Original 383: 1971 Plymouth Road Runner

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Automotive history is littered with examples of unscrupulous owners passing off clones as the genuine article, That is not the case with this 1971 Plymouth Road Runner that the seller emphasizes is the real deal. It underwent recent restoration work that left it as a tidy driver, although potential buyers may consider performing changes that would return the car closer to its factory form. The Plymouth is listed here on eBay in Pompano Beach, Florida. The seller set a BIN of $28,500 but left the option to make an offer.

Plymouth introduced its Second Generation Road Runner in 1971, with the car appearing markedly different from its predecessor. The company followed the corporate line of adopting “fuselage” styling. While it seemed to give the vehicle a more significant physical presence, there was little to separate it from the outgoing model under the tape measure. This car presents quite well in what the seller describes as Panther Pink, also known as Moulin Rouge. They assess the finish as 6/10, suggesting that an in-person inspection will probably reveal minor faults and flaws. While they emphasize its general originality, there is an issue that some potential buyers may wish to consider. They supply a shot of the Fender Tag that indicates a paint code of TX9. That confirms that the car rolled off the showroom floor wearing Formal Black. It is unclear when the change occurred, but returning the vehicle to its original shade might be a wise strategy to maximize the future investment potential. I also have questions about the work quality because the photos seem to show an “unfinished” look around the trunk channel. The panels are pretty straight, with the listing and pictures confirming the Road Runner is rust-free. The trim and glass look acceptable for a driver, but the new owner may decide to replace the aftermarket wheels with something more appropriate.

Powering the Road Runner is a numbers-matching 383ci V8, with the original owner selecting a three-speed manual transmission and power assistance for the steering and front disc brakes. Tighter emission regulations began to make themselves felt by 1971, with manufacturers reducing engine compression ratios as a part of the changes. It wasn’t all bad news because this V8 still pumped out a healthy 300hp. It should allow this Road Runner to storm the ¼-mile in 15.5 seconds, which raises a point to ponder. Common sense should dictate that the ET would drop if the original owner had selected the more versatile four-speed transmission, but the truth is that the difference would fall in favor of this car by a whisker. The difference is due to some marginal gear ratio variations, demonstrating that sometimes transmission upgrades are hard to justify financially. The seller indicates they spent over $10,000 on an engine rebuild two years ago and that this Plymouth runs and drives well. They supply this YouTube video with the 383 running, and I can’t see or hear any apparent problems.

The Road Runner’s interior continues the theme of acceptable presentation, with its combination of Black leather and vinyl upholstery looking respectable. The seller admits it needs carpet, and one photo shows damage to the back seat. Otherwise, the dash and pad are excellent, and there is no broken or crumbling plastic. The car originally featured air conditioning, but someone removed the system. Aftermarket gauges are mounted below the dash to monitor the health of the powerhouse under the hood, but I can’t identify any further additions.

This 1971 Plymouth Road Runner leaves me slightly torn because it presents reasonably well as a driver-quality classic. With that in mind, the BIN price looks highly competitive. However, the color change will almost certainly undermine its potential future value. Returning the car to its original form is possible. Considering a few paint shortcomings visible in the supplied photos, it might be the best approach to cement the car’s place as a long-term investment. There are 118 people watching the listing, and I wonder how many are having the same thoughts.

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  1. sakingsbury20

    not sure why they would of changed the original paint color to this as I had come to believe the TX9 paint code was one of chryslers least optioned…Whatever, although I dont mind this color on the cuda/challenger bodies, tho not my favorite, to me it makes the fuselage bodies look way larger than they are…..BTW, I don’t know if the strobe stripes under the 383 callout were applied wrong or what, but ditch um, they look awful IMO…..

    Like 10
    • Steve

      I agree with you about everything you mentioned

      Like 1
    • Patrick

      I have a very clear and distinct memory of this friend of my mothers who took me to several concerts in a Plymouth Roadrunner that did indeed have a three-on-the-tree transmission. I don’t know why this article discounts that, but it was the case. He also sported Clyde on his shoulder whilst driving said automobile. Clyde was his pet tarantula who would sit on his shoulder while he drove. One day, on our way back from a Judas Priest concert, the spider fell on the seat and Rick sat on it (killing it). He was so saddened by this event that he ripped that transmission a new one driving fast and furious…clear as day.

      Like 0
  2. Howie

    Looks and sounds like a good deal, those wheels would have to go right away!!

    Like 16
  3. J Rightmer

    As the old song says, I see a red door and I paint it black. I would take back to the original color and get rid of the aftermarket gauges. If it is numbers matching original is the way to go.

    Like 5
  4. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    TX9 Black paint looks good on the Runner.with white strobe stripes front and back. So I don’t know why Panther Pink 🤦. Looking for a quick sale? The wheels are just fugly!! Magnum 500 with raised letter tires would look 100% better. I would be cautious about the Runner after seeing the trunk. You paint the outside and forget the trunk? Why? Rust issues under the runner. Hard pass on it. 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 9
    • Michael Berkemeier

      They never put both stripes on…you got one, or the other, but not both. This looks ridiculous.

      Like 1
  5. JE Vizzusi

    God almighty look at that pink plum crazy color? And that badging… so far 2023 ugly award of the year. Another fishing expedition for big money for a heap. If these old Dodges and Plymouths are so great, why are 79% of them for sale in auctions? Nobody wanted them in my day… we were right then! jv – smash palace

    Like 3
  6. Roland

    If someone did a doors-closed color change and then made their own stripes I cannot take the “restoration” too seriously. Maybe the front stripes are on with the left and right reversed, but the rear stripe is not stock with the bird cut out of the stripe. This would be a fun driver, but not for near $30k. I owned a 71 Satellite with no options (225, A230 on the tree) from the factory, not even a day/night mirror, and added pretty much every factory option available, so I know the car well. This one is pretty but does not strike me as an investment, without a lot of work.

    Like 4
    • Roland

      Also, I don’t see a PS pump!

      Like 0
  7. Howie

    It has power BREAKS, and this is a low reserve auction? This is not a auction.

    Like 3
  8. Danny B

    The awful stripes and color change ruined this car.

    Like 5
  9. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    I dug deeper into this runner. Manual steering.. Power drum brakes. This was a AC car which was strip of AC and NO HEATER!! And which was rare is 3 speed on the tree from the factory! I can’t tell if they change the steering column. Probably not!! And added a 4 speed with pistol grip. No harm or foul if it’s done right! I doubt it after seeing panther pink paint on a black car! 😂 The price is nuts. If this was done right from the beginning… it be worth more. What a shame! 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 3
  10. 19sixty5Member

    I wonder if the what appears to be hail damage visible on the hood and fender tops was before or after the $25k restoration? I’m not a Mopar guy but those front stripes have to be wrong. Maybe reversed from left to right? As much as I have a fondness for Centerline wheels, they need to go. This car needs the original 10 hole wheels on it. Save your $$ for proper paint and bodywork and some interior details and you would have a pretty unique car!

    Like 2
  11. Mark

    Did they leave the three speed manual transmission it in it or did they put a four-speed in it? They probably converted it to a floor shifter because the shift tube wore out and the parts were unavailable 15 years after the car was done with production. As mentioned above, Looks like the spray paint it over rust that was in the trunk which makes me wonder what the bottom side of the car looks like. They should’ve just left the car black instead of doing this crummy purple paint job with the wrong stripes and such, would definitely be worth more money in my opinion. If I was gonna spend $25 in an old Mopar, it would not be this one.

    Like 1
  12. MoparMike

    Must’ve been a bench seat originally, if it were buckets the shifter would be further back and same shifter as the E bodies. I like that they did a “doors closed” paint job, makes it easier to go back to black. Definitely loose the wanna be center lines, Cragars or slots would be nice.

    Like 2
    • Gransedan

      Too, the seats are clad in the upholstery used in ’73 and ’74.

      Like 1
  13. Michael Berkemeier

    First off, no Road Runner ever came with a three-on-the-tree. This would have been a three speed on the floor which was the base transmission when ordering a 383 Road Runner and, yes, there was a three-speed Pistol Grip shifter for ’71. That, however, is the least of this cars problems…this thing is a hillbilly hack job.

    Like 5
    • Mark StPaul

      Hillbilly Hackjob! ❤️ that descriptive term for this car.

      Like 1
      • jim

        I agree the awful black under the hood and not same color as factory painted the same color of the car. This car sure has been worked over so the value and interest is not there for most

        Like 0
  14. Dean Rogers

    Never trust a Mopar seller who puts the wing on backwards! .

    Like 2
  15. dave

    Stunning color!

    Like 0

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