Bidding soars to $3.5 million for NASCAR legend Richard Petty’s ‘most famous’ car

Bidding soared to $3.5 million on Saturday for a 1970 Plymouth Superbird that Richard Petty raced in NASCAR and is billed by its present owner as the most famous in U.S. racing history.

The winged No. 43 car is the main attraction among 43 cars owned by longtime collector Todd Werner that are being auctioned at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, according to the auctioneer, Mecum Auctions.

“Restored by Petty’s Garage and signed by Richard himself, this may be the most famous Superbird of all and the most notable car residing in the Werner collection,” according to the Mecum Auctions website.

“This is the single most recognized automobile in American racing history,” according to the auctioneer.

The car, with its Petty Enterprises 426 Hemi V-8 engine, four-speed manual transmission and “rare” Rare Petty blue paint, was built to lure “The King” back to Plymouth, according to the site.

The site lists no estimated value for the car, asking potential bidders to call for an estimate.

Werner told Fox News the car could sell for at least several million dollars.

Bidding was ongoing at 7 p.m. Saturday, according to the Mecum Auctions website.

Petty’s 1971 Plymouth Road Runner in which he won that year’s NASCAR Grand National Championship sold at the auction for $412,500.

That was a bargain given its estimated value of $1 million to $1.5 million, according to the auction website.

Mecum Auctions is a national car auctioneer that made headlines in March when NASCAR team owner Richard Childress said a Dale Earnhardt Sr. race car up for auction in Phoenix that month was not the original, The Charlotte Observer reported at the time. After Childress complained, the car never sold, according to the auctioneer’s site.

On its website, Mecum issues a disclaimer that “information found on the website is presented as advance information for the auction lot. Photos, materials for videos, descriptions and other information are provided by the consignor/seller and is deemed reliable, but Mecum Auction does not verify, warrant or guarantee this information.

“The decision to purchase should be based solely on the buyers personal inspection of the lot at the auction site prior to the auction.”

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.