Garage Find: 1968 Plymouth Road Runner 383 4-Speed

Two cars are considered pioneers in the muscle car field. One is the Pontiac GTO and the other is the Plymouth Road Runner. The latter was positioned as a muscle car that was big on performance and low on frills. If you wanted amenities with your speed, the Plymouth GTX was what you bought. This 1968 Road Runner is from the car’s first model year where Plymouth sold more than 88,000 copies. The car looks to have been squirreled away by its long-time owner in Lake Heath, Illinois and it’s available here on Facebook Marketplace for $27,500.

As the muscle market evolved, many of the makes starting adding more and more goodies to attract more and more buyers – and ran the sticker prices up in the process. Based on Chrysler’s B-platform (shared with the Belvedere and Satellite), the Road Runner was a back-to-basics, mid-size performance car. Rumor has it that Chrysler paid big bucks for the rights to the Road Runner/Coyote likenesses and some more bucks to develop the “Beep-Beep” horn. The Road Runner would be a part of the Plymouth portfolio through 1980, but for the last five years it was a trim package on the compact Volare. The muscle was no longer there, as many of them were sold with 318 V-8s. Our thanks to Beep2Beep for Road Runner production stats.

For its debut year, the Road Runner was available in coupe and hardtop body styles. Coupe sales accounted for 65% of production, and the 383 4-barrel engine with 4-speed transmission (like the seller’s car) was 24% of that number, or about 13-14,000 copies. The seller doesn’t give us much information about this car otherwise that his brother is the owner and has had it since he was a kid, but we have no idea how many years that might be. The car is said to have 50,000 miles on it and doesn’t look to be running, but we don’t know that either.

From the few photos the seller posts, the body, chrome and glass look to be in good condition. The paint is chipped and flaking in a few places, but no visuals of dents or rust are shown. The one photo of the interior shows no problems other than maybe the headliner. And under the hood, there’s a rag covering the carb and no sight of the air cleaner. So, this car is more a mystery than an open book.

If this car were in seriously nice condition, it could be worth $40-60,000 (according to Hagerty). Fair to good is $18-30,000. This seller has priced his likely non-runner at the high end of the second scale, which is pretty stout given what little has been told. However, it’s not the rusting hulk we see here time after time that people are asking the kitchen sink for.

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    If you are going to ask that much you should at least try and earn it. Push it outside, clean it up, take better pictures including rust prone areas and write a real description.

    I’d also make sure the person I’m dealing with is the titles owner.

    Steve R

    Like 16
  2. PaulG

    Priced where someone will come along and make a deal, this is a decent start to a driver, or full on restoration.
    Chrysler Corporation paid Warner Brothers 50K (possibly annually depending on the source…) for the use of the Roadrunner name, and the “Meep-meep” horn was actually designed for a military application…

    Like 5
  3. Troy s

    The kind of Road Runner the vast majority of customers bought, unlike that killer Hemi Road Runner earlier today that’s catching a lot of flack.

    Like 7
    • Troy s

      I always thought the 440 was Dodge/Plymouths best street mill in a car this size, the six barrel RR of ’69 being a real terror in both action and appearance there’s no identity problems. The Hemi was the king of all Mopars in race prepped tuning, and was hard to keep that way. Maybe hard is the wrong word but my point being it was a mechanic’s special not just some mildly tuned passenger car engine like many of these muscle cars. Like this one here.
      I know in order to get the 440/375 it was available in the pricey GTX, at least for a few years not the Road Runner. So it was the 383 or the highly expensive Hemi. There really was no choice for the budget minded, either the 383 or the 383,,, and I heard it a hundred times at least, “added headers, played with the timing, removed this or that, yada yada” and it was Almost as quick as the 440 cars. Almost. Few guys ever mentioned the rare Hemi.
      Different planet I guess. Thanks for the feedback.

      Like 1
    • triumph1954

      Ray L. Really, only pro racers and rich kids bought Hemi’s.

  4. DON

    The mentioned headliner issue is just the shoulder belt drooping from the roof hook. For what muscle cars are going for these days in terrible condition, this one seems like a decent deal.

    Like 1
  5. jokacz

    A couple years back I saw a perfectly restored Hemi Roadrunner at my local drag strip. After a couple nothing special passes, it threw a rod through the block and oiled up the track real good. During the extended clean up delay, a couple old timers were heard to say that Hemi’s were doing the same thing today they were doing in the 60’s…blowing up. Chrysler always made junk cars.

    Like 1
    • Chris M.

      Wow, with a story cemented in facts like yours who would question it’s accuracy. Boy were we wrong.

      Like 7
  6. Rick K.

    I always hear about the GTO as starting the muscle car era, my ‘64 Plymouth Sport Fury 426 never saw any GTO tail lights, tri powers, 400s Judges, none of them. RK

    Like 6
    • Stoney End

      A “street wedge” (rather than the strip version) like 360 HP? Stick or Torqueflite? Yep, they were good runners, especially TF with low gears light to light. :-)

  7. Joseph

    What we have here is the base RM21 post car. Although still desirable, many of these were made and the asking price is way too much for what you are getting. Restoration work is expensive and time consuming. Last year I bought a barn find 1969 Road Runner and I am having it restored now so I know first hand that it is always a larger amount of work than is obvious at the start. But at least when done I will have a somewhat rare manual trans Road Runner convertible.

    Like 1
  8. Desert Rat

    Being an old Chevy guy I would like to add my two cents to jokacz’s comment. I always though Chrysler cars and trucks were put together with poor quality control compared to GM cars and trucks but having said that I never question their excellent built and designed motors. As for Hemis blowing up, never heard that, heard it happen quite often with Fords’ Hemi, the SOHC 427, in drag racing when pushed to hard trying to keep pace with the Chrysler Hemi. But street Hemis blowing up, naw.

    Like 5
  9. William c Harris

    The Hemi was a 1,000 dollar extra with no warranty is why they were scarce

    Like 3
    • Rich forrest

      That’s true I bought a new one in 69 and I really wanted the 440 but it wasn’t available.l was young and had no money so I really wanted that 50,000 mile warranty.if they would have guaranteed the Hemi I probably would have bought it. Kept it for about 6 years and it was a good car. Due to the freeway driving and the low rear end gears the motor was a little tired,but a mild rebuild would have done the job.

      Like 1
  10. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Looks like it’s not the only one he has……….

  11. Dave

    “The Road Runner would be a part of the Plymouth portfolio through 1980, but for the last five years it was a trim package on the compact Volare. ”

    wrong…in ’75 the road runner was based on the Fury body. THEN it went to the Volare. So the last four years no big blocks.

    • Steve W

      1976 to 1980 is 5 years count it on your fingers. The author is right.

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