1 of 194: 1969 Plymouth Hemi Road Runner

There are few words more inviting to a Barn Finder than “Hemi”. And while survivors do pop up now and then, it seems whenever I run across a story about a barn find Hemi nowadays, it’s more often than not either a quick a flip or restored car — just professionally photographed in a rustic setting, with some poor farm animal stapled to the car for effect.  Fortunately, no animals were harmed for this 1969 Hemi Road Runner listing, found here on eBay and located in Lewiston, Idaho, with a current bid of $15,650 and reserve met.   

One reason that bidding is so low for this “J” code Hemi beeper is that it has some serious cancer. The seller states that even the roof needs repair or replacement, as does the torsion bar cross member and likely the rear frame rails as well. Fortunately, the car comes with a fairly rust-free donor body, but prospective buyers should plan on some major surgery.  The donor car does not have a title, so this isn’t really a 2-for-1 deal.

The second reason the bids are not in Hemi territory is the namesake drivetrain is missing. Specifically, the engine, transmission, radiator, and driveshaft. What is remaining in this photo is the Air Grabber fresh air system and the super-rare (and expensive) Hemi-specific booster and master cylinder, although the latter is frozen. So without a miracle reunion, this isn’t going to come back as a numbers-matching restoration.

Inside is about what would be expected, although most of us have seen floors in much worse shape than this. No mention is made of the missing seats, but expect all soft parts will need to be acquired and/or restored.

Despite the significant work involved, at the end of the day, this is a 1-of-194 1969 Hemi 4-speed coupe. Road Runners were by design a budget muscle car, but this example was well-equipped: power discs, Air Grabber, bucket sweats, even an 8-track player. The Turbine Bronze color is also both attractive and uncommon.  The listing contains a detailed breakdown of the fender tag and build sheet. And as we have seen from a popular cable TV show dedicated to Mopar muscle, bringing cars “back from the grave” can be both possible and successful, given the proper application of sufficient time, skill and money.  The current bid is very reasonable, but of course, that is just the price of admission. Would you buy a ticket?

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  1. Suttree

    Formerly a Hemi Roadrunner.

  2. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    That was fast. Ended: Sep 16, 2018 , 8:31PM
    Winning bid:US $22,100.12
    [ 35 bids ]

    • Jett

      They paid over $22,000 for a VIN plate. The seller threw in the rusted shell of a car. Crazy…

      • Billy 007

        Not crazy, immoral and it should be illegal. Just another symptom of the rotten diseased state that our hobby is in. The crazy drive for greedy over the top profits has ruined our hobby. As with anything, too much is bad. A little profit…good for keeping things healthy. Too much profit..and the patient dies. We need honesty, of course, today that means less profit. This car is no longer what it once was, and no amount of cash is going to return it. I wish the numbers were such that a father and son could buy this for a few hundred bucks, look around at swap meets for parts, and pop in a 318 or something to make a nice driver. THAT would be honest and in the spirit of what our hobby once was.

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Sorry Billy 007, never see this hulk go for a few hundred bucks, many years ago, yes. I am sure in all of our fantasy world that price would be nice. Perhaps in 20, 30 years in the future maybe a reasonable price. Still, was a hemi car. I hate to say it but I have to agree to the spirit of the hobby. I can only speak for myself, but, for that kind of cabbage at my age I have better things to do with my money. I bought a 2000 BMW Z3 2 months ago with 60K on her for 7K. Top down and beating her within inches of our lives. I saved about 15K. Money for nothing and the chicks for free.

      • Billy 007

        @leiniiedude, Man, I am with you brother. Modern cars beat this in any way possible. Cheaper, more fun, more reliable. BTW, the early Z3s were by far the best looking of the series. Our godson bought an M version with a six in it for like 12K last year with low miles. That car is truly amazing. This X-Hemi is a fools errand. I would be all over it to relive my youth if it could be had for what they were worth 35 years ago (the basis for my numbers), but this has only become an investment and status symbol for the very wealthy. Since that group sure does not include me, let them have it and I will enjoy much better wheels and save my money for making my bride of 27 years happy.

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        All in with you Billy! I looked for almost 6 months to buy an M. Way to much or way to beat for me. Glad he got a nice one. Not many here. I do agree on the investment comment. I am 63 Billy and really do not like to do much putzing around any more on my rigs. My flathead Willys Wagon could use some valve adjustment, LOL. Still runs so I do not get to worried about it. Take care and give your wife of 27 years a big wet one for me! Take care, Mike.

      • Walter

        Agree, but who spends this much for such a rusty relic of the muscle car era? This is the type of thing that made Road Runner act out against the Coyote

  3. Timmy

    Buy one finished for same money as this will cost,drive today not 2020

    • Jett

      This will cost north of 70-100 grand to restore. I’m sure you could get a nice driver for under 50k.

      • LAB3

        A driver quality hemi Roadrunner for under $50k? Send me an address, I can be anywhere in the country with a hauler in less than 72 hours!

      • Billy 007

        @lab3, you could do that, but sooner or later you are going to run out of foolish people to pay a fools fortune for these, then you will be stuck with it at a nasty price. The bubble has got to burst pretty darn soon, and when it does, you will be like the poor kid at a cake walk who didn’t get his big butt on a chair soon enough.

      • Bill Nagribianko

        If you had to pay for the labour, this would be more like a 200-250K project. And not numbers anything.

      • LAB3

        @Billy 007:


        adjective treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant.

  4. Tim S. Member

    Wow. How many ready-to-drive classics could be had for that? Unless that was somebody’s grandfather’s car, I just don’t get it.

    • Billy 007

      Somebodies grandpa wouldn’t drive it unless they were a mafia don.

  5. Steve

    Hope it doesn’t get a lipstick restoration by a shady shop and show up at auction in January to help some fool part with his money.

  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    I am so sick of muscle cars being for sale without the engine/transmission. Unless what is left is totally immaculate, a classic muscle car without the factory muscle is worth $50.00/ton, or whatever the scrap iron rate is….

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      I have to disagree to a point George, muscle cars were built to be destroyed, and the motors were. Lucky any survived.

  7. Jimmy

    The muscle rust bubble has to burst eventually. Sooner would be better than later.

  8. Steven Visek

    The comments comparing vintage super cars to modern performance cars(and even today’s daily drivers) are certainly true. But the appeal of these cars isn’t about logic or reason(except maybe to those who trade in them to make money). It’s emotional. These are time machines back to our younger days.

    To me no car is inherently special. What makes them so are the memories and emotions that they create and recall. To me it’s about nostalgia, the emotional intersection of Passion Drive and Memory Lane.

    I have a ’66 Mustang hardtop that was bought new by my Grandmother and which I will never sell, and a ’92 Maxton Rollerskate roadster that I bought in 2007 because I’d pined for one since they were new. I have yet to buy a muscle car, but I will at some point. For me it will be a Pontiac, because my brother had a ’71 GTO while I was in my formative years. Sure, my Jeep family hauler is likely quicker, but the sound of that Pontiac V8 to me is pure magic. Maybe I’ll somehow stumble across my brothers old car(let me know if you know of a blue on blue automatic ’71) or maybe a base ’68 Tempest post coupe that for some reason really speaks to me.

    I know it doesn’t make sense, but love never does, does it?


    Does anyone here understand the meaning of the word “inflation”?

    If in doubt, run Google’s inflation gauge. For instance, ask yourself what would $17k be adjusted to in 1985 dollars? Or the cost of restoring this beast? And then after all is said and done, heavens forbid you want to expect a profit for your labor, let alone the stress trying to find non-existent parts other than cheap Chinese knockoffs? At least, in the 1980s you could still find NOS parts, no matter if they were as expensive as today’s poor quality knockoffs.

    Again, reminded by what Jay Leno often remarks; “If you’re afraid to pull the trigger, there is always gardening.”


      Richard, probably less an inflation issue than an opportunity cost or return on investment issue.

      Using your dates and the sale price of this car at $22,100.12, you’re talking about $9,430.94 in 1985 dollars. Obviously this car in this condition would not have sold for anything close to $9k back then.

      What would it have sold for as it sits? $500? $1,000?

      Looking at it from an investment perspective, to grow to $22,100.12, that $500 would have needed to return an annual 12.2%. $1,000 would have needed to grow at 9.8%. Over the past 33 years, the S&P 500 has had an annualized return of 11.1%(with dividends reinvested; 8.7% without).

      So basically this car, depending on what it would have cost to buy it in this condition in 1985, would have had a similar return on investment to the stock market. Personally, I don’t view my cars from an investment perspective, since I never plan to sell and they don’t produce an ongoing income stream. I put my personal money in rental properties(and my day job is managing stock portfolios).


    Same people who have the money today to buy this are the same people in the 70s who bought original Picassos.

    Yes, in the 70’s an original Picasso for $5K was equivalent of nearly $20K today when considering inflation, but…?

    Where in the world, today will anyone ever find an original Picasso for $20K?

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