Can You Say Hemi? 1969 4-Speed Road Runner

As the little boy learns in this launch video for a new Dodge, there are few words that are more magic to automotive enthusiasts than “Hemi”. This 1969 Plymouth Road Runner listed for sale here on eBay still has it’s original Hemi engine (as best as the seller can tell) and is located in Windber, Pennsylvania.

The seller states that the car has been awaiting restoration for a long time (“quite a few years”) and that it’s largely original, although they have been unable to find a broadcast sheet. The all-important fender tag does exist, however it has been the victim of some serious rust presumably due to the unfortunate placement of a battery cable. The odometer is showing 30,915 miles but there’s no validation of that amount available.

The car certainly looks more solid than some Mopars underneath in this picture, but obviously this car will end up with a complete restoration based on current Hemi muscle car values. The seller tells us that the major rust is confined to the floor pans, trunk floor, quarter panels, and rear window surround.

Does that little HEMI badge on the rear send shivers through your spine? It certainly did to many FoMoCo and GM owners when the car was new. I hope someone can find out if this car was originally sold through the Des Plaines Chrysler Plymouth dealership. I was able to establish that the dealership was open from at least the early 1960s to at least the 1990s, so it’s certainly possible that it was delivered there.

Naturally, the vinyl roof will need replacement, but you would expect that. Part of me would like to show up at a national Mopar show with the car looking like this, though — just to see the looks on some people’s faces!

Some of you die-hard Mopar fans just shed tears after looking at this picture. For those that aren’t familiar with it, this is what’s left of the all-important fender tag. This is what you’d like one to look like. If the tag were complete, almost all the options this car came with would be apparent (assuming no one altered or switched the original tag).

Since everything you see here will be replaced anyway in a restoration, the condition of interior components doesn’t bother me. I am appreciative that it hasn’t been butchered much and at least the original fasteners and some of the trim should be able to be reused.

And here’s the elephant in the room — er — engine compartment! If you aren’t aware of it the 426 Hemi acquired the nickname “Elephant” in the 1960s due to it’s huge horsepower and torque numbers. Assuming this really is an original Hemi + 4-speed car, the value once completed will be pretty darned high. Would any of you take on this restoration? Or, perhaps a more interesting question, are there any of you readers that would mechanically get the car running and drive it “as-is”?

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    Find of the year!

  2. Josh_T

    I’d sell my left “you know what” for this critter…

  3. r s

    I would have thought it was an ‘elephant motor’ because… well look at those cylinder heads!

  4. Jayson Madden

    This has been my dream car sense I was a little boy. I would fix it to run then do a complete restoration!!!!

  5. Gary Bortz

    I would make sure its road worthy and drive it like I stole it. That’s why they were made, not to be put up and looked at across some velvet rope.

  6. RJ

    I’d drive it just like it sits.

  7. Troy s

    Restoration or clean up/reuse what’s there….I actually don’t like the idea of replacing original parts with new stuff on such a rare machine. I mean here it is, boys an girls, an original American icon, the real deal in all it’s faded glory. So famous even fifty years later they still plaster the Hemi logo all over the new challengers, chargers, trucks…and everybody knows about it.
    Big difference between the modern version and this animal of a race engine though. One mean motha’…

  8. Joseph

    Wow. Only question I have is that the fender tag does not match the vin plate. Vin ends in 513 fender tag seems to end in 913. Shouldn’t they match?

  9. Camaro Joe

    Joseph, I used to know Mopar fender tags about 18 years ago when I restored my 65 Belvedere for the second time, but I’m 98% sure the number you’re looking at on the fender tag is a sequential number from the assembly line and not related to the V.I.N. number for the car. I heard that question too many times to forget it. Maybe . . . . . .

    The car looks real, the only question is . . . . why is the fender tag mostly destroyed when everything around it looks decent? That bothers me a lot on a HEMI car that’s worth a ton of money if it’s real. I’ve seen some pretty ratty Mopars that had a decent looking fender tag. I’d pay Galen Govier whatever he wants to look it over before I spent big money on it.

    • Joseph

      Thanks Camaro Joe. Agree, also had the same question about the condition of the fender tag relative to rest of car. Although there is a weird rust pattern overall.

  10. S L Barta

    Didn’t Road Runners only come with a bench seat?

    • Angrymike

      Nope, the 69 came with any option you wanted, except engine choice. You could only get the 383 and the Hemi till mid-year when the 440-6 came out . My father’s had buckets, air and a bunch of other GTX stuff.

  11. Bdabs

    There are a goodly number of over-restored, trailer queen Hemis out there…how cool would it be, though, to restore this mechanically but leave the cosmetics alone (even the outside of the engine), then rumble up to some car meet? This is just me, but something that looks ratty and is really fast is totally cool. It’s only original once.

  12. Mark

    Okay. I’ll give it a shot…..

  13. Howard A Member

    As bad a$$ as it got for 1969,,,

  14. Bdabs

    I think it would be totally cool to restore it mechanically, but leave all the cosmetics- including the engine, interior and top- as is. There is something very cool about a car that’s beatup looking, but FAST.
    I’d just love to rumble up to a car meet in this. Ratty or not, it’s only original once.

    • Angrymike

      Ratty, that describes my 70 Camaro SS with a 427. It was fun as all get out and I never worried about parking lot dents. Pic related is the last day of ownership after I pulled the 427 to put into my Chevelle.

  15. Franksave30 Member

    3 days left and bidding at 40k. Live about 85 miles from Windber ( it’s just outside Johnstown PA). BTW. Windber is also the birth place and early home to what famous Olympian and athlete and Actor….wait…

    Johnny Weissmuller ( Tarzan)

  16. GP Member

    Nice car, Thank God it has power brakes. Looks real to me, If that fender tag has ben messed with, They are the MASTERS of fender tags.

  17. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Wow……and where’s Kieth ?

  18. John

    I know nothing about number plates and the like. But this is a 4 speed 426 Hemi Roadrunner with all of its parts still attached (mostly). In my misspent youth, this was the top of the pile. There was simply nothing better. Made me remember “Sox and Martin”. Those were the days. Really. I hope someone with the resources to make this perfect steps up to the cash register. I can see a 24 part YouTube series, “RESTORING THE HEMI”. I’d watch every episode. 12 times.

  19. 442Much

    Looks like engine was on fire!!!

  20. Steve S

    I wish I could afford to get this car and get it running and have fun shifting them gears in this car

  21. Superdessucke

    A beauty but some interesting things here – such as how did the fender tag rust into oblivion while the chalk marks on the passenger side valve cover outlasted the valve cover paint? And no build sheet? I guess stranger things have happened but for this kind of money, I’d want a pre-purchase inspection by an expert like Glover as someone said.

    If this is what it is represented to be, great find. I’d fix it up mechanically and drive as is for sure. I’d never restore something like this. That’d be a shame and it would be cheaper to buy a fully restored one anyway.

  22. brian crowe

    I believe this is what dreams are made of!

  23. Robert

    My grandmother lived in Windber. I’m from johnstown. This gives me chills.

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