The Strange Tale of RM23V0A173747

Imperial One

FBBO Gold Member
FBBO Gold Member
Local time
4:08 PM
Joined
Aug 19, 2020
Messages
633
Reaction score
2,037
Location
Canada
My buddy Tim from England sent me a photo today of a thread on Old Ontario Mopars before 2000 (it's a Facebook Group). It involves a Superbird that I bought out of a wrecking yard in 1979: RM23V0A173747.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1332020893818569/

273021023_10160000966161291_5179708477486339718_n.jpg


The car was apparently sold new by St. Thomas Chrysler (near London, Ontario Canada), one of two Superbirds sold by that dealership. According to that post, the photo is of Tom May who was the sales manager then.

Here is a photo of their inventory list:

272968835_10160000967541291_3760531499319221239_n.jpg


You can see RM23V0A173747 in that list.

Here is when things get murky. One of the Superbirds was sold to Campbell The Mover (yes, they ran a moving company). From the same post here is a photo of that car:

273144442_10160000982156291_7715270560131994412_n.jpg


I love the period paint job.

You might remember that Car Collector Magazine featured a Superbird on the cover of its October 1979 issue. Here is a picture:

1979-10.jpg


Somehow as a 19 year old I bought a copy of the magazine. That article inflamed me. And as fate would have it a Superbird was listed for sale, probably in Auto Trader, shortly after the magazine came out. I bought it from a fellow in Harrow (a small town not too far from Windsor, Ontario) for $6,500. It was serial number RM23U0A163474. Here is a photo of that car taken probably in 1980.

Superbird circa 1980.jpg


That is me behind the wheel and Bill Veens standing. Yes, I had a vacuum leak. So now I was into Superbirds and Mopar Muscle Cars and became the Canadian director of the Mopar Muscle Club sometime in 1980.

I found out there was a wrecked Superbird in Chants auto wreckers in London, Ontario. Short story: I bought RM23V0A173747 from Chants for $75.00 on a bill of sale. I remember the bill of sale "Dodge Superbird" $75.00. The guy at the wrecking yard was a bit of an abrasive fellow so I didn't bother to correct him.

So the story was that Campbell the Mover rolled the car on the Glanworth curve. This is the murky part: none of the Campbell graphics were on the car when I bought it. So the question is whether the car was repainted or the Campbell car was the other Superbird sold by St. Thomas Chrysler.

We got the car home and then I promptly broke the rear window trying to take it out. For years I had the window trim but I have no idea where it is now (and I am not going to look for it).

In the fall of 1981 I decided to go to school in England. I left my Superbird in the care of John Cherrey, who was a very talented mechanic with a garage in Drayton Ontario (a REALLY small town). John was restoring a Superbird that he bought out of a wrecking yard somewhere down his way. He used my car to see how a complete car should look. I also gave John RM23V0A173747 because there were parts that would be useful to him.

Some time in 1982 John sold my Superbird RM23U0A163474 to guys from BC who drove it home in the winter. That's 3000+ miles in a CANADIAN winter. Now that is hard core!

John restored his Superbird and RM23V0A173747 was put out to pasture. I did not take this photo, but I would guess it was taken some time in the 1990s. Here it is in the pasture:

70superbird17.jpg


If you look at this photo you see nothing of the Campbell the Mover paint scheme. It's hard for me to reconcile the stories I have been told about the car and the photographic evidence of the paint scheme on the Campbell car that I have never seen before today.

This wreck is long gone, but the weirdness continues. In the early 1980's I ran into a guy at a car show who had pried the VIN off the dash of RM23V0A173747 when it was in Chants. I found the VIN from the fender tag. I took the fender tag off back then but I have no idea where that is either. Some time (I think the 90s) I spoke to a guy who had bought (or was given) what was left of RM23V0A173747. I'm not sure if he planned to try to restore it (good luck with that) or what. I have a recollection (not sure if it is correct though) that he was trying to peddle the car. Again, a long time ago.

So there you have it: the incomplete and mysterious history of RM23V0A173747.

Cheers!

p.s. We still do have a wing strut (in my buddy Bill's garage). And the weirdness continues. Someone broke into his garage and stole it, but he found out who it was and got it back.

bills garage.jpg
 
Last edited:

dadsbee

FBBO Gold Member
FBBO Gold Member
Local time
4:08 PM
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
12,602
Reaction score
33,633
Location
Midland Ontario, Canada
Thanks!!!!.. and you just might want to find that rear window trim. It's worth about 20 times what you paid for the car!
 

Imperial One

FBBO Gold Member
FBBO Gold Member
Local time
4:08 PM
Joined
Aug 19, 2020
Messages
633
Reaction score
2,037
Location
Canada
As the result of that FB thread I was sent an old photo of my car, RM23U0A163474, taken at the Speed Sport car show in Toronto in Jan. 1981. That was a really good show as we recruited lots of people to join the Mopar Muscle Club, including people who I am still friends with to this day. That is me at right. It is amazing what is coming out of the woodwork after all these years.

272495818_330367375815014_4340364396932646979_n.jpg
 

440 PHIXX

The Island of Misfit Mopars
FBBO Gold Member
Local time
3:08 PM
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
2,195
Reaction score
3,574
Location
Phillytown
You don’t see many Superbirds with Road wheels. I’d guess about 90% came with the rallys.
 

gkent

Well-Known Member
Local time
4:08 PM
Joined
Aug 8, 2012
Messages
4,211
Reaction score
4,474
Location
Ontario, Canada
I remember seeing that wing strut in your collection of stuff and offering to buy it. You refused but were good enough to loan it to me. It hung in my garage for a year or so - before "garage art" was a thing! I was sorry to see it go but hey, thanks for loaning it to me for that time. And in case anyone is wondering, NO, I am not the guy who stole it !!
 

Imperial One

FBBO Gold Member
FBBO Gold Member
Local time
4:08 PM
Joined
Aug 19, 2020
Messages
633
Reaction score
2,037
Location
Canada
I remember seeing that wing strut in your collection of stuff and offering to buy it. You refused but were good enough to loan it to me. It hung in my garage for a year or so - before "garage art" was a thing! I was sorry to see it go but hey, thanks for loaning it to me for that time. And in case anyone is wondering, NO, I am not the guy who stole it !!

I don't even remember this.

I do remember though, that garage art to us back then mostly was comprised of pictures of naked women, the DC Posters (gotta love Claudia), and the Pirelli calendars.
 

440 4 speed

FBBO Gold Member
FBBO Gold Member
Local time
2:08 PM
Joined
Oct 20, 2019
Messages
2,171
Reaction score
1,174
Location
Saskatoon Saskatchewan Canada
I remember reading an article somewhere about 2 guys driving a Superbird from Ontario to BC, might have been in January.
 

Durandal25

FBBO Gold Member
FBBO Gold Member
Local time
3:08 PM
Joined
Aug 29, 2011
Messages
3,168
Reaction score
3,252
Location
Texas
.....I know everyone loves stories like this.....and I'll tell you, having seen 2 wrecked birds in the summer of 89' at a yard in Seagoville, Tx .....I was a Ford guy back then hunting for parts for my 67 Shelby GT 350....which I also got at the same yard.....I have some old pics of the FOrd, and may still have a few I took of the lot back in the day. These cars were not too badly parted as I recall....and were for sale. I got Mustang for $4500 in very decent shape. The birds were both orange and stacked on 4 Dr Darts....I kid you not. The owner was worried that they would get stolen.....

hers a pic of the mustang, after we got it out and washed it. Dude tried to change the deal after I worked my ass off getting it out, and my neighbor busted his chops for trying to rip off a kid….

82DB0204-EA92-4C51-B939-94C8D46A34E4.jpeg
 
Last edited:

cudacostmore

New Member
Local time
3:08 PM
Joined
Feb 13, 2015
Messages
1
Reaction score
3
Location
Canada
I had talked with Imperial one at the Drayton car show in 1980. I remember you had the red Superbird in the show, along with John Cherrey's 1966 Hemi Satellite convertible. I remember you telling me that you wanted to sell the car. I never forgot that and in 1993 I had a friend that came back from Manitoulin island and told me he had seen a wing car behind a garage (but couldn't remember exactly where. I spent three weekends driving all over trying to find it never did. A short while later I was calling about a rear luggage rack for a E body and told the guy the story that I had been looking for a Superbird project. He put me in contact with a fellow near Hamilton that might have one for sale. I meet him at a small restaurant in Clappison Corners and struck a deal for the car. That was in 1993. After buying it I discovered it was missing the dash tag but the fender tag was there and intact. I then received a call from another mopar friend in Hamilton that put me in contact with a fellow in St. Thomas that had the dash tag which I traded some parts for. I have been gathering parts since then for the car (rear factory wing, rear factory window plug, fenders, fender scopps, a new Legendary interior, nose cone and all the other parts needed.
 

Imperial One

FBBO Gold Member
FBBO Gold Member
Local time
4:08 PM
Joined
Aug 19, 2020
Messages
633
Reaction score
2,037
Location
Canada
I had talked with Imperial one at the Drayton car show in 1980. I remember you had the red Superbird in the show, along with John Cherrey's 1966 Hemi Satellite convertible. I remember you telling me that you wanted to sell the car. I never forgot that and in 1993 I had a friend that came back from Manitoulin island and told me he had seen a wing car behind a garage (but couldn't remember exactly where. I spent three weekends driving all over trying to find it never did. A short while later I was calling about a rear luggage rack for a E body and told the guy the story that I had been looking for a Superbird project. He put me in contact with a fellow near Hamilton that might have one for sale. I meet him at a small restaurant in Clappison Corners and struck a deal for the car. That was in 1993. After buying it I discovered it was missing the dash tag but the fender tag was there and intact. I then received a call from another mopar friend in Hamilton that put me in contact with a fellow in St. Thomas that had the dash tag which I traded some parts for. I have been gathering parts since then for the car (rear factory wing, rear factory window plug, fenders, fender scopps, a new Legendary interior, nose cone and all the other parts needed.

Glad to hear this. I had thought I had taken the fender tag off the car. And what are the chances that you actually found the guy who had pried the VIN from the car way back when (some time prior to 1979 when I bought the car from Chants.

A couple questions:

1. Where are you located?
2. Could you post a current photo? Would love to see after all these years.
 

Top