440/4-Speed: 1972 Plymouth Road Runner Project

Beep Beep! The Plymouth performance beat was till going on in 1972 but it was, just like with other manufacturers, winding down. The Road Runner was entering its second year in fuselage duds, the Hemi was history, someone snagged two from the six-pack leaving the 440 as a four-pack only, the venerable 383 was consigned to the record books, the small-block 340 “LA” motor made its debut in the “B” body and the Road Runner no longer had to share the stage with the GTX, in fact, it now got to wear a GTX badge for certain occasions. The times, they were a-changin’. In spite of so many mechanical changes, the Road Runner itself was little changed from its 1971 predecessor. All of this being the case, let’s take a look at this 1972 Road Runner, located in Granby, Colorado and available here on craigslist for $7,999. Thanks to Snotty for this tip!

This Road Runner looks like it had a pretty exciting time in its past. It is wearing a very worn Evening Blue or True Blue finish with the owner’s affinity for all things Plymouth proudly proclaimed on either front fender. It has some dents, scrapes, and surface rust but nothing obvious that is consuming the body. The glass is all present and intact though the grille work, headlight surrounds, and filler panel are showing some discontent. This Bird appears to be sitting in enclosed storage over a damp dirt floor which is probably doing nothing of value for the underside, so there’s something to check further.

The interior is interesting from a complexion perspective, it is styling a gold bench seat that looks like it came out of a Satellite. The back seat is blue, as are the door cards, so this stained and torn front seat pew must be a replacement. The rest of the interior is rough, no idea what’s covering the back seat (and I don’t want to know) but “detritus is us” appears to be the theme. The instrument panel, however, is a salvation candidate, it’s dusty and dirty but all there, with full instrumentation, and probably useable. It even appears that the original radio is still in place. What’s left of the carpet is curious, whoever sold the owner the gold bench seat must have thrown in the carpet too as it is either gold or incredibly faded from what should have been a matching blue hue. The highlight is the shiny pistol gripe gear shifter that is not in place, probably because there is nothing underneath to attach it to.

And now, the piece de resistance, under the hood, we have another “Youstabee”! This Road Runner used to have a 400 CI V8 engine that was backed up with a four-speed manual transmission. That was all traded for the sounds of silence sometime back. But all is not lost! This Plymouth comes with a new 440 CI V8 crate motor! Well things are looking up a bit but the engine appears to be in long-block form so it’s unknown if the buyer will have to assemble it themselves as well as scrounge for whatever might be missing. There is an included image of an intake manifold and a reference to a Holley carburetor so maybe all of the necessary parts are available. Determining this should be Job #1; unfortunately, this listing is another exercise in minimalism.

Oh and that previously referenced, shiny four-speed shifter won’t be lonely for long as the original four-speed transmission is included too!

Logic tells me this Road Runner would sell faster and for better value, if the engine was completed and installed. As to why it’s not, I’ll ask all of you to ponder that consideration. Many first and second-generation Road Runners found today are in deplorable condition but this one is not. Granted, it is a bit rough around the edges and it will take effort inside, outside as well as under the hood, to make it presentable and roadworthy. The 440 RB crate engine, with the accompanying manual transmission, is a great benefit too; it would be even better if installed and running, of course. This Plymouth serves as a pretty good project foundation but there are, as always, unknowns. What do you think, worth taking a chance?

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Comments

  1. Superdessucke

    The underside needs to be checked out. These are unibody cars so rust underneath is a nightmare.

    Like 2
  2. George Mattar

    Ugly car. I will take what appears to be a 69 Coronet next to it.

    Like 1
    • Beau

      why take the car next to it when the car that he is selling is perfectly okay it just needs some work so why not take that one and have something fun to do when you have nothing to do

  3. jerry z

    If this is a life long Colorado car, most likely the body is in decent shape. I almost had a ’71 GTX (same car) back in 1983 for $800 but he wouldn’t let it go. Paint it Petty blue and STP dayglo orange with some deep steelies. One can only dream.

    Like 2
  4. Joe Machado

    Never liked the 71 and newer. The Charger had to grow on me.
    Lower compression, govt regulations, and govt is wasteful.
    Last great year anything, 1969.
    70 was that dumb plastic everything sound in the interior.
    Example, door panel being all plastic on E-bodies for 1970 on. Charger, Coronet.
    Sounded like an old pickup when closing doors.
    As for engines not installed, I would remove it, take it apart, inspect, measure, and do what I found wrong, then assemble with proper lubes. Repaint engine bay.
    Always assume you have to do everything.
    No surprises or disappointments this way.
    Lot less made. Figures available.
    If your preferrence, buy it, and why are you sittin here? Go get started.

    Like 2
    • Paolo

      FYI, Chrysler did not lower compression ratios for 1971. GM did.

  5. Gaspumpchas

    Super is right, sitting in a dirt floor garage is never good. Might be a great project for someone . Good luck if you want to take it on. Stay safe. 440 4 speed whats not to like!
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 3
  6. Paolo

    Worth a closeup, in person inspection. It has potential to be nice car.

  7. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Nice project, but not 8K nice. Maybe if the engine was assembled and a known runner.

    Like 1
  8. Kuzspike

    Just sitting here thinking how nice it would be to have a folder of before, during and after pictures of this mess at the next show & shine. All it would take is a fat wallet.

    Like 1
  9. Woody

    This needs mechanical assembly,new front seats with shoulder harness,then I would haul it to the local quarter-mile and run the guts out of it while enjoying slamming through pistol-grip gears with that Mopar big block! Yeah paint this Petty blue and enjoy it til finished! Just sayin’.

    Like 2
  10. Stevieg Member

    It needs one of everything as it is, already a big block (non matching numbers engine) and a 4 speed. I say if solid,buy it & make it your own!
    I would keep the bench, because I like having an armrest lol. Do the interior in white, plum crazy for the body, steelies painted to match, make sure mechanicals are up to snuff & enjoy it. Could be a fun car in the end, isn’t that what this is all about?

    Like 3
  11. TimM

    Seems like a hoopdy!!! Just not a car I would dump 8K on without looking closer!!!

  12. Ulises Neyra

    I am interested, I want to import it to Peru

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