Buy Or Else: 1973 Plymouth Road Runner 440

The Road Runner was launched in 1968 as Plymouth’s low-budget entry in the mid-size muscle car market. With increased emissions controls, higher insurance rates, and the soon-to-come OPEC oil embargo, by 1973 the Road Runner had lost some of its punch. But not entirely. You could still get a 440 V-8 in a Road Runner when you ordered the GTX version, a more upscale model that saw just 749 copies made with an automatic. This one is wearing its original paint and is listed here on craigslist for $14,800.

Second generation Road Runners were built from 1971-74. They receive completely new sheet metal that initially shared the fuselage styling of other Chrysler products. A refresh came in 1973 that created a more squarish look to the car once again. This lit a fire under the sales department which saw a 40 percent increase to nearly 32,000 units that year (still way off from the late 1960s). Base Road Runners were milder than before, with a routine 318 as the starting powerplant. If you wanted an engine larger than a 400, you had to settle for an automatic transmission, such was the case with the Road Runner GTX, which had a 440 motor. It had an output of 280 hp net. This probably still didn’t sit well with insurance agents, and just 749 of them were built this way. The seller’s car professes to be one of those. Beep2Beep has a capture of Road Runner production data from 1968-74.

As is all too common with craigslist ads, the photos of this car are not great. We see a body that appears to be straight and clean and we’re told it wears its original dark green paint. If there is any rust, we don’t see it and it’s not mentioned. The white stripe is a nice contrast and presumably came from the factory. The chrome and glass are good. The ’73 models looked better than the ‘74s as the bumpers were just starting to add bulk. This Road Runner has a matching green interior that also looks good and we could be looking at leather upholstery, a nice GTX attribute.

Unfortunately, this car is not numbers matching. While it has a 440 under the hood, it’s not the original engine but we’re told it has been refreshed and tuned. We wish the term “refreshed” had been elaborated on as the car is said to have close to 100,000 miles on it. The seller states that both the ignition system and exhaust have been replaced and the car runs and drives great. Can’t imagine it passes many gas stations, however.

We assume the seller is joking when he threatens to do the car up like the photo above if it doesn’t sell. Or maybe he’s not? So, anyone wanting one of these later Beep Beeps should save it while they can! Hagerty says a really sweet Road Runner from this year could go for north of $30,000, but it would have to be an exceptional example since the early birds are where the money is. We assume the rarity of the 440 in the ’73 would be worth a little extra.

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Comments

  1. DON

    The 1974 coupes did not have larger bumpers ; the cars are nearly identical to the 1973 models. the 1974 sedan and wagons did get the larger bumpers.

    Like 8
  2. MoPhil

    Center console is out of a later B-Body… Fury, Cordoba, etc.

    Like 5
    • BEK100

      Definitely, also based upon the permanently attached shoulder strap it’s a 1974 model not a ‘73.

      Like 1
  3. Jcs

    That’s the hides of 14 naugas, not leather.

    Like 10
    • Dusty Stalz

      I don’t even think that would be classified as Corinthian leather lol.

      Like 1
  4. Gus Fring

    These cars never had leather, lol! And, I will bet a million dollars that this car is a 318 car with a 440 in it…if the claim of “original paint” is true, this car should have 440 callouts on the hood nostrils and small GTX emblems above the 440 callouts.

    Like 4
    • Steve R

      Luckily the VIN will answer the question as to what engine originally came in the car. If it left the factory with a 440 the price is probably fair, if not, the bar gets reset.

      Steve R

      Like 3
  5. Stephen Miklos

    Since it’s only 5 photos. Is he hiding something. That year with that hood and white stripes you would show the engine size 400 or 440 or 340. I did not show the I.d. plate or vin number. Could be a 318 turn to 440. Again buyer beware! 🙄

    Like 5
  6. George Mattar

    Nice car whatever engine it has. The 73 model is so much better looking than the 71 and 72 models. Yet, you hardly ever see them. Build quality was horrible, but these cars were simple and easy to fix. Today, you need thousands to buy special tools and scanners to find out what’s wrong.

    Like 3
    • Shanna

      I agree about the ’73 being a nice enough looking car. ’74 only saw 75 GTX’s. These are rare enough that even without power, it has value down the road.

    • Major Thom

      The ’73-74s looked much more like coupe versions of the B-body sedans than the ’71-72s ever did. Definite move away from “muscle car” image and toward “luxury”, if you think that’s better.

  7. Jim

    What’s going on with that center armrest? Did he upholster it himself using roofing nails?

    Like 7
  8. Rangerwalker24

    Pretty sure all the Road Runners in 1973 had black grill inserts… This one has silver/gray which were on Satellites. It is a bit iffy since they are not showing the fender tag or the VIN. Due diligence to the potential buyer.

    Still a nice looking car with the exception of whatever is going on with that console lid.

    Like 1
  9. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    Let me just say, the lime green car he threatens to make a tribute to looks friggin’ AWESOME! With the exception of the blower through the hood. The mods on the body, body color bumpers and the rolling stock make this Road Runner look like it should have looked from the factory. I love it!

    Like 1
    • Bill-W

      The grille on the 1973 Satellite 2 door models was used again in 1974 – 3672 209. The trim along the bottom of the grille changed for 1974 and varied from model to model.

      Chrysler’s 1973 models with the rubber blocks met the 1973 collision standards but the 5 mph standards for 1974 meant all new front ends. Chrysler went to Washington and explained they didn’t have the cash to redo all the front ends. The E body and 2 door B bodies would be carried forward with the 1973 front and rear ends and the new 1975 models would have the 5mph bumpers. Washington bought it.

      Thus the 1974 E bodies and 2dr B bodies have 1973 grilles, but also the new for 1974 combined shoulder and lap belts. Another change was the new steering wheel – the 1974 unit has a smaller diameter than 1973 with a thicker rim. Far more comfortable to drive.

      I owned a 1974 Sebring hardtop with a 318. Interior was black cloth and vinyl with a light green metallic exterior. Not a powerhouse, but it kept up to traffic, had decent gas mileage (for its size) and was a great highway cruiser. This is one car I truly regret selling.

      Like 1
  10. Rick

    The console is not stock. That’s the console from a late 70’s Charger,Fury or Cordoba.

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