Original 340: 1971 Plymouth Road Runner

From a marketing perspective, Plymouth’s decision to spend a then substantial $50,000 to use the Road Runner name and likeness on one of their performance offerings seems like it was a wise one. The Warner Brother cartoon character is renowned for its lightning turn of speed, and it is one of the most recognizable characters to emerged from the world of animation. That the company retained the name from 1968 until 1980 was a sign of how well the buying public accepted it. This 1971 Road Runner is a tidy survivor that features its original V8 under the hood. It has been the owner’s pride and joy for several years, but he has decided that the time is right for it to find a new home. Located in Baldwin, New York, the owner has listed it for sale here on eBay. Seventeen bids have pushed the price to $45,850, which remains short of the reserve.

The owner refers to the paint color that graces this classic as Plum Crazy, which is partially right. The shade is identical, but Plymouth color charts refer to it as In Violet. Regardless of the name, it is in excellent condition. The owner doesn’t indicate whether the vehicle has received any repainting work, but its overall condition would suggest that this is possible. It shines magnificently, with no evidence of patchiness or other defects. The panels are as straight as an arrow, while both the exterior and underside shots show no evidence of rust. The stripes look crisp and clean, and the trim shines as impressively as the rest of the exterior. The Road Runner is equipped with an Air Grabber hood, along with front and rear spoilers, and all of these components are flawless. The same is true of the glass, meaning that the buyer won’t need to spend a dime on its overall presentation.

This Plymouth is a numbers-matching classic equipped with a 340ci V8, an A-727 transmission, a 3.73 rear end, and power brakes. Performance figures from this 340, a first-year offering in the Road Runner, would have been reasonable for the time. Pointed at a ¼ mile, it should complete the journey in around 16 seconds. However, this Plymouth might be capable of improving on that figure substantially. The owner has installed an upgraded carburetor and ceramic-coated headers. With the mixture getting into that engine more efficiently and the spent gasses exiting more easily, that 340 now pumps out a claimed 295hp. If true, that should allow for the car to produce a low-15-second ET. The engine bay presents as impressively as the rest of the car, and if appearance count for anything, it should run and drive extremely well.

When we turn our attention to the interior, we discover that this Road Runner is nothing if not consistent. The interior is upholstered in black vinyl, and I can’t spot any issues or problems. The upholstered surfaces are free from wear and physical damage, while the dash, pad, and console are just as spotless. I don’t see any problems with the wheel, and all of the faux-timber looks crisp and clean. There are no aftermarket additions beyond the owner’s decision to install air conditioning. I normally shy away from such things, but this is a worthwhile inclusion in a vehicle with a relatively dark exterior color and black vinyl trim. Otherwise, the chances of cooking yourself on warmer days would be mighty high.

This 1971 Plymouth Road Runner is a tidy classic that seems to need nothing. The owner has performed some upgrades, but reversing these should not be difficult. When we consider its overall condition, I believe that we must be getting close to meeting the reserve. There are a few days left on the listing for those who wish to stake their claim. If you are a Mopar enthusiast, this one could be worth watching closely.


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  1. 19sixty5 Member

    Nice appearing Road Runner, but who takes their car cover off and leaves it on the ground to pick up debris when you put it back?

    Like 28
    • Jim Richards

      Very clean well maintained original car . I really wouldn’t change anything on it and devalue it . A Great Original car !!! You should be very proud of the condition you’ve kept it in . I hope you get whatever you have set as the reserve it’s worth it !

      Like 1
  2. Moparman Member

    Hmmm…I wonder if the ACME corporation makes car loans?? This is a real beauty and it’s going to take some “Wil E” bidding to get it! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 9
  3. Graham

    A really nice car. Wouldn’t change a thing on it.

    Like 3
  4. Cav427

    Just a thought, why not set the 340 aside and put a 5.0 Coyote under the hood? Acme would be proud!

    Like 1
    • John E Alm

      Thats As Bad As Youtuber itsjusta6 Coyoting A First Gen Camaro , Its Like Give A 90yr Old Grandmother A Two Piece Bikini , Sure She Could Wear One But Whos Going Wanna Look

      Like 4
      • Cav427

        Not a big fan of the ’71 ’72 ’73 Chargers (well the new ones are pretty nice) and the Road Runner and Coyote were a great comedy team. Pre ’71 I wouldn’t consider it. Didn’t Chrysler substantially cheapen the 340 cid in 71? No forged crank or pistons?

  5. Howie Mueler

    Nice, $50k now, but reserve still not met.

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