1968 Plymouth Road Runner 383 4-Speed Project

Plymouth got into the low-buck muscle car market in 1968 with the Road Runner. It essentially was a stripped-down Belvedere with a spartan interior and macho power under the hood. For a mid-size, the cars were light and could muster up a ton of speed. From the Road Runner’s first model year is this 2-door hardtop with a factory 383 V-8 and 4-speed. It appears to be offered by a dealer on consignment in Macon, Georgia and here on Facebook Marketplace for $22,000.

Chrysler spent a small fortune on licensing the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote imagery from Warner Bros. to promote the car. This also enabled Plymouth to develop a special horn for the car that went “beep-beep” when you used it. The first generation of the performance machine would run from 1968-70 and past that into 1980, but it would be a watered down compact Volare by then. The car was a hit in its first year, outselling expectations and placed third in sales behind the Pontiac GTO and Chevelle SS396. It sold well enough for Dodge to want their own version and the Super Bee was born. Plymouth built 88,616 Road Runners for 1968, with 30,660 of them being hardtops and 6,686 of those using a 383 w/4-speed. Thanks to Beep2Beep and Hot Cars for information on the Road Runner.

This leads us to the seller’s car. We’re provided with a snapshot of the car’s build plate and told that the engine and transmission combination are original. The car has rust in the lower quarter panels, rockers and lower fenders, but the floors are said to be rust-free (which we assume includes the trunk). This Road Runner left the factory painted in burgundy, but it has gained a coat of black paint in its place over the years. The rear bumper will need to be replaced as it has a nice bend in it.

There is no mention of the mileage on this car (“1,000,000 miles” is likely not true). And there are no photos of the interior. Given that the car is parked over a lift, the dealer has done his client a disservice by not taking photos inside and underneath. Hagerty thinks a sharp Road Runner can be worth upwards of $60,000 and under $20,000 if in fair condition. So, there is some optimism about the value of this car, and it might be worth the asking price if we knew more about what must be done to restore this muscle car to its former glory.

 

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Comments

  1. Paolo

    The Facebook marketplace are the worst ads of all. They are an order of magnitude worse than the usual bad Craigslist ad that we are used to. Bad craigslist ads may lack photos or adequate description but the Facebook ads are just inept and incoherent. You wonder if they aren’t the Hi-Tech version of 100 monkey locked in a room with 100 typewriters. I would say yes.

    Like 13
    • Skorzeny

      Nobody should be using Facebook anymore.

      Like 25
    • terry brundage

      that’s cause the guys old lady is doing them!

  2. Troy s

    There’s been no shortage of Road Runners on this site lately. The green six pack car the other day was like the icing on the cake for me.
    Black is a good shade for these,, but burgundy with Torque thrust wheels would make for a sweet looking machine. The engine looks so nice here all decked out in pantina.

    Like 5
    • Paolo

      It’s pretty clear that the moderators of this site see what cars get the most attention from the readers and tailor their selections accordingly. You didn’t think it was just random selection did you?

      Like 7
      • CCFisher

        Yep! It’s all about clicks and comments. I suspect that some of the writers deliberately get some of the facts wrong to get more comments.

        Like 6
      • Troy s

        All I can say is….keep ’em coming!

        Like 11
  3. CCFisher

    The story I’ve heard many times is that Chrysler paid Warner Brothers $50,000 for the use of the Road Runner name and cartoon image, a pittance as far as licensing agreements go. When they contacted Warner Brothers again regarding the use of the Tasmanian Devil character for the upcoming Duster, the price was much higher, resulting in Plymouth using a “twister” character, which is supposed to be Taz in motion.

    Like 7
  4. KEVIN

    $50,000 is a small fortune? (referring to the licensing cost)

    Like 5
  5. Joe Machado

    Plymouth had a muscle car in 67. The GTX. In 1966, before the GTX release, Richard Petty Plymouths had GTX on the Stock Car.
    Getting it out before the car actually hit the streets.
    Now, real muscle cars were Max Wedge cars in 62 on. Still, go back to the mid 50’s, again, muscle cars, 56 Dodge D500 and on. Chrysler 300’s on.
    GM’s policy was no smaller cars over 400 ci.
    Just goes on and on

    Like 9
  6. arkie Member

    There’s enough of this one left to capture my interest. I’m thinking about sliding over to Macon for a closer look

    Like 4
    • gaspumpchas

      Good luck Arkie. I too am confused why the car would be sitting over a lift and have no pics of the underbelly. Unless its bad underneath. Stay safe and enjoy the experience. The fun is in the hunt!
      Cheers
      GPC

      Like 4
      • arkie Member

        Thanks, Gasman. I don’t do FB so I’m not seeing all the pics but I have my doubts that the lift is operable. You’re absolutely right! Nothing like beating the bushes.

        Like 3
  7. Jim

    This car appears to have a GTX trim panel applied to the trunk. I believe Road Runner trunks were all painted.

    Like 1
  8. David Bailey

    Hmmmnnn?..Didn’t just the GTX have the brushed aluminum all across tail panel?..I thought Road Runners only had the ‘C’ taillights w/O the reflective brushed aluminum?..Maybe HEMI’s had the extra trim/..Just wondering…

    Like 2
    • DON

      No, some Satellites and Road Runners came with them , the only difference was the Road Runners had the cartoon bird on the right side of the panel. I had a yellow 68 that had it

      Like 2
    • Phil D

      The deck lid applique on this car was standard on the GTX and Sport Satellite, but was available as an extra cost, dress-up option on Road Runner hardtops and convertibles. The red trim on it was painted and non-reflective. A similar applique with argent (textured grey) where this is red was standard on the mid-level Satellite models.

      Like 1
      • David Bailey

        Phil D..THNX!..My second car was a blue , 1969 Road Runner, 383, Auto. Black bench seat. My brother later bought another blue(B-5 Blue?) 1968- 4spd. 383 RoadRunner. Until then, I hadn’t realized the cartoon RRunner was black and white in 1968, but in color for 1969. I’ve been going to car shows since mid-1970’s when muscle cars were mostly thought of as just used cars, except, SHELBYs, HEMIs, 427s-Ford or Chevy. This is first time I’ve ever been told the correct rear trim on ’68s. Was the thicker argent band on the 1969, only for GTXs as well?.THNX!….

  9. karl

    The Road Runner wasn’t a stripped down Belvedere ; It really was a Belvedere with heavy duty police car parts . Belvederes were the bottom level of the B body line up , with pop out rear quarter glass , rubber mats ,little or no trim , and usually a slant 6 under the hood.
    It seems crazy now, but in the late 70s I had a 318 powered 4 door Belvedere which I bought it for 5 dollars . To replace the banged up front 3/4 nose and trunk I went to one of the old time junkyards in our area and he sold me the parts off two Road Runners ! This could be the only time in history when Road Runners gave up their parts for a Belvedere !

    Like 4
  10. Phil D

    David Bailey, this is the correct OPTIONAL deck lid trim on a ’68 Road Runner hardtop. The standard trim, on the hardtop or pillared coupe was, of course, no trim at all but a small rectangular Road Runner nameplate and the same black and white bird as on the door, placed on the right side of the deck lid.

    The deck lid trim with the argent bands between the taillights was for the Satellite only. The red bands between the taillights, which gave the appearance of full width taillights, even though that didn’t actually exist, were standard on the GTX and Sport Satellite, and as with this car, optional on the Road Runner hardtop.

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