Healthy 383: 1970 Plymouth Road Runner

Some restoration projects can be more demanding than others, but the most difficult ones can also be the most rewarding. That could be the case with this 1970 Plymouth Road Runner. It appears to be in mechanically good health, but whipping it back into shape will take determination and dedication. If you think that you could be up to the challenge, you will find the Plymouth located in Morganville, New Jersey, and listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set the No Reserve auction to open at $9,000, but there have been no bids to this point. However, 141 people are watching the listing, so maybe one of them will get the ball rolling.

When it was shiny and new, this Road Runner would’ve been a stunning piece of machinery. Code FC7 In Violet paint graced its panels, while it also featured a Black vinyl top and stripes delete. Sadly, those days are a long way behind this classic, and the buyer will need equal servings of determination and dollars to return it to its best. Someone has removed the vinyl top to reveal the rust that is so common in cases like this. Repairing this will be a significant undertaking, but it is just the beginning. A previous owner replaced both rear quarter panels, and while the owner admits that these look okay from a distance, the quality of the workmanship is found wanting on closer inspection. The front fenders are secondhand replacements, but the rest of the exterior looks like it has little rust. All of the glass is present, and while the windshield is cracked, the owner includes a new replacement in the deal.

Okay, brace yourself. This is where things begin to become expensive. The last foot of each rear frame rail is rusty, and you can see that it has progressed as far as the spring shackles. The frame rails in the front footwells are similar, while all of the floors and trunk pan have dissolved. I see much grinding and welding in the future for the buyer and also the opportunity to get on a first-name basis with the guy who supplies the replacement steel. The owner is aware of the work involved, and he is realistic that there will be people who will see this as nothing more than a donor car. With this in mind, he makes it clear that he has no interest in parting out this classic.

The Road Runner isn’t numbers-matching, and this will cause some people to place a further mark against this car. However, the engine bay houses a 1967 date-coded 383ci V8. The rest of the drivetrain consists of an A727 automatic transmission, an 8¾” Sure Grip rear end, power steering, and power brakes. If this 383 is of a similar specification to the original motor, it should be producing 335hp. That is not an insignificant figure and would’ve allowed the Plymouth to storm the ¼ mile in 14.7 seconds. The news here is largely positive because the Road Runner does run and drive. Less positive was the decision by a previous owner to cut the fender wells to install aftermarket headers. This is disappointing, but addressing this problem would be a doddle compared to the rest of the work that this classic needs.

If you were hoping that opening the doors would reveal an interior that needed little work, you’re sure to be disappointed here. The seats are from a 1969 Charger, and while they need refurbishing, the frames are said to be in good condition. It is a shame that most of the interior has been changed because the car originally featured White vinyl upholstery, a front bench seat, and a column shift for the auto transmission. Most of these features are gone, which means that the buyer will need to decide how best to tackle the refurbishment. Returning it to its factory appearance would be possible, but it doesn’t matter which path they follow, there is nothing inside the Road Runner that will not need repair, reconditioning or replacement. This is another aspect of this project that is sure to consume a fair chunk of cash.

Now that you’ve had a chance to consider this 1970 Plymouth Road Runner carefully, what would your plan of attack be? Would you attempt a faithful refurbishment, or would you consider something different? Would you consider tackling this project, or is it beyond what you would be willing to consider? If someone does decide to take this one on, they will be facing a mountain of work. However, that should make the reward all the sweeter once the work is complete.


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  1. Steve R

    I really like 70 Road Runners and have always wanted one. However, I’d never consider one this rusty. There are too many desirable cars at reasonable prices, once you factor later model performance cars into the mix, to waste time and money on this one.

    Steve R

    Like 19
  2. Robert White

    If it could be bought for under $10k it would be a fun buy, but watch the bidders on this one cuz there are something on the order of 141 watching already so this mean it will have multiple bidders competing for the car.

    It’s only worth $10k tops.

    It’ll go $20k at least because it’s being upbid & blindbid too.


    Like 6
  3. Phil D

    To the author: That ’67-vintage 383 will not be the equal of a true 1968-70 Road Runner 383. The correct engine was a 1968 creation, using the better breathing heads and exhaust manifolds from the 440 Super Commando/Magnum to give it a few more horsepower.

    Like 6
    • Chris M.

      Phil sounds like you’ve been diligent about reading magazine articles. Those “free breathing” 440 heads you mention were the same used on all big blocks from ’68 through the ’70s. From a performance standpoint the ’67 383 this car has would be very equal to the ’68-’70 variants. Outside of a slightly hotter cam. Certainly not a big disadvantage.

  4. Motorcityman Member

    Ive been in a lot of cars that “run and drive” but they made me feel like I should have taken out a life insurance policy before the drive! 😆

    Like 2
  5. Troy s

    Well, its got a nice set of wheels on it, headlights look good… if there is anything here that isn’t in sad shape.
    I believe the $1299 Road Runner from Cars Illustrated years ago looked just like this one…back in the mid to late eighties. So theres always hope…….okay I’m done.

  6. george mattar

    Ship it to GYC. Far better ones out there. I had an FE5 N96 383 70 RR in high school. Found it in local newspaper. I have owned numerous muscle cars. It was a good car. Drove. It every day. Heard it was just 24 miles from me now in North Jersey. Had a cop friend run the VIN. Does not exist. Probably scraped. Gee, I only got $950 for it 45 years ago.

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