Good Place To Start? 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

I’ve wanted a Road Runner since I was a kid. Back then probably it had more to do with the cartoon logo and horn than anything else, but today the idea of a barebones muscle car gets me excited. Nice ones can be expensive though, so maybe a project like this would be a good place to start? This one appears to be parked in a dirt floor barn in Dwight, Kansas. It’s listed here on eBay with bidding starting at $5,000.

Here you can barely make out that Road Runner logo. People born in the last 20 years have probably never even seen the antics of Wile E Coyote and Road Runner, but I remember them vividly. Plymouth wanted to project an image of speed and youthfulness so what better way to do it than with one of the fasted cartoon characters around?

When ordering a new Road Runner in ’69, you had the choice between three big blocks – 383, 440, or 426 Hemi. Obviously, we would all want the Hemi, but most of us couldn’t even handle the smallest engine. It put out 335 brake horsepower and 425 foot-pounds of torque! Unfortunately, the original 383 is missing and the 440 that’s sitting in its place is seized up.

Looks like the tin worm has been here. The sheet metal may be available, but unless you can do the bodywork and paint yourself, things could get expensive. The person who wrote up the ad for the seller seems to be honest in their assessment of the work needed, but as is often the case with rust, there’s probably more than meets the eye.

So, it needs a complete interior, rust repair, paint, engine… Basically, this car needs everything! Every Road Runner is special, so I hope this one gets restored, but I’m afraid that if you are thinking about buying a project like this to save money, you’re in for a big surprise. This is an undertaking for someone with money to burn and a desire to rescue an iconic muscle car.

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Comments

  1. Light Em Up

    Looks like the perfect candidate for a salvage Hellcat or Demon engine transplant . Leaving the car crusty and just fix the interior would be fun too with all the ponies under the hood.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/2015-CHALLENGER-DODGE-SRT-HELLCAT-6-2-LITER-SUPERCHAGE-ENGINE-MOTOR-8-CYL/183771970318

    10
    • Sandy Claws

      Or, how about a top notch spit polished restore and when ya pop the hood, the mighty slant six? That would be a great conversation starter at any event, plus it would be a better balanced and running car. I had a mid sized Dodge with a slant six, once of the best cars I ever owned, wish I still had it today. Many a Belvedere coupe came with them, and since this is not a numbers matching car, nor even a running engine now, how about it? If I hit the lotto, I am going to spend some money doing stuff like this. Going against the grain, but preserving history the way it really was for most Americans. Future generations will thank me.

      6
  2. Steve R

    I’d keep looking until a better example can be found.

    Steve R

    17
    • Del

      Too much work and money to save her. Not even much to part out.

      Crusher time

      7
  3. Fred W

    Those cartoon character cars are great- my favorite is the ultra rare AMC Rebel Speedy Gonzalez edition with the “Eeep Eeep” horn.

    3
    • Roy L

      I think I ended up with the Slowpoke Rodriguez edition.

      11
      • Lron

        $5000? Too much to start with. Half that maybe.

        2
  4. Sandy Claws

    My rose colored memories of cars like this are far better then the actual cars, even when they were new. 40+ years have past since I actually drove a car like this and I now can just remember the fun of them, not the many headaches. For the expense and hassle involved, I think I will keep my memories and ditch the idea of ever actually owning one again. What is in my head is free of cost and obligation. What I have figured out about most of these cars is that the car was less then what we wanted for ourselves, an image to present to others. Sort of like a 60 year old fool who has a far too loud motorcycle that runs rough and rarely even runs. We all understand that there are modern cycles that are smooth, quiet, handle well, and are reliable, but many old timers seem to thing they are in an outlaw cycle movie from the 60s.

    18
    • TimS Member

      Good point, you champion of the contemporary, you. Old stuff sucks. Head to Autotrader & leave the Barnfinders alone.

      26
      • Sidney

        We all have our opinions, he has his, and I mostly agree with it. Tim, have you ever actually driven an old muscle car? Great at a drag race, but not for much else, quite a handful. Not something you would drive on a long Sunday afternoon cruise through the mountains. I think what us old timers like most about these is that we all had them when we were young and that is what we miss (being young) , not the cars we just happened to be driving at the time. Will todays 20 year olds in years to come pine for 2010 Corollas?

        2
    • Dave

      Are you bragging or complaining about the 60+ year old fools? Sorry if you’re cursed with a throttle jockey neighbor.

      5
    • Jamie

      Haha…Billyjack (movie).

      1
    • Angrymike

      That’s why my next toy will be a Hellcat instead of spending $50,000 on a nice Road Runner or $30,000 for one in the same shape as my father’s when he sold it for $900 in 1980.

      4
  5. Troy s

    The 383 was standard, the hemi cost nearly a grand extra which was a lot back then, and not until later in the year did the 440 six barrel become available for practically half the cost of the big hemi. So really, for most folks, only one engine was available. It’s too bad the super commando 440 wasn’t at least offered but that’s ancient history.
    This worked over example here has the best street engine the Dodge/Plymouth boys ever came up with for their slightly larger cars, and I see no point in putting a correct 383 back in it,..for driving purposes.

    4
    • Chuck

      Troy, they did…. it was called a GTX.

      5
      • Troy s

        And your point is? Ha ha, GTX had the 440 as standard and had been available since ’67, not nearly the big seller the low budget Road Runner became despite the big difference in standard engines.. All I think is that the 440-4 should have been made available in the Road Runner as an option….in the meep meep horned Road Runner, which didn’t happen in ’68-’69.

        2
  6. Zack

    They make every part to fix this car from interior to sheet metal. Not very cheap but easy to get.

    5
    • Dave

      It’s never going to be a numbers matching trailer queen so why not think of it as a blank canvas?

      4
  7. Gaspumpchas

    yep sure is a crustacean. If it was a 4 speed it might be on the fence. You guys all make great points here; the best thing about barn finds!! Friend of mine had a 69 with a 383 4 speed- borrowed it once, and yep, like you said, bare bones muscle car and did that thing haul @ss. Just a blast to drive. Good luck to the new owner!!

    7
  8. Stevieg Member

    Hey Sandy Claws, you make some good points but your motorcycle reference might be a little off base.
    Those 60+ year old “grown ups” often have been doing what they are doing for decades. My Dad was one of those guys, rode his loud Harley until a week before he died 3.5 years ago. He was 67. But he never grew up. His “girlfriend” was a woman he met many years earlier that he took to California and “turned out”, if you know what I mean. Kinda gives an insight to his character, don’t it? He, back then, used to run some pharmaceutical products from Texas to Milwaukee & other family members used to “process & distribute” them. He had been doing these things since the 1960’s, and was kicked out of both Texas & Alabama, and threatened with immediate arrest if he were to ever return to either state. So these old guys that have loud pipes might be that way because that is who they are.
    I work @ a Harley dealership for my day job. I ride them too, although I have NEVER done a drug besides occaisionally a couple beers &/or shots & I make it a habit not to date hookers or turn out my girlfriend lol. But I will tell you loud pipes can save lives. Motorcycles are not as easily seen as a car is, especially by people in cars. There are blind spots. Plus people are distracted now while behind the wheel more than ever. Texting, doing make-up, shaving…what ever happened to actually driving?
    Last Tuesday I was heading to one of my night jobs from my day job. I took my older of my 2 bikes to work that day. As I was heading from job to job I had a “confrontation” with a young ditzy girl driving an SUV. She was texting while driving & didn’t see me on my motorcycle. She did a rolling stop & cut me off. I laid my bike down trying to avoid hitting her, but we were too close. I hit her SUV doing 40 mph (the posted speed limit). Maybe if she would have put down her phone and seen me, or if she would have turned down her stereo she would heard my loud pipes. I guess I need to make my pipes louder! I am not even close to being 60 years old.
    I do wish everyone a wonderful, peaceful Easter. I might sound bitter but I am not. I am grateful I am alive & I do thank my maker for watching out for me. I know the girl didn’t do it on purpose.

    11
    • Sandy Claws

      I would reply but apparently my comments are no longer welcome here, not sure exactly why though. If by some odd chance this goes through I will ask you this, where are rights of my grand children to not be awoken from a sound sleep? How about my needing a peaceful afternoon on my porch? Also, with all due respect for your late father, I think you made my point about attitudes of those who display themselves in that fashion. Some of us from his generation behaved much differently. Forgive me, but I feel being law abiding is best for all of us, laws are how we stay civilized and don’t end up at each others throats like savages. I also feel you have the right to ride a bike on the road, but you also have the right to ride a bicycle on one too, but often that is quite dangerous. Perhaps you need to rethink the need to ride on a busy road. Your right to be seen/heard is not any greater then my right for noise control. Besides, I see many riders who drive other brands of bikes besides Harleys that have legal noise control and they do not seem to be in any more accidents, actually far less. Perhaps Harley riders get into accidents more for other reasons, use your imagination here.

      4
      • Troy s

        Best sounding street bike I can think of is a Ducati, or maybe these all had aftermarket pipes?! Dang if I didn’t recognize that sound…
        Sounds of a highly tuned small block Chevy in probably a Corvette, maybe a Camaro, running through the gears at very high rpm then lifting off the throttle which brought an equally impressive growl. Almost sounded like a speedway car!
        Waiting to see how smart my prediction was I was completely shocked when a red motorcycle went by making all that sweet racket, rivaling any new Vette or ‘Stang, definitely better than the usual rice rocket banshee scream.

        1
      • JOHN

        For what it’s worth, “sport” bikes are statistically 4 times more likely to be in an accident than the larger bikes like Harley’s…

        3
    • mike Member

      distracted driving causes more accidents than intoxicated drivers. I have ridden bikes since the wild chopper 70’s. also had to lay it down and slide almost underneath a big car with an old guy driving, he simply did not see me while looking straight at me and pulled out right in front of me. Another guy decided to pull over to the side of the road and make a U-turn, without looking to see if anything was coming. I was. Ran my bike right into the side of his car, which now was the only thing keeping me upright. My own brother and many other bikers I knew are dead, mostly from people in cars. They either don’t see you, violate a traffic law, or are distracted. I used to run straight pipes (fishtail upsweeps), ok, it was loud. Straight pipes with ineffective “baffles” in them at least made it look like you were with the spirit of the noise and equipment laws, sort of. But now I think that you could have a 10,000 watt siren on your bike and these same people would still either not see you, commit safety traffic law violations or be distracted and you are going to either get hit or laid down regardless. driving, whether on a car or bike, used to be about driving… and only driving (in most cases). In the old days, such as in my friend’s 1970 Roadrunner (440 6-pack) there was only an am radio in the car, not some monster sound system which drowns out all other sounds and causes the driver to become deaf to anything outside of the car. If you ride a bike, you are taking a real chance and flirting with death by vehicles. guess that it is just the way it was and the way it always will be. people today just don’t know how to concentrate on driving only… no, its now all about loud car pipes, loud music, texting, eating, whacking the kids in the back seat, fighting in the car, concentrating on attractive joggers (ok I am guilty of that) instead of simply just driving your car, and other cars and especially bikes pay the price. I am not saying anything nobody here already knows. I have no point.

  9. Mars

    Wow that was quite a bit to read. I think i’ll wait for the movie to come out.

    7
  10. Stevieg Member

    Sandy Claws, I apologize for making you feel your comments aren’t wanted. I never wanted you to feel that way. My point was that often times the people that act that way are over grown children & due to lifestyle choices they will never change. I believe in loud pipes for a different reason. However I have a neighbor that lives across the alley from me that hates the sound of my old bike starting late @ night. So I push it down the alley. My Dad wouldn’t have. When I take of from a stop, I don’t go full throttle for the same reason. My Dad would. But the loud pipes serve a purpose, not always for being obnoxious (like my Dad).
    Please also keep in mind that I have road rash all over the place, a pulled muscle in my back & can barely walk, and it is 75 & sunny out. I wasn’t able to celebrate the holiday with my family & I can’t ride my remaining bike. I am crabby & I might have taken some of that out on you, not on purpose, but by not thinking about words I choose. I apologize to you sir.

    4
    • Sandy Claws

      Thank you for the kind replay. Sounds like you are one of the good Harley riders, and I thank you for your good example. Hope you feel better soon, take care my friend.

      4
  11. Stevieg Member

    Sandy Claws, I apologize for making you feel your comments aren’t wanted. I never wanted you to feel that way. My point was that often times the people that act that way are over grown children & due to lifestyle choices they will never change. I believe in loud pipes for a different reason. However I have a neighbor that lives across the alley from me that hates the sound of my old bike starting late @ night. So I push it down the alley. My Dad wouldn’t have. When I take of from a stop, I don’t go full throttle for the same reason. My Dad would. But the loud pipes serve a purpose, not always for being obnoxious (like my Dad).
    Please also keep in mind that I have road rash all over the place, a pulled muscle in my back & can barely walk, and it is 75 & sunny out. I wasn’t able to celebrate the holiday with my family & I can’t ride my remaining bike. I am crabby & I might have taken some of that out on you, not on purpose, but by not thinking about words I choose. I apologize to you sir.
    By the way, here in Milwaukee you don’t see to many metric bikes, but the ones you do see have the loud aftermarket exhausts too. Bike riders are loud. We want to be seen & not smoothed.

  12. Stevieg Member

    There are a lot of good riders out there. The bad ones are just so obnoxious that they stand out.
    Having read many of your posts , I know that in many ways you & I think alike. I consider you an “online friend”. Lets not make this one disagreement ruin that buddy!
    Again, happy Easter to EVERYONE, including you Sandy Claws!

    1
    • neutral

      Those were worthy and respectful replies and explainations from both of you. That’s also why I’ve more or less quit posting at youtube, as I find Barnfinders have a lot nicer tone and I see BF as a friendly site for us gearheads. Not the hate and name-calling we see at youtube. Let’s all contribute to keep BF like that!

      I enjoy both Stevieg and Sandy Claws’ responses on BF and it’d be sad if anyone would feel their opinions weren’t welcome. Looking forward to many friendly discussions in the future

  13. Stevieg Member

    Someone reading this thread asked me what was wrong with my original post. Truth is I meant what I said but the tone wasn’t a friendly tone. It wasn’t meant that way. I like Sandy Claws’ posts & I am here to both learn & teach what I know. I am also here to make friends and not enemies. Due to the pain I am in, I didn’t say what I wanted to say in the tone I wanted to say it in. I call it diarrhea of the mouth (finger in this context lol).
    Growing up with my Dad being who he was, I saw a lot of “interesting” things. I chose to not be like him. But in some ways I am. I ride loud bikes. He rode loud bikes to portray the biker image. And he looked the part. He WAS the part. I ride a loud bike because I like how it sounds. But I do my best to be respectful of others as I do so. Sandy Claws & his grandkids do have the right to peace. If he were my neighbor, I would do my best to oblige. But I also need to be heard while I ride, the other reason I like loud pipes.
    This girl that killed my old bike and almost killed me a few days ago was texting while driving. She had her tunes blasting loud (it was a good song). She had no clue I was there even though it was daylight & I am a 6 foot tall 330 pound man riding a red Harley with loud pipes. Shaved head, goatee, I do stand out. I look the part, although I am a motorcyclist & not a biker. I wear no leather (a downfall a couple days ago lol), and I am all about the fun & not the image or attitude. My Dad was not a nice guy. I prefer to sleep well @ night & make friends.
    As for metric bike owners not having the problems Harley owners have, well they do. Here in Milwaukee they even put loud pipes on just like Harley owners do. I noticed it in Phoenix (my other home) too. I meant no offense to Sandy Claws. He is a cool ol’ guy & a lover of the slant 6, as I am. I got his back!

  14. John Oliveri

    Back to the car, if u own a shop and have a donor Satellite, it’s a good car, still has no fender tag, so u might have 2 Satellites

    2
  15. Karl

    When I was a LOT younger my Dad had a 69 Roadrunner with a 383 and a 4 speed, it had a Holly Carb and an aftermarket intake and headers the car was gold with plain steel wheels and little hubcaps. It was very loud and fast and my mom hated it to the point where I came home from school one day and headed out to the barn to do chores and the car was gone, when dad got home I asked him where it was, and dad didnt answer turns out my mom made him sell it for some totally stupid reason I am sure!
    As far as loud pipes I live in the country with 3 neighbors within a quarter mile nobody ever says a word when I start my boat with open headers and a supercharged BBC, I like it that way, NO debates

  16. Paul Joseph, Luiso

    I must have lived a sheltered life, but what does “turn out my girlfriend” mean? As for the car, that’s gonna be a ground-up restoration. If you’ve got the time, the money and the inclination, good onya. I’d hate to see that thing in the crusher.

    • treg forsyth

      Rent her out.

  17. 82ndVet

    To each his own, let’s just be respectful of one another.
    I’d buy this car and return it to its former glory if I wasn’t in the midst of restoring a ‘Cuda.

  18. garry connors

    love the find but your paying for potential not whats there or not there i have learned this lesson replace most of the sheet metal chrome drive train interior ect …………..

  19. Patrick Farmer

    My father was a base engineer at Ellington AFB from 1960 to 1986. He personally new 5 of the 12 men that walked on the Moon. I loved going to work with him in the summer. I could ride a bike all over the place except for the warm up apron, flight line and runways. Lots of cool stuff for boy to look at. I have been to over 43 different air shows, seen all kinds hardware. Just steeped in NASA and the USAF. Heady stuff for 9 year old in 1969-1970. The one thing that takes me back to that time instantly is seeing a 1969-70 Road Runner. The trips we made to the Chrysler Plymouth dealer on the Gulf Freeway while my dad shopped for a new car. The wing cars were in full bloom. Lemon Twist, Statutory Grape/Plum Crazy, Vitamin-C, Lime Light and the red, the name escapes me. Statutory Grape was the Chrysler internal working name for the color, so I have been told. Superbirds! If I ever strike it rich I would get one Superbird for every color they came in. I can still see the wings all lined up in a row on the lot. Each one a different color and each with a circular Road Runner decal. To hell with the astronauts and their new Corvettes. A big colorful and powerful car with a Meep! Meep! horn. It’s too bad that the horn didn’t the “Bulublebleble” at the end like the cartoon did and the real bird has. The real bird makes that noise when they are ticked off at you being there. As if to say “I am catching bugs here. Do you mind.”

    1
  20. Nusnak Schpulkus

    I don’t know, but I think $5000 is too much for this. There’s $30,000-$40,000 to spend on this car, with rust, paint, interior, engine work to be done to get it to some decent condition. You’d be better to find a better one. They are around. Or spend $2000 on this one as a parts car maybe.

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