Original 383: 1968 Plymouth Road Runner

It’s pretty common to find classics based on Chrysler’s B-Body platform to be victims of severe rust, but this 1969 Plymouth Road Runner project is a refreshing change. It does have some rust for the buyer to tackle, but it is not severe. It is also a numbers-matching classic that should provide performance to satisfy all but the most hardened enthusiast. It has recently been listed for sale here on eBay. The Plymouth is located in Torrance, California, and with the bidding sitting at $16,700, the reserve has been met.

The Plymouth has spent its life in California, and that’s good news for the buyer. The owner claims that the Sable White paint is 85% original, and while it is showing its age, it still manages to hold a respectable shine. The panels sport a few minor dings, but there’s nothing there that will be too challenging to fix. That inevitably brings us to the question of rust. I would love to say that the Road Runner is completely rust-free, but I can’t. However, the rust that is present should not cost a fortune to fix. There is some in the trunk, but I don’t think that it will require anything more than some careful patching. The same is true of the small spots in each rocker. Some is developing around the back window. It is only in its early stages, but I would probably pull the glass to get on top of it. It’s also no surprise that there is rust under the battery tray because it is common. That appears to be it. The owner supplies a shot of the car’s rear underside, and the frame rails look perfect. The interior photo gives us a look at the floors, and they are equally as impressive. The windshield will need to be replaced, but the remaining glass looks good. All of the original chrome, including the hubcaps, is present. It seems quite reasonable and would need nothing if the buyer tackles the Road Runner as a driver-quality project.

The specifications of the 383ci V8 that found its way under the hood of the Road Runner were unique to that model. It boasted an increase in compression over the standard version, along with a more aggressive camshaft. The result was an engine that pumped out a healthy 335hp and 425 ft/lbs of torque. Bolted to the back of this V8 is a 4-speed manual transmission, while the original owner ordered the Plymouth with power steering. The performance was all that you might expect, with the ¼ mile disappearing in 14.4 seconds. Find a straight piece of road and keep the foot buried, and it could wind its way to 132mph. If Wile E Coyote couldn’t catch the original Road Runner, he’d have no hope with this one! It is a numbers-matching classic, and it seems that it is in sound mechanical health. It has been fitted with an aluminum radiator, but the original 26″ unit is included in the sale. The owner has also treated it to a new fuel tank, new sender unit, a new fuel pump, and a new filter. The rear brakes have been replaced, as have the rear shocks. It has a new dual exhaust to the mufflers, but I think that it will need tailpipes. The owner doesn’t indicate whether the car is roadworthy, but I suspect that it probably is. Included with the Plymouth is the original Broadcast Sheet, Fender Tag, and Warranty Book.

The Road Runner’s interior will need some work if it is to be returned to its best. However, it is complete and unmolested. All of the upholstered surfaces will need to be replaced if the interior is to look factory fresh, as will the headliner. The dash and pad are in excellent order, and a new carpet set will be included in the sale. The Road Runner was developed with a focus firmly on performance, with little consideration given to luxury appointments. That is true with this car. Apart from an AM radio, the car comes with 3-speed wipers and a factory tach. If you’re looking for air conditioning or power windows, you’ve come to the wrong place.

It is refreshing to find a 1968 Plymouth Road Runner project car that isn’t riddled with rust and that will need very little if it is to be returned to its best. Its rust problems are minor, and I can’t see why it couldn’t be driven and enjoyed while the next owner works their way through the restoration process. These are a vehicle that has consistently performed well in the classic market, which makes it surprising that there have only been six bids to this point. If this were the Hemi version, I could guarantee that there would be a bidding frenzy. There is nothing wrong with the 383-equipped cars, and a spotless example can command a price of $50,000. This Road Runner could be restored to that sort of state, but it will take the right person with an eye for detail. Are you that person?

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Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Kind of cool the way it is.

    Like 8
  2. Steve R

    This car was really well optioned when new. It’s still in decent shape and can be enjoyed with a minimal amount, then restored at a later date. Thus is much better than most Mopars from that era featured on this site.

    Steve R

    Like 18
  3. Turbo

    I would clone it into a GTO

    Like 4
    • Motorcityman Member

      You’d need a different body to do that, the GTOs weren’t Road Runner based.
      I think u mean a GTX?

      Like 8
      • angliagt angliagt Member

        I think his comment was made in jest.

        Like 12
    • chuck

      And also maybe LS swap.

      Like 3
  4. Greg h

    Thought the 383 4bbl hi perf 335 hp were orange?

    Like 1
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      Depends on the plant were it was built.

      Like 2
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      Depends on the plant it was built.

    • Sd

      Turquoise in 68. Orange in 69.

      Like 3
      • Phil D

        Not entirely true, Sd. The switch from turquoise to orange on the high performance versions of the B and RB engines was a running change during the ’69 model year. There are some numbers-matching ’69 Road Runners, Super Bees, GTXes and Coronet and Charger R/Ts running around with turquoise 383s and 440s.

        Like 2
      • Rick Szeman

        Turquoise also in 69 if your car was equipped with AC otherwise Orange in 69

        Like 3
  5. Greg h

    Thought the 383 4bbl hi perf 335 hp were orange? Hubcaps should be dog dish?

    Like 1
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      No – lots of RR’s came with these caps like my 1968 1/2 hardtop.

      Like 5
    • Phil D

      There were no orange 383s or 440s in ’68 or early ’69. That was a running change during the ’69 model year.

      A ’68 with an orange 383 or 440 has either been engine-swapped or treated to a “rattle can rebuild”. This car is correct as-is.

      Like 1
      • Larry d

        Had a 68 bought new had the.orange 383 magnum

    • bone

      If you didn’t want to pay extra for full caps, you got dog dish caps , like my 68 Belvedere.

  6. Curt Lemay

    Wheel covers, like almost all of them came with when new. Dealers always asked for gold for factory wheels, that is why the after market wheels grew so popular.

    Like 3
  7. Motorcityman Member

    Engines have come a long way…..My 2014 3.6 V6 Challenger with only 305hp would hit 140mph, top speed, did it twice, unlike the Mustang and Camaro the Challenger had no governor.

    • Dave

      Numbers wise, the V6 is almost as fast as a 340. I’ve driven a rental and it was a decent car. Around here the AWD models are popular and they don’t start rusting on the way home from the dealership. Good gas mileage too.

  8. Motorcityman Member

    Engines have come a long way…..My 2014 3.6 V6 Challenger with only 305hp and 268 torque would hit 140mph, top speed, did it twice, unlike the Mustang and Camaro the Challenger had no governor.

  9. Troy s

    Looks okay to me and to be honest the special 383 with the 440 heads is what makes a Road Runner…well, a Road Runner. I agree it’s nice to see one that’s surely a project, and not all rusted out with four different looking wheels and no engine, or some rare low mile Hemi or six pack version that will never see forward motion again. Sure to sell, even in these odd times.

    Like 6
  10. Dan Baker

    When stationed in Germany, in the late 60’s, I had a domestic model
    ( different from the export model) ’57 VW. When my wife and I went to the Army Base laundrymat, a GI would cruise by in a yellow ’68 RR. Just the awesome sound of it made me want to cry! I hated that VW! Just before returning to the land of round doorknobs, I bought my own ’68 RR through the PX. It was a beautiful aquamarine color with the flat black hood panel. I picked it up in Detroit, registered it it NW Ohio where I lived then drove it to Ft Campbell, KY.
    Mine had wide red stripe tires and dog dish caps and the 4 speed. The 383 was blue. Bare bones, with bench seats. AM radio and heater were options. It was a real runner, seemingly no limit to the top end. I put chrome reversed wheels on it and baby moon hub caps. All that I could afford on married GI pay.
    After my discharge, I returned to the Toledo, Oh area. I had no garage and would take the battery into the house on winter nights and re-install it at 5:30 am, praying it would start and I could get to work. In winter, if that car didn’t start by the 6th crank, the battery was done. Ah, the good ole days. My wife loved driving it. I have only ever seen one that color for sale.

    Like 17
  11. Showbiz

    Very nice looking honest car, the 68 RoadRunner holy grail unmolested , and the little round side markers do it for me like the the 68 GTX and the 68 Dart GTS I am looking for.

    Like 5
  12. Gary Rhodes

    I love 70 RoadRunners.
    I love 69 RoadRunners.
    I don’t care for 68 RoadRunners, the grille, taillights and side markers do not do it for me. Minor things to be sure but I just don’t like them. 383/4sp combo is a runner, great motors. A buddy of mine had a 68 RR back in 79 when I had my 68Charger R/T, he sold his and bought a 69 RR and the guy who bought it was being chased by the Ohio Highway Patrol one night for street racing. He was listening to the chase on his scanner and rooting for the guy that bought his old car. He did get away.

    Like 8
    • DON

      That’s funny, I love the 68s, and its the markers, grille and taillights are why I love them more than the 69s ! To each his own , as they say .
      The left primer fender and bent rear bumper and trunk bring back memories of my 68 Belvedere which I bought for 5 bucks about 40 years ago ; mine had a 318 , so the similarities stop there !

  13. Tom White

    The car presents well.. and the paint still holds color” the panels sport some minor dings”…. But WHY then was drivers side front fender Replaced?,( and not paint matched to rest of car?) Was it wrecked/ hit in that side by something ?.. no mention in article here on it.. over all if it hits $15k it’s not surprising..

    Like 1
  14. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $16,300.

    Like 4
    • Leslie Martin Member

      For a drivable and reasonably rust free car with these options and a 4 speed, that was a bargain. I hope the buyer invests enough to at least freshen this puppy up and keep it on the road. It’s a great example of why the Road Runner was such a success when it came out.

      Like 9
  15. George Mattar

    As mentioned above, this beauty sold for $16,300, finally a slamming deal on a Mopar not from the salt mine. Very good buy as these cars sold for about $1,000 50 years ago, when I was in high school. There were two 68 RRs in my high school parking lot. One was gold, one blue, both 4 speeds. I had a 70 RR in FE5. This 68 does have quite a few options, including the rare UB, buffed paint. Chrysler products had single stage enamel in those days and it was awful. I had a 68 Sport Satellite in B5 and after buffing it out in 1979, it looked much better. The new owner scored here and I hope he or she enjoys driving a real car, unlike today’s garbage overpriced computers on wheels.

    Like 5
  16. David G. Revel

    When I was working at a local grocery store for tips back in 1969 the store owners son got a gold ‘69 with an alligator-skin top for HS graduation. I’ve never seen another one but surely there were several around the country.

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