Miles

Automotive Artwork

Correct custom fabricated exhaust

Detailing the rear

Factory Inspected

History recreated

Showroom ready

X marks the spot

Dual charging systems

Factory Inspection stickers

Refurbished on board air compressor

Twice the juice!

Control Panel

Aircraft Headphones

Rear equipment shelf

Power Inverter

AMMCO Brake Decelerometer

Sampler selector

Air Sampler Tubing Route

Rear wing sampler tube

Front air sampler probe

Extended tailpipes

Ohhh look what we found!

EPA Inventory Tag

Installing the Nichels EPA Plaque-The Pinnacle!



Drivers view

Drawing a crowd at the Chrysler Nationals

And so it is told.....

Team Muscles Bird Builders (Left to right)

Tim Belieau - PPG Certified Tech

Dan Miller - ASE Certified Master Tech

Steve Paskiewicz - Director of Operations

Bob Matcheski- Master Restorer (not pictured)

Brian Chaffee - Owner/Mgr. 

CLICK HERE  To see all the documentation

SPIKE TV Filming Photo Gallery

Spike TV Arrives

Prepping for Interviews

Meet stand in and duct tape boy

Discussion with local law enforcement

Driving shots

Spiking the countryside

A plan is hatched

Camera prep

What's that noise?

Laying it down

Watch out for the tar boys!

It's a bird

Oh boy!

Time to go!


For more information on racing legend R

E-Muscle recently brought the Superbird to SPIKE TV in Nashville for it's follow up program on the 3 year restoration!

It was on SPIKE TV's  Powerblock on October  24th and 25th  with E-Muscle owner, Brian Chaffee.  

E-Muscle hit international coverage with The Mopar Collectors Guide!

E-Muscle receives 8 page honors in November 2009 Issue going out to 19 countries!

 Get your copy today at a news stand near you!


LaDow Publishing - Biography Highlights


Middlefield CT 06455

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