Numbers Matching: 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

There were quite a few muscle cars to come out of Detroit in the 1960s and two always seem to come to mind. One is the Pontiac GTO, which is credited with starting the movement in 1964, and the other is the Plymouth Road Runner, which was a low budget (but sort of gimmicky) newcomer in 1968. The Road Runner would have its best sales year in 1969, which would have included the seller’s original but rusty edition. Located in Barnesville, Minnesota, the car can be found here on eBay as the subject of a no-reserve auction currently at $8,032.

When it came to no-frills speed, Plymouth had all their bases covered with the Road Runner. The first generation ran from 1968-70 after Chrysler paid big bucks (at the time) to license the name and cartoon likenesses from Warner Brothers. Then they developed the now iconic Beep-Beep horn to seal the deal. The result was a speedy but not fancy car that sold 81,000 copies it’s second year; drilling down to hardtops with 383 V8s and 4-speeds, the number was a bit over 21,000. So, versions of the Road Runner that are similar to the seller’s car was the most popular package with buyers that year.

The seller’s Road Runner is said to be a barn find, but there is no indication as to how long it’s been off the road. But looking at its overall condition, we’d say that’s probably been several years. The floors have holes in them as does a couple of places on the undercarriage. And much of the rear quarters have been eaten away by the tin worm. There is no shortage of surface rust where a vinyl top likely used to reside, so the buyer is going to have to include sheet metal in the restoration budget. The glass and front bumper look good and it appears as though some smart-aleck busted out all four headlights.

The interior is going to need salvation, with the dashboard being the only part that might get by. Seats, door panels, floor covering, etc. will all need to be sourced. The gear shift lever is the longest one I’ve ever seen on one of these cars. Surely, it’s not stock. Bucket seats with a console were less common on early Road Runners than a bench seat.

We’re told that the car is numbers-matching and the 383 Hi-Performance V8 with 4-speed has not been touched. The seller says he’s tried to turn over the motor by hand, but it did not spin. The odometer reads just shy of 87,000 miles which the seller believes is accurate. The seller will be buying a car those rolls and steers and comes with a clear title from North Dakota (flipper?).

The 1969 Plymouth Road Runner scored Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award, which no doubt helped the car have a banner year in sales. The starting price for a bare minimum Road Runner in those days was under $3,000, yet today you can easily get $60,000 for a really nice one, according to Hagerty. Considering that this car will take a lot to restore, the buyer needs to be confident that the demand for these cars remains strong.

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    I have been watching all the old RoadKill episodes and the fun David and Steve have patching old Mopar’s together and just having a blast makes me want to join in the fun. This looks like the perfect no excuses example to play with.

    Like 9
  2. gaspumpchas

    By the looks under the hood, I’d bet this bird Was under water at some point. The seller did himself no favors by not pressure washing. Buyer beware. No pics of the roof rot. and its up to 8 large. Know what you are buying, the frame rust could be cause it went for a swim Stay safe and good luck.
    Cheers
    GPC.

    Like 7
    • Dave

      It’s a unibody. No frame to rust. But…there are a lot of places that are, judging by the condition of the car, are probably rotten beyond repair. Fixing this car correctly will cost a ton of money!

      Like 3
      • Gremlin X

        I have a Subaru wagon with a little rust on the rear quarters. Not like this. A little rust. Maaco wants $3,000 to fix it. I don’t think people understand how much rust repair costs.

        Like 3
  3. Arthur

    If this car wasn’t numbers matching, I suspect this would be a good candidate for a Hellcrate Redeye pro-touring build, especially if the rust issues could be dealt with.

    • Steve R

      Why do you think rusty hulks are candidates for high end Resto-mods? It’s far cheaper and much less time consuming to start with a base model with a clean body. Pedigrees don’t matter with that type of build since the drivetrain, interior, brakes and suspension will be changed. It’s a waste of money to buy the performance version of a particular model, let alone one that has this much rust.

      Steve R

      Like 7
  4. Dusty Rider

    I think that shifter was made by Inland and was factory. They would hang up on the 2-3 shift and you would float the lifters sometimes.

    Like 5
    • Gus Fring

      No, it was not. The last year for an Inland-manufactured shifter was 1968. That is a Hurst shifter for the console cars and is 100% correct.

      Like 2
  5. Boatman Member

    Proofread, Russ. Always proofread.

    Like 4
  6. GeorgE Mattar

    Truth be told, most of these cars looked this bad in the mid 80s. I was looking for a B body in 1984. Found a 68 GTX in want ads, remember them? Asking $1,500. Orig green paint. 4 speed. Orig engine. Found it Philadelphia. Quarters were trash. Needed interior. I drove it. I called around. No repo sheet metal available. I told the seller no. Guess I should have spent the $1,200 we agreed on. Considering this pile of rust is up over 8 grand, I was stupid. Ship this to Mark Worman. He will charge you $100,000 for a car worth maybe 40K when he is done. Very common car while I was in high school.

    Like 5
    • Dave

      Only thing is, Worman builds them better than they rolled out of the factory. Museum quality.

      Like 4
  7. Steve Clinton

    This proves the old adage ‘A fool and his money are soon parted’. (or parted out)

    Like 1
  8. Gus Fring

    The Hurst shifter is totally, 100% correct. It is totally different on a console car than it is on a no-console car.

    Like 1
  9. Cycle Salvage Kevin

    A local acquaintance has a couple MOPAR’s he wants to sell but as I came to discover after he asked me to help sell them, he’s clueless as to prices. I took some pics and posted on a couple Facebook pages and holy cow, a ton of guys wanting to buy. I gave his cell # and he was inundated with calls and texts. He asked me to remove from those pages citing ‘no idea’ and no time to negotiate. I’m like, what the heck? The cars: ’68 Road Runner w/newer ‘built’ 440, he has the original 383 yet. Ugh, tan w/bench seat and auto on column. It hasn’t been started for years and the body? Of course Swiss cheese. The other car, ’74 Challenger, red, inside on 4 flats. Supposed to have a 318 but has a knocking ’71 340. Auto on console. I didn’t look real close but from a distance (4 feet) saw zero rust. I’d love to own it myself but that’s never gonna happen. I suggested he list them on eBay but he’s still in limbo. BTW, I got him in touch with what’s his name Mike Wolfe’s brother who’s extremely interested. Cars are located in rural Sioux County Iowa, 35 miles from both I-29 and I-90. Also, the Road Runner has been parked inside next to the Challenger on concrete floor for at least 15 years, so that at least is good. Limbo, still there, ugh. There are more older MOPAR’s in the family.

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