Last-Ditch: 1979 Plymouth Road Runner

1979 Road Runner

Road Runner used to mean muscle, but by 1979 it was just a trim package for the Plymouth Volaré. There were some suspension tweaks made, but the engine options available were not exactly exciting. The styling wasn’t the best either – with window louvers and flamboyant stripes. I doubt too many enthusiasts lusted after these when they were new, so it’s no surprise that you don’t see many around today. Somehow this one avoided the fate suffered by so many of it brothers. It sounds like the seller has made a few changes, but the car does look relativity clean here on craigslist where they are asking an optimistic $5k. Thanks goes to Eric B for the tip! Pretty sad story here, but this particular car does have one very redeeming quality…

Striped interior

Whoa! Checkout that interior! The sunset stripes that wrap around the outside have extended into the the interior and now cover the seats and door panels. A lack of power and mediocre styling may have caused me to turn my nose up this Road Runner at first, but the novelty factor make me want this ugly duckling badly. I know I’m not alone either because we can attribute the high selling price of our own Duster to the candy bar interior and snakeskin roof. Mopar may have produced the best cars, but they sure were creative when it came to option packages and color schemes. Road Runner, Superbee, Scat Pack, Space Duster, the list goes on and on. So, although it may have been a better idea to not even build this particular car in the first place, you do have to give them credit for trying to make it interesting!


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  1. JW

    That car just screams 70’s, but not worth 5K IMO.

  2. Karl

    It’s certainly an unusual car nowadays. These cars rusted in my neck of the woods (SE Louisiana) like a Soviet-steel Fiat, but maybe the climate was kinder to them elsewhere. This one looks good, but I’m hoping that the hood scoop is aftermarket, because it looks like
    somebody just kind of tossed it onto the hood. I cringe to think that’s a factory fit.
    My one main memory of these cars (besides the rust) was walking into a Dodge showroom in 1982 and seeing a no-mileage two-door Aspen, beige with dog-dish hubcaps, still for sale.

  3. Gerry

    We had a Volaré station wagon – probably a ’75 and definitely a gutless wonder. It’s only redeeming factor was that it would easily carry 220 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. I’ll pass on the model above.

    • Ed P

      I had a ’78 Aspen wagon. The only thing it did not do was rust!! Everything else broke at one time or the other.

      Like 1
  4. William H

    I’ve always been a fan of the gaudy-wild ’70’s styling. To this day I still want a ’76 Chevy van decked out with shag carpet, bubble window and Cragar mags. While I think the $5k asking price is way too high, I’d love to have this car. Only thing lacking would be a big poofy wig, sun glasses and a Bee Gees 8-track.

  5. Mark E

    But the big question is…does it have the “beep-beep” horn??

    • The Walrus

      Unfortunately, if it has the ‘beep-beep’ horn, it would be incorrect. Those horns were not OE on any of the Volare RoadRunners ‘(76-’80).

      • BEE BEEP

        They all still got the horn. It just wasn’t painted purple anymore.

        Like 1
      • Gary Gardner

        76-80 Volare’ Roadrunners did in fact have the beep-beep horn from the factory! They were the last to do so!

        Like 1
    • Gary G.

      I have owned my 79 Dodge Aspen R/T 360 4brl. since 1981.Only 384 R/T’s that year came with the police 360 4 brl. From 78-80 the quality of build was much better than the earlier 76-77 models!

      Like 4
  6. skloon

    listen to the cat

    Like 1
  7. Fred

    Karl, you aren’t the only one that remembers them rusting. They were the biggest rust bucket along with Vega and Fiat. Mechanically bad too. The Consumer reports reliability chart was solid black.

  8. St.Ramone de V8

    That hood scoop is certainly not original. Perhaps the owner of this thing thought : Hmm, it’s missing something. Maybe a Disco Ball or a cheap scoop. This is as much a Roadrunner as the Mitsubishi was a Challenger.

  9. krash

    I see it has the optional “Dante’s Concentric Circles of Hell” interior…

    It’s as though the upholsterer was trying to express (via color) the exponential increase in gravitational pull/speed of any object being caught in the inescapable vacuum of a black hole in deep space…

    the exterior looks like a marshmallow on a stick that was held a little to close to the campfire…

  10. krash

    The description from the actual ad:
    79 roadrunner. Complete car runs and drives needs tlc. Good project car .or drive while you restore. Has rear California interior 318 engine hooked. Headers sound mean. 76k in cash and in person.
    Kevin show contact info

    love the line: “76k in cash and in person”

    • Bill Parmenter

      ….. and the “Hooked” headers ??? better than Hooker Headers, i’m sure …. ha ha ha

  11. Mike D

    I bought a 77 Volare in 84-ish I sunk a lot of $$ into it in just the first month or so of owning it.. had purchased it from one of those corner lot dealers.. asked him to make it right, and he wouldn’t at that time ” Used Cars” was on HBO, and I was talking with one of the help about being scared of buying used after watching it.. he smiled and said ” Naww, we use good quality gum” he was almost right!! I tried to get Plymouth to replace the fenders, and they stated then , that it had already been repaired ( bondo) and I wasn’t the original owner.. the engine did run.. as long as I kept oil in it the frame finally gave way.. had to jam the shifter to get it in gear ( standard) unless it has been completely redone and all the bugs taken care of.. wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole

    • Ed P

      My ’78 shifted the same way. An independent mechanic discovered that the clutch lining had pulled away from the disc and was dragging. A new clutch plate fixed that. Otherwise, this was my “car from hell”.

      • mike d

        it was the crossmember (???) that held the tranny in place , it was rusted practically to nothing, it was a matter of time before it rotted thru

  12. Jason


  13. Joe T

    I passed on a 76 Dodge Aspen R/T twin of one of these back in 78. Purchased a 76 Duster instead. Slant 6 with manual with overdrive 4th, it was one of the best cars ever had.

  14. Bill Parmenter

    My ’76 RR was a dealer special………
    Didn’t do well after her Transplant from Sunny So-Cal to Beaverton, MI………..

    … but I loved the “Beep Beep” Roadrunner Horn !

    Like 2
  15. RickyM

    Fantastic 70’s colours – brilliant !

    Like 1
  16. rick

    Was this in Massachusetts? I almost bought it but couldn’t come up with funds.

  17. Fritz T

    You can make one of these things move, turn and brake. But I’ve always hated (even as a kid) some of the decor packages offered…
    This is one of them that was ticky-tacky to an extreme

  18. BEE BEEP

    There were only 617 of these Sportpak Roadrunners ever produced in ’78. They were split between Two available colors. Black, and White. Also, three engine choices. 318-2, 360-2, and 360-4. And there were only about as many of that kitchy one year Spectrum interior made for the whole Volare line as there were of these with the Roadrunner and Sportpak pkgs. Combined, it’s a pretty rare car and desirable to those who follow them. All in all, I’d say that being able to get into one of these only needing minor TLC today for $5K is a pretty good deal.

  19. Carl stclair

    Great looking vehicle owned a 1976 Dodge Aspen 4 door sedan with 225 six and auto Trans engine outlasted body due to bad rust issues.

    Like 1

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