Finally Letting Go: 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

1969 Plymouth Road Runner

After having this 1969 Plymouth Road Runner parked in their garage for 21 years, the owner has come to realize that since they haven’t finished it in the past 21 years chances are they never will. As they say, sometimes the best thing you can do for something you love is to let it go. In the case of this Road Runner, the seller knows its best chance for seeing the road again is to let it go to a new home where it can be finished. This one is a bit rough and we typically don’t like finishing other people’s projects, but it got us thinking about the thought processes behind keeping an old car parked in your barn or garage. We will get into that later, but if you’re interested in giving this Mopar a new home and a chance at life again you can find it here on eBay. Special thanks to Jim S for the tip!

Plymouth Road Runner

Over the years we have given a lot of thought into the psychology behind our automotive passion. There is just something about cars that makes us happy. There also seems to be some kind of mental response to the idea of saving an old car. The only problem with saving and restoring a classic is that it takes a certain level of motivation and mental focus that not all of us possess, having the financial means always helps too. Thankfully, we all have the ability to gain these traits or means, it just takes focus, planning, and some motivation! Many of us buy a car with the dream of restoring it only to discover that we lack the ability to finish the job. We hope that if we ever find ourselves in this position, that we would have the wisdom to acknowledge it and let the project go to a good home, but that isn’t always so easy. For this owner, it took 21 years to realize it wasn’t ever going to happen.

Road Runner Motor

Obviously, the seller started the restoration, but they didn’t get very far before losing interest. The years of neglect have left it rusty and covered in dirt. The engine is a 383 and believed to be original. It is in need of a rebuild and the seller doesn’t state whether it turns or if it is locked up. The engine bay appears to have been stripped down and hopefully, they still have all the pieces that were removed. We also noticed that the hood has a 440 badge on it, but we would assume the hood is from a different car and not that the engine was originally a 440.

Road Runner Project

It appears that the seller simply bit off more than they could chew with this one. It appears to have surface rust, but it’s hard to tell what is rust and what is just dust and dirt. A good cleaning and a closer inspection should reveal more. We have always appreciated the Road Runner and we hope to see this one on the road again, so hopefully the next owner will have the determination it will take to finish it. We don’t see it lasting another 21 years without some immediate attention, so at the very least someone will cover the bare and rusty metal with some rust treatment. Hopefully, the next owner will get in touch with us and keep us updated on their progress!

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Comments

  1. Dolphin Member

    Doing the numbers, I get:
    – both valuation sources I looked at said about $25-$30K for a very nice driver
    – even at the current bid of $5,300, this one needs everything and you can’t get there from here
    – more than 82,000 ’69 RR Coupes made with the 383 engine = not rare

    Buy a nice Road Runner at the going price, be driving tomorrow, and save money at the same time

    Like 1
  2. Dirty Dingus McGee

    You are correct on the hood, the only 440 in ’69 was the 6 barrel. Lift off ‘glass hood, no hinges.

    5,300 and reserve not met leads me to believe the seller has watched too much Barrett Jackson and thinks this is a gold mine.

    Much as I like Road Runners, the money isn’t there for this one from me.

    Like 1
  3. Moxman

    I believe both of you guys are right on point with your commentary. This car is such a basket case, that it would take countless dollars to replace all of the stuff that has gone missing after the deconstruction. Even though all of the parts are still available, it just doesn’t make sense to take a chance on a car that’s not that special. Maybe that’s why the owner lost interest?

    Like 1
  4. Eric Faley

    Too much for a one that’s still needs full restoration. Hood is a 68 GTX hood.

    Like 1
  5. Jim-Bob

    it looks to me like the owner sandblasted the engine bay and then just left it. That scares me. 21 years in bare metal likely hasn’t done it any good. Otherwise, it appears to be a solid shell and it comes with many of the pieces needed to make a cool car of it once again. However, to me the biggest negative is the transmission. I wouldn’t mind the base 383 so much if it were hooked to an A-833 rather than a Torqueflite 727 (in the trunk).

    What I would do with it would all depend on if the numbers matched or not. If they did, I would go the boring route and restore it (or pass on it). If they didn’t, it would get a mild 440 hooked to a 5 speed manual (with Pistol Grip shifter, of course!) and plumbed through a set of 3 chamber 2.5 in Flowmasters. I would paint it Limelight/Sublime green and put in a black bench seat interior with a rubber mat. The wheels would be widened steelies with dog dish caps (or a set of the Centerline Auto Drags it has on it) and that would be about it. Add a few reproduction trim pieces/decals/stripes and you’d have the perfect fun musclecar without breaking the bank. Is it an original car that will fetch big dollars at auction? No, but so what? Why is it that every car needs to be an investment? What ever happened to building something just because you like it and it’s fun?

    What’s it worth now? I would say $7-8k is strong money for what it needs. If it goes for much more than it is bid to now then someone is paying too much.

  6. Mike_B_SVT

    Would have been a cool car ~ and could be again! I always cringe a little bit when I see cars like this come up for sale. It’s like folks think that they have to do everything all at once in order to “restore” a car ~ “ok, lets start stripping it down and then we’ll… completely lose interest once it is reduced to a pile of rusting parts”.

    My advice: do just a few things at a time. Make it a “rolling restoration”. Do a little weekend project or two, or some things you can do in the evenings during the week. Have it all back together and running in time for the next weekend so you can take it to a cruise / show and enjoy it a bit while you save up and plan for the next project. When winter comes around you can get into some bigger projects ~ or just do more small ones!

    I think the key is to keep it reasonable ~ don’t bite off more than you can chew and still maintain your interest / momentum.

    Like 1
    • Jim-Bob

      The big problem with doing it that way is that, eventually, you run out of things you can do without touching the body and paint. At that point you dive head long into it, thinking you’ll get it right in a week or two and then be ready to spray color. Unfortunately, it almost never works out that way. You will inevitably find some rust you didn’t expect, some bad body work you need to correct or some cracked and leaking body seam sealer. You figure it’s not that much work and you might as well do it “while it’s apart” and then it mushrooms out of control. I think that’s why so many cars end up in pieces. Installing an engine or transmission is fairly easy and rarely occupies more than a day or two. Homegrown bodywork though can take weeks or months to get done and people wear out. They put the car away and figure they’ll get back to it soon, but soon never comes. I’m not just being critical here either as I am as guilty as anyone of doing this. Eventually sometimes turns out to be 5-10 years and even if ti does get done then everything else needs to be redone again at that point.

  7. Philip

    It’s not all bad. I have brought back cars worse than this, but not much. The 727 is cheap and a breeze to rebuild, as is the 383 , provided it isn’t blown up too bad. The glass needs pulling as does the rest of the interior and driveline, trim etc. It would take a weekend tops. Then jack it up and media blast the entire car the following weekend to evaluate what you have and what you need.
    You make your list and plan of attack from there. I’m lucky and can do everything needed myself and know where and what parts to source, to keep prices down. In well under a year that car would be a kick butt driver anyone would be happy to own.. Barrett Jackson material,, probably not, but there are plenty of rich boy toys out on the market already. For under 15K including a realistic asking price you can build a super nice street car that is fun, fast and turn heads. As the article says, you need focus discipline and devotion. It also doesn’t hurt if you can do all your own work, interior and paint/body/driveline included. I’d take it, but a have a C3 BB Corvette I’m currently doing, I never do more than one project at a time, keeps you from being sidetracked as well as guarantees the current project gets finished in reasonable time. There is aways ‘ another car ‘ once the current project is completed.

    Like 1
  8. Jeremy

    Hello all, I actually purchased this car from a gentleman who brought it through the original eBay auction. He had a few Mopars and seemed to have changed his mind about restoring it. It’s pretty neat to stumble upon this site and find an article about the car I bought. As soon as I saw the ‘68 GTX hood and centerlines/MT’s, I knew this article was about my car. At any rate, I’ve had the car for a couple of years now after looking for one to restore for a very long time. My dad purchased a ‘69 brand new in early ‘70 (post car, 383, a-833). His was the same color, Frost green, black bench, etc. As an update, this is an all matching numbers car, and the only parts that are not original seem to just be the ‘68 hood and the left fender is from a ‘69 Satellite. The car is solid, not sure who replaced the floor in the car, but it was done at some point. It sat in my garage for a while as I travel a lot for work, but we are moving on the project now. Plan to have all of the body work and suspension/brake work complete by early spring, paint immediately after. I am building the original 383 to factory spec. The block is in good shape and after checkout it’s relatively low mileage as the cylinders are in great shape. I am really contemplating going back with the a-833 as I have one from another ‘69 RR. That’s a tough decision with having the numbers matching 727, but the 4-speed would be a lot of fun. So, I intend to complete the car next summer. The plan is to have a really clean driver because I don’t want a trailer car. I’d like to have some fun and let my dad enjoy it. It will be show quality but just for fun. Anyway, it’s just really neat to see articles like this and I felt it would be good to issue an update.

    Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Thanks for the update Jeremy!

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