Rare 426 Hemi Equipped 1971 Plymouth Road Runner!

1971 marked the dawn of the second generation of the Plymouth Road Runner. The muscle car heyday of the late 1960s was already starting to wear thin, as sales of the Road Runner dropped 65 percent in spite of the new styling (or perhaps because of it). But you could still get a Hemi in these cars, although only 55 were built for the year. The seller’s ’71 Road Runner has a period-correct engine and transmission and is offered in West Salem Wisconsin and available here on eBay where the starting bid is $89,900. So far, there have been no takers.

All of Chrysler’s intermediates were redesigned for 1971 and now had a rounder, sleeker, fuselage-like styling. Unlike the previous practice, the B-Body 2-door models shared little sheet metal, glass or trim with their 4-door counterparts. Although the Road Runner started out in 1968 as something of a bare-bones muscle car, by 1971 you could get them well-appointed, with goodies like power leather seats and thick deep-pile carpeting. If you ordered a Hemi, you had to give up access to factory air conditioning and power steering. Plymouth experienced a significant decline in interest in the Road Runner for ’71, selling just 13,664 units, with half of the 55 Hemi cars ordered having a TorqueFlite like the seller’s example.

The seller presents his Road Runner as the real deal, but both the engine and tranny are factory replacements that are date coded but un-stamped. It also has a Super Track Pack 4:10 Dana rear end. The car is said to have 65,000 miles on it, but what mileage would apply to the drivetrain? We’re also told the car is “99% rust-free” and the photos provided show some bubbling on the driver’s side along with a few scratches and dingies.

For a premium car offered at a premium price, the photos are not that good. If you’re going to try to get $90,000 for a car, hire a photographer to take the pictures instead of using your cell phone. There is only one photo of the interior, which is blurry and doesn’t help substantiate the seller’s claim the interior is in great shape.

Only two mechanical adjustments are mentioned, i.e., the twin carburetors have been rebuilt and a new exhaust system has been installed. Because of the engine and low production, the Hemi Road Runner is a Holy Grail kind of car. You see very few ‘71s offered for sale online because there were very few of them to begin with. NADA pegs the resale value for one at $181,000, but the condition would be a factor. So, if you think $90,000 is a lot for a car like this, think again. The unknown is if the factory engine and tranny replacements will ding the resale value of this machine.

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Comments

  1. jimbunte jimbunte Member

    “Period correct.”

    Groan.

    Like 9
  2. Keith

    Hemi or not these Plymouths from the early seventies were total junk and ugly. I like the Hemi but not in this car. Starting bid at 90k is way too much but hey, I’ve seen Mopar freaks shell out more money for less! I guess its a Mopar thing, I wouldn’t understand……LOL!

    Like 16
    • Terry Yarish

      I guess it IS a Mopar thing. These cars were awesome and gorgeous… and good. I had a ’72 440. The torsion bar/leaf spring suspension was SO much better than Ford and GM… I didn’t need traction bars and it did GREAT burnouts. But everyone ha s their likes and dislikes. I like AMC’s too!

      Like 18
    • robert semrad

      Can you post a picture of your wife for us?

      Like 7
      • BigBlocksRock

        😂

    • gary rhodes

      Yeah, buy a GM and watch the Birds taillights disappear in front of your eyes moron

      Like 2
      • John Oliveri

        A mans got to choose his fights, I’m a GM guy, Hemi is gonna be a no win,

      • Desert Rat

        Ok I’ll buy a COPO 69 Camaro, 427, 4 speed , and you can watch my tail lights disappear, who’s the moron now?

  3. Keith

    Hemi or not these Plymouths from the early seventies were total junk and ugly. I like the Hemi but not in this car. Starting bid at 90k is way too much but hey, I’ve seen Mopar freaks shell out more money for less! I guess its a Mopar thing, I wouldn’t understand…..LoL!

    Like 2
  4. Jeff

    Its not far from me, maybe I can take it out for a severe beating.
    Oh that’s right I mean a test drive.

    Like 8
  5. Randy

    Can you imagine driving this home from the dealer in ’71. Parking it in your driveway, getting out and just looking at it. Very nice car.

    Like 11
    • Bill

      Look at it and say why in the hell did I buy such an ugly car. At least the wife wouldn’t have caught it unless her 69 Road Runner had a hemi lol

  6. Troy s

    “Bare bones” worked very well for Plymouth, across the board not just performance machines. The expensive GTX never came close to catching the GTO in sales, the cheapy Road Runner was a surprise attack on Pontiac’s golden boy. The 340 Duster being another one.
    Nice machine up there with the legendary 426 Hemi, and I wouldn’t expect the original engine to have survived if driven as intended. It’s a speed king not a family car.

    Like 6
  7. Stephen Miklos

    Looking at this Hemi Runner something don’t feel right with this bird. Picture 15 shows the rocket panel and door. It does not line up right. Wide gaps and no tight lines. Also the fender the plate with the codes was removed showing new screws. RM23R1 the R is a 426 motor. They show a speedometer with 65,000 MI that would be the rally package speedometer but the fuzzy picture of the dashboard and steering wheel shows a plain Jane steering wheel and looks like a regular satellite gauges on the dash and column shift automatic it still doesn’t feel right. I just hope somebody’s not trying to pull a fast one on innocent folks it will explain why nobody’s bidding on this I wouldn’t. 🤨

    Like 12
  8. Sig Malo

    I was under the impression 71 hemis had hydraulic lifters and could be had with ac. Did make a 72 hemi ?

  9. Nick

    Well the fender tag is legit anyway, you’d have to check the hidden VINs to see if it belongs to this car. Looks like a 50/50 bet at this point though the car looks OK overall. According to the tag it should have a bench seat though we see buckets here. The taxi cab steering wheel is par for the course on a standard (bench seat) interior also. And tons of big block and HEMI cars came with the standard column shifter unless you optioned (paid more) for a floor shifter. The car has a few stories. You’d think they could come up with more and better images but they could show more “stuff”.

    E74 426 Two-4 Barrel Hemi
    D32 H-D A-727 TorqueFlite Trans / Some Years A-998
    RM23
    R = Plymouth Road Runner
    M = Medium
    23 = 2 Door Hardtop
    R16
    R = 426 HEMI 425HP 2-4BBL 8 CYL
    1 = 1971
    6 = Newark, DE, USA
    169469 Sequence Number ‘169469’
    FE5 Paint Code: Bright Red / Rally Red
    M2X9 Trim Grade/Style/Color
    M = Medium
    2 = Vinyl Bench
    X9 = Black
    TX9 Upper Door Frame: Black / Black Velvet
    122 Date Built: 1 / 22 / 1971
    170687 Order Number: 170687
    FE5 Roof Type OR Color: Bright Red / Rally Red
    U Built to Specifications for USA Order
    A01 Light Package
    A64 Unknown At This Time
    A34 Light Trailer Tow Package
    B41 Front Disc Brakes Some Yrs. Power
    B51 Power Assisted Brakes
    D58 4.10:1 Dana 60 69-71
    G33 Left Hand Outside Mirror – Manual / Chrome
    J25 3 Speed Variable Wipers
    J52 Inside Hood Release
    L31 Hood / Fender Mount Turn Signal
    M21 Roof Drip Rail Moldings
    N41 Duel Exhaust w/o Tips
    N42 Chrome Duel Exhaust Tips
    N85 Tachometer
    W93 Unknown At This Time
    R11 Music Master Radio AM
    26 26 in. Radiator
    EN0 Unknown At This Time

    Like 9
    • Phil D

      That wouldn’t be a “6” in the seventh position of the VIN. Chrysler went with alphabetical assembly plant indicators starting in either ’68 or ’69, and Newark, DE built full size (C-body) Dodges and Plymouths in 1971.

      That would instead be a “G” in that position, indicating that this car was built at St. Louis, MO, which was a B-body plant in ’71.

      Like 1
      • Nick

        No VIN shown, it’s from the fender tag though yes I read it as a 6 though it’s a G. It might not matter as the tag may or may not be native to the body.

        R = 426 HEMI 425HP 2-4BBL 8 CYL
        1 = 1971
        G = St. Louis, MO, USA

    • Stephen Miklos

      Nick.. thanks for your commitment and the information you gave us. But without the dash identifier the matchup to the fender tag we don’t know if it’s a match. I seen this a long time ago done and then when I looked at the dashboard and fended tag it did not jive the guy was trying to pull a fast one. I’m not saying it’s happening with this hemi but you must play it safe it’s a lot of money. 🇺🇲

      Like 1
      • FRANK COLE

        This car is pretty well known in the Hemi community. It’s legit and is 1 of 55 Hemi Roadrunners produced in 1971. Maybe 25 or so left in existence.

        Like 1
  10. Charles Sawka

    A sheep in wolfs clothing perhaps ? Looks like some left side body issues to me.

    Like 3
  11. EPO3

    Its a hemi road runner love it. HATE that all the pictures are in focus except the one of the interior missing the four speed and the console. On purpose or not.Kinda shady

  12. Greg Williams

    I’m not sure what’s up with all the negativity. I had one of these back in the 70”s and they were meant to be driven at High speeds. Over 100mph they went straight as an arrow. Mine wasn’t a Hemi but I did own a 71 Hemi Cuda and a 6 Pk Superbird and Honastly these 71”s were about as stable at high speeds as that Superbird. I realize this has a replacement block but for $90K I think it’s actually a bargain. There still making $ but there not still making 71 Hemi”s and never will be again so “set your own price” is what I say.

    Like 7
    • Steve R

      Unfortunately, it’s the way this site works.

      Steve R

      Like 3
  13. JCA

    Nice hemi but never warmed up to the looks of these. Someone really dropped the ball on this redesign.

    Like 2
  14. Mark

    The post 1970 Roadrunners are growing on me but not for $90k.

  15. Kevin

    I actually like the looks,but still prefer original better, just too much money, wouldn’t pay if,even if wealthy!

  16. John Oliveri

    I like this body, I like the 70 also, because they got more luxurious, the interior got better, more options were available, the Tuff wheel was a lot nicer than that big old stock steering wheel, I like rug, not rubber, I’ve never liked bare bones, I’m 60 yrs old and never owned a car without power windows, or a pass side mirror, but 90 grand is a lot of money for a 71

    Like 1
  17. Desert Rat

    I think these are great looking cars, but sales were not great. It would have be interesting if Plymouth had let the 70 body style (my favorite) run for two year, would it have out sold the fuselage-like styling, I’m thinking it would have.

    Like 1
    • Jack Dieter

      had a 70 roadrunner loved it but the one gentlemen who said that year was the best year i agree with him i am sorry i sold mine but i bought my corvette which i still have

      Like 1
  18. Super Glide

    I agree with Desert Rat, these were great looking cars. Let’s face it, there is a
    HEMI lurking in this and when these were new they experienced hard service.
    Mind you the hard service wasn’t against GM or Ford cars, they were easy.
    The hard service was having to take on all of them. Even Atlas Shrugged.

    Like 2
    • JCA

      Lol. Cool story bro but not really accurate. For example, the ’71 Mustang Boss 351, with a lot less cubic inches to work with, was neck and neck with this Hemi in the quarter mile. And probably better around the track since it was apparently lighter. Hemi is just all sales hype and mystique which is now a billion dollar sales campaign. The same car in a 440/6 would be just as fast as this hemi. This particular model was a sales flop. The started redesigning it with months has reworked the front end for the next year. By 73, they had a major facelift and sales increased 40% that year because of it.

      Like 2
      • gary rhodes

        The Hemi is a detuned race engine and a real marvel of engineering much like a Ford SOHC and the Boss 429. Look what engine design rules Top Fuel and Funny car, not a GM that’s for sure. I’ve never seen one that ran badly, simple tuning. The 440/6 was fast but a tuned Hemi will walk all over it and most anything else. People that talk crap about Hemi’s never owned or drove one and most likely got stomped on by one

        Like 3
      • JCA

        If a true hemi head is such a marvel of engineering, why don’t all engines have them today? Even the new HEMI of today is not a real hemi head. HEMI is however a trademarked word of FCA and a mystique franchise. Yes, the true hemi head engine makes a great drag car motor. But it is wide and heavy and not the best for achieving a good handling car. Bottom line, HEMI is highly valuable for a reason because it gets people to overpay for things like this ugly roadrunner this is way overpriced

        Like 1
  19. Steve Bush Member

    Seems like a nice car but agree with the others that some things don’t necessarily add up and that $90k seems somewhat high to start the auction. Still think my 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix with the 428-370 is a somewhat better overall car than these Mopars and very close performancewise, even in a drag race.

  20. John Oliveri

    Totally agree with you, 428 is the Holy Grail to me, but is Pontiac guys don’t get the credit

    Like 1
  21. martinsane

    When did these become Sebrings?

  22. Greg Williams

    It’s true the 6 pack was only 1 tenth of a second slower in the 1/4 mile but after that the Hemi would just walk away. My 426 was Hard starting and difficult to go straight as you never knew what direction it would go when you stomped on the pedal. These card were incredibly fast but unfortunately the door handle would fall off as you closed the door ?🤒

    • robert semrad

      I had a 71 RR and never had any trouble with the door handle….or any of it…it was a great car.

      Like 1
  23. Mike Walsh

    I’d buy it today for $90k and sell it next week for $110k Haha just kidding, this is a great car and a great deal you’d crazy not to buy it

  24. KarlS

    @JCA Peel the heads off of any double overhead cam engine and you’ll be surprised at how many of them are hemis as in pretty much every one.

    • JCA

      @KarlS, not in the last 20 years. All the heads now have “active combustion chambers” that swirl and move the mix in very specific ways. They are not one big hemi chamber like this 426 but dual unequal chambers. And you have high compression, direct injection, variable timing and valve controls, etc.

      Like 1
      • KarlS

        @JCA Well, I’m afraid I don’t have any vehicle with all the engine technology you mentioned so only could go on experience. My 1998 SVT Contour has a hemi headed 2.5L V6 as do most, if not all, Duratec V6 engines up to 2012 (3.0L). After that, I don’t know and of course, the latest Ecoboost engines are totally different than the Duratec and probably contain all those devices you mentioned.

  25. Desert Rat

    This is coming in a little late but I want to add my 2 cents, I’ve never been a MOPAR guy but I have to give credit where credit due The Hemi truly was an engineering marvel the bottom end was bullet proof and nothing out flows a Hemi head. Other big blocks can run with a Hemi to a certain point but once you get in the 600 to 700 hp range you pass the structure strength of most big blocks and the results are catastrophic. This is just one area along with it’s unbeatable combustible chamber and valve layout that make the Hemi the ultimate race motor. And lastly the main reason the stopped making them(or putting them in street cars) was due to emissions.

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