Friday, March 27, 2020

Hot Wheels FTE ‘70 Plymouth Superbird

A Superbird that's super fast!  

This review we are going to take a closer look at the Faster Than Ever ‘70 Plymouth Superbird.  The superbird was first introduced to the Hot Wheels line-up back in 2006.  There were quite a few different versions released that year, but the Faster Than Ever version turned out to be quite a quick little car.  Of course it’s first and obvious advantage is the Faster Than Ever wheels and axles.  The nickel-plated axles help reduce friction as the wheels rotate around the axles.  Less friction translates into more speed on the track.  The open spoke Faster Than Ever wheels also help.  These wheels are lighter than solid wheels so they take less energy to rotate.  That means more of the car’s energy can be used to get it down the track and glossing over some “mathy” physics, that means a faster car.

One of the defining features of the Superbird is that long pointed nose.  While it does make the Superbird a bit more aerodynamic, it also gives it another advantage.  That extra length on the front of the car pushes its center of gravity farther back.  On a sloped track, farther back means higher, and higher means more potential energy.  Potential energy depends on 3 things.  Gravity, the mass of the object, and its height off the ground.  Gravity is pretty much a constant (unless you decide to go race on the moon) but we can change the mass of the car or it’s height off the ground and give it more potential energy.  However, only one of those things translates into a greater possible velocity, height.  Yes, a more massive car will usually be a faster car, but not because of the potential energy/velocity relationship.  Theoretically, for any given height, there is a maximum velocity that the car can reach and it is independent of the car’s mass.  A more massive car just doesn’t slow down as much as a lighter car, but for the same height they both have the same potential maximum velocity.  However the potential maximum velocity is dependent on height, so a car that starts out higher has a greater potential maximum velocity. In theory anyway.  There are lots of variables to consider, but all other things being equal, the fact that the Superbirds nose pushes it’s center of gravity a little higher on the track should be an advantage.

The Superbird also has the advantage of a pretty long wheel base.  That long wheel base helps the Superbird run straighter down the track.  And we all know that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  Not only is a straight line run down the track a shorter distance, but less impacts on the sidewalls of the track is an obvious advantage.

One disadvantage that the Superbird has is that it isn’t very heavy.  Weighing in at 39 grams, it is actually relatively light compared to many of the cars we’ve looked at so far.  That fact keeps it from being an elite performer in open weight stock races, but in stock races that are classed close to its weight it’s going to be a tough car to beat.  Because of all the other things it has going for it, it is also a great casting to modify.  Add a little weight to it and you can have a very fast, top performing car.
Even though the Superbird is a bit light, it is still a car that should be part of your racing collection.  It’s Faster Than Ever wheels, long nose, and long wheel base make it a force to be reckoned with.

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