The gents at Heide Performance Products (HPP) make cars that get attention. The philosophy, at least, should appeal to enthusiasts who experience gastric distress whenever they look at another evolution of the mid-sized-fits-all Camcordimabu.
That hasn’t been the case, however – at least not in our comments. Once we post on HPP’s SEMA-riffic offerings like the Camaro-based Trans-Am or Challenger-based Charger Daytona, we don’t have long to wait for a sharp opinion.
We visited HPP’s workshop in suburban Detroit and were given a brief opportunity to form some opinions inside a car, the Petty Superbird, and burn a little gas in the process. Foremost among the revelations: HPP isn’t really trying to revive a car; it is reviving an attitude.
And in keeping with the philosophy we started with, that’s the point. A new supercar is announced every week. If someone had texted you just one year ago with the question, “Hey, have you seen that new Polish supercar?” your response might have been, “I think your autocorrect is acting up – you meant ‘posh,’ right?”
It can be challenging enough to keep up with them. What’s often more difficult is remembering what they look like, or being able to identify them, a week later. That will never be the case with an HPP car. So yes, you have to want an HPP car. You can’t just want a track screamer or bargain performance, or the right to say you have a supercar. You wouldn’t say “I have eighty grand, what can I get?”
Even then, the plan wasn’t to simply make parts for cars, the plan was to develop a system for creating small-volume specialty cars for dealerships – to provide an American-owned, American-run outsourced Skunkworks for OEMs and go “from art to part,” and along the way putting the fun back into showroom floors. He would do this not just for Chrysler dealers, but any dealer – and customer and OEM – who sees such modified cars as sales tools. Hence products like the Daytona Charger, Petty Superbird and HPP T/A. Think Michael Stoschek’s Lancia Stratos for the domestic set…
The HPP Superbird is built on a car that was never intended to do such duty, a genesis story that it shares with the original. The 1970 Superbird was only built because team driver Richard Petty got tired of being beat by Fords and Dodge Daytonas, so he defected to The Blue Oval. But he told Plymouth that if they gave him a version of the Daytona, introduced a year earlier, he’d come back.
Plymouth took a Road Runner – which itself was a modified Belvedere, that in turn being the model Petty used to take the Grand National Championship in 1964 – and created a front clip slightly different than the Charger’s, fitted a hood and fenders from the Coronet, and engineered a wing that was more substantial and at a steeper angle than that on the Charger. The additional benefit of Plymouth having created its car a year after Dodge was that Charger Daytonas might overheat if driven slowly, Superbirds didn’t.
Read more on source: AutoBlog.com