Desert Barn Find: 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

Beep Beep! Here’s Motor Trend’s 1969 Car of the Year, the Plymouth Road Runner. This seemingly intact example is one of 84,000 manufactured in ’69 and is located in Huachuca, Arizona and is for sale here on eBay with a BIN price of $22,000.

I reference this one as being intact because these frequently aren’t. The description of this Road Runner is light so its past is unknown but it currently resides in Arizona which is a good thing – these cars were rust magnets in the wrong climate. Beyond that, they were frequently modified, run hard and put away wet. Back in the early seventies, I used to see so many of these with dented front left fenders, ostensibly caused by a hard launch, with loss of control into a stationary object, that a good car friend of mine claimed the dented left fender was actually an available option.

What brought all of this burn-out braggadocio about? In this Roadrunner’s case, it’s the standard 383 CI, 335 HP Magnum V8. Options included Mr. Big, the 426 CI, 425 HP Hemi and at mid-year, the 440 CI six-pack (triple carburetor) optional power plant. This particular Road Runner’s engine appears to be mostly unmodified with headers, different valve covers, and an open-element air cleaner as the only additions. Note the purple Beep-Beep horn! The seller claims, “starts, runs and drives great”. The commonly found four-speed manual transmission is hanging out back on this Magnum “B” block engine.

The interior is an interesting study in interior decorating, the front floor is covered by what looks like some office complex style commercial carpeting on the passenger side. Under the driver’s feet is what appears to be a rust-colored carpet piece. The solidity of the floors is not mentioned so it’s hard to tell what the purpose of these out of place carpet remnants really is – carpet for the sake of carpet or is it hiding something? The dash pad and seat upholstery are shot though the dash itself looks OK.

The body on this Road Runner looks straight and I can’t find, with the few images available, any real sign of rust or corrosion. The finish has a Mad Max quality about it, probably from years in the hot Arizona sunshine though the seller claims that this bird was stored in a shop for twenty years. While there is no mention of the underside integrity, there are two images of the trunk floor and it appears to be sound. It also looks like there has been some paint and primer action going on in the trunk that included painting right over the jack handle.

This Road Runner is the hard-top version as opposed to the sedan version (with a “B” pillar). I don’t know if one is more collectible than the other. I’ve often wondered why both were offered as it would seem more efficient manufacturing-wise to offer just one. This is a very period piece with its Magnum 500 wheels and extended leaf spring shackles. The best thing about this Road Runner is its originality and completeness, it’s just very tired and the overall description of the car in the listing, coupled with the paucity of good photos, is minimal at best. For a price of $22,000, I’d want more detail before I’d consider a closer look. How about you, am I being too tough on the listing or do you think it’s adequate for what this car is and what the seller wants for it?


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  1. KevinLee

    Carpeting courtesy of a few dumpster dives, no doubt. I’d pull that out, put a new carpet set, drive it as is.

    Like 2
  2. JOHN Member

    Not a Mopar guy, but I would have no problem with this in my collection. I love the 69 Runner, but I also like the 70 just because you don’t see that many. Add the crazy full lengtht Road Runner dust trail down the sides and I am all in!

    Like 3
  3. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Few wrong things and about $14,000 to much on the asking.

    Like 3
    • M

      Oh, c’mon now! Are you saying this car is worth only $7000.00? The market determines value not subjective opinion. l think the price is just about at fair market value give or 10%. Do some research and l think you will agree.

      • JOHN Member

        For $7k each in this condition I’ll take two!

  4. Chris M.

    It’s a viable project compared to some of the rusty heaps we see. But too overpriced to make a real reasonable offer.

    Like 1
  5. Howard A Member

    In the mid 70’s, a coworker had this exact car. It was one of the few cars I drove, where you could hold the throttle to the floor, pump the clutch, and with that long shifter, row your way through the gears, not unlike paddling a canoe. Amazing that car took that. They were cheap, tinny, basic Satellites with a kick in the pants. Most ended up wrapped around trees, but back then, even the paperboy could come up with $500 bucks, and could head out to “Airport Rd.” and clean up. Optimistic pricing, as usual, but a neat piece of history here, $22g’s neat? Meep, meep. BTW, I read, Chrysler paid Warner Bros. $50g’s for the graphics and horn. Sounds like like a pittance considering how successful the car was and Bugs Bunny was huge, no doubt helped sell the cars.

    Like 3
  6. TimM

    This won’t last long!!!

    Like 1
  7. Del

    Pretty beat. But saveable.

    As usual it bugs me on Mopar when no VIN or fender tag is provided. The build sheet is probably in taters under back seat.

    Springs have been re-arched to high.

    Probably for slicks.

    Could be a beauty again but price a tad high but not much body rebuilding required from the looks really dry.

    Like 1
  8. Troy s

    Funny, I keep looking at the engine picture and can’t help but think that is a two barrel carb. Shouldn’t be, but it looks smallish.
    Is that the long shifter everybody talks about busting their knuckles on the 2-3 power shift?
    Cheap or not I think the Road Runner was spot on when it came to attracting the street racers out there,,,tough looking lines with really not a lot of scoops and stripes, simple and to the point.

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