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Local company restores muscle car now for sale with a
MIDDLEFIELD A one of a kind muscle car built to chase airplanes for the EPA has taken a few spins on winding local roads, and has even ripped past a police cruiser.
Moran could not be reached for comment before this article went to press.
"Nobody wants to drive it," Chaffee said. "Even my guys are afraid of it."
But gas receipts and other papers he found in the glove compartment gave him clues to the car's original use. He also had nine photographs of the car in its heyday. Research and phone calls led him to Moran, who told story after story of his experiences in the car.
"They saw that leaded gas was putting so much [pollution] into the environment," he said. "That was the beginning."
"And it was a gas guzzling age," Chaffee said. "That was the pinnacle of horsepower. So the findings from this car actually affected the muscle car engine."
Chaffee spent about $500,000 to restore the car, which includes the purchase price.
People often ask him why he thinks the car is worth that much, Chaffee said.
Wednesday, he took the valuable car from the undisclosed location in Middletown where he stores it, and brought it to his shop in Middlefield, where he had an appointment with a potential buyer; but with a $3 million starting price tag, Chaffee did not get an offer.
The 375 horsepower car, which was featured on Spike TV before Chaffee restored it, has been dubbed "the car that killed the muscle car." The results of EPA testing done with the car led to car manufacturers building vehicles with less power, Chaffee said.
He told Chaffee much the same thing.
Now those numbers are back up to 400 horsepower, but only for race cars, he said.
He refers to the crew that painstakingly worked for three long years to return the car to its original use.
Equipment on the car includes an air sampler and a pollution detector, among other items. A press release dated May 1972, which Chaffee displays on his Web site, describes exactly what the car can do.
"It's the only car of its kind in the entire world," he said. "You couldn't buy another one of these if you wanted."
Moran was interviewed by Spike TV for the network's feature. In the interview, Moran said he was not sure if the car would stand up to turbulence from an swiftly racing airplane until he tried it.
"You're looking at the Holy Grail of cars," said Brian Chaffee of E Muscle. "It helped with changing the environment, and it's a freak."
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"Somebody had changed it back into a regular car," he said.
The car barely ran and needed to be completely dismantled, but had low mileage and looked alright, the men said.
Master technician Dan Miller assembled the motor and did the machine and electrical work; Steve Paskiewicz, director of operations, oversaw the project; and Tim Beaulieu was the body technician.
Now it's not planes that are causing fear, but the restored car itself.
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In 2006, Chaffee purchased the 1970 Plymouth EPA Super Bird with the Prada Double Bag Small Vs Medium help of an anonymous business partner, who gave him the cash and a truck to buy and transport the car. After three years of efforts, including searching feverishly for parts, he unveiled the completely restored car earlier this month.
fitted with special equipment by him for the Environmental Protection Agency, the car was on the road from March 1972 through Prada Bag Red
Chaffee said he has had several telephone conversations with Moran, and has taken advantage of the man's recollections to piece together much of the car.
In 1970, muscle cars were built with up to 450 horsepower, Chaffee said, after the EPA testing, the numbers went down to 200 and 300 horsepower.
While the Super Bird was built to hit the race track, the EPA version could race behind airplanes. Taking advantage of the aerodynamic structure of the car, John Moran from the EPA used it to pick up emissions from planes and cars, which he later measured in a lab, Chaffee said.
"This brand new 1970 Plymouth Super Bird prepared by Nichels Engineering will race, but with jet planes," the document reads. "This car was built for the Federal Environmental Protection Agency and will be used to measure particulate matter as a result of tire and brake lining wear. In addition to use on streets and race tracks, the car will be used to chase jet planes as they take off."
By the time Chaffee got the car, it was no longer a pollution measuring machine.
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