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Original 383: 1970 Plymouth Road Runner

It is not uncommon for us to see stalled project cars come across our desks here at Barn Finds. This 1970 Plymouth Road Runner is a perfect example of this trend. It seems that the owner had gotten no further than partially dismantling the vehicle when he ran out of time and money. Rather than letting it sit for years, he has taken the difficult decision to part with it. The Plymouth is located in Morgan Hill, California, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. It has only attracted a single bid to this point, which sees it sitting at $10,500 with the reserve unmet. There are currently 78 people watching the listing, so there is still the possibility that someone might choose to hit the BIN button at $16,000.

The seller of the Tor Red Plymouth has listed it on behalf of a friend and rightly points out that it has some rust issues that will need to be repaired. Both rear quarter panels are now in primer, so it isn’t clear whether some repairs have already been performed there. It’s no great surprise to find that there is rust in the rockers, along with spots in the bottoms of the fenders and the bottom corners of the doors. It is a bonus that the area around the rear window is still clean because this area could be a rust-trap. The floors are a different story. The front floor on the driver’s side received some pretty rough amateur repairs, and I don’t think that the buyer will be left with any alternative than to replace that entirely. It is hard to see the remaining floors, and it also isn’t clear what sort of state the trunk pan and frame rails are in. There is a shot of the engine bay, and it looks to have little more than some surface corrosion on the radiator support. There are a few trim items that are missing, and the grille is damaged. I believe that the bumpers would respond to some work with a high-quality polish, while the glass appears to be in good condition.

It isn’t just the body of the Road Runner that will require attention because the buyer will be spending time and money on the interior. The front seats aren’t original, and most of the upholstery looks like it will need to be replaced. The dash pad is cracked, although the rest of the dash is unmodified. The Rallye gauges look to be in good order, and the original AM radio remains in situ. Whipping the interior into shape will not be cheap, with a trim kit in the right color and pattern selling for approximately $2,500. As I have said in past articles, this hurts the wallet, but it is a one-off expense. If the car is treated with care and respect when finished, the interior trim should last for decades.

The Road Runner rolled off the production line fitted with a 383ci V8, a 4-speed manual transmission, and a Sure Grip rear end. It isn’t clear whether the transmission and rear end that are currently fitted to the car are the original components, but the numbers-matching engine block is quite literally hanging in there. The cylinder heads are sitting on the front floor, but it isn’t clear whether items like the carburetor, air cleaner, or alternator are missing or are squirreled away somewhere. The Plymouth will require a mechanical refurbish, but it should be well worth the effort. In a mechanically sound state, this is a classic that should be capable of ripping through the ¼ mile in 14.7 seconds. Find a long enough piece of straight road, and the top speed should threaten 132mph.

This 1970 Plymouth Road Runner is a classic that will require a full restoration. However, its rust problems don’t look as bad as they have been on some examples that we have seen here at Barn Finds. That raises the question of the car’s potential value once it has been returned to its former glory. If it is a numbers-matching vehicle and restored to a high standard, then $35,000 or more is not out of the question. If the next owner is meticulous, then there is no reason why it couldn’t threaten $50,000. That makes it a classic worth pondering if you are a person searching for a project car.


  1. Jeff

    Are those Tarzan or Magilla Gorilla motor mounts?
    He rocks in the treetops all day long hoppin’ and a-boppin and dropin a motor all day long…

    Things you see when you don’t have a pistola.

    Like 9
  2. Steve R

    There are a couple of huge red flags with this car. It started life in the rust belt, Iowa, and has been bought by someone in California that either never started the restoration or abandoned the project shortly after it began. I have a friend that does restorations and another that does VIN verifications for the CHP. Both are adamant about never purchasing a muscle car sight unseen that spent its early life in the rust belt.

    The second red flag is that this cars sale is being handled by a friend of the owner. Unless there is a California title in the name of the owner it would be wise to take a hard pass. Skipping registration on a car brought in another state, being sold by a third party is a recipe for disaster. If there are problems with the DMV, who do you turn to? Nobody, that’s who, the seller will likely wash their hands since their name won’t appear on any paperwork.

    It would be wise to hold off and wait for a different car, one in better shape, with a title in the actual sellers name.

    Steve R

    Like 20
    • angliagt angliagt

      That’s one of my pet peeves – people who
      bring in cars from another state,& won’t title/register
      them,leaving it for the buyer to sort out.

      Like 11
  3. Stephen Miklos

    Here we go again.. people losing there nuts on a Mopar!🤦 At least it not as bad as the Charger 500 * (my not be a 500) Anyway to much work and God knows what under the bird. $10,000 and going up is to much if the floors and rails are rusty! I guess people got money to burn! 🤷

    Like 3
  4. Stangalang

    My take is and it’s my personal opinion of course..people that actually have the funds available to buy these rusted up old cars (and trucks etc) know that they can put them away for a couple years..do very little or nothing at all to the vehicles..let said vehicles sit and rot some more and sell them for more money later. It’s a vicious circle that our automotive trade and hobby has always been in. Me thinks most people here will agree

    Like 4
    • Steve R

      That plan is too risky. A better course of action would be to buy something like a low mileage late-80’s 5.0 Mustang LX or IROC in the best condition you could find within your budget. It’s obvious they are appreciating in value. Buying junk is a fools errand, the bottom end of any market is subject to wild swings in vakue since that is where the marginsl participants live.

      Steve R

      Like 10
  5. george mattar

    I had an FE5 70 Road Runner in high school in 1973. Paid $1,200 for it from original owner. Front fenders already blistered with minor rust. I love these cars, but agree with Steve R, buy a Fox body Mustang or IROC and drive the crap out of it. It won’t break down, can use today’s lousy gas and is far more comfortable. I had to use Sunoco 240 in my RR back in the day. For you youngsters, Sunoco 240 was two notches below the blood red dyed 260. We also pumped 250 Sunoco at the Custom Blending tanks back in the day. This thing has too many red flags, especially the title issue.

    Like 4
  6. Jim

    Nice patches of tin on the drivers side floor. The buyer sure would have to look this one over close especially the underside

    Like 1

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