Parked for 20 Years: 1973 Plymouth Road Runner

This 1973 Plymouth Road Runner has been sitting for more than 20-years, and while it has some major rust issues, it has one very important attribute in its favor. It is cheap. Barn Finder Roger spotted the Plymouth for us, so thank you for that Roger. The Road Runner is located in Toms River, New Jersey, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner is asking a mere $2,500 for the Plymouth.

The owner says that the Plymouth will need a lot of bodywork, and it doesn’t appear as though he is far off the mark there. Both quarter panels look like this, and that would also suggest that moisture has almost certainly found its way into the trunk as well. I would expect that the car will probably need a new trunk pan, and with rot showing in the rockers, it is also possible that there might be some in the floors as well. Interestingly, I have a feeling that the Road Runner didn’t start life finished in this shade of Regal Blue. The fender tag seems to suggest that Tahitian Gold Poly was the original color, and this would gel with the interior trim.

The Deluxe Y4 Gold interior trim is a bit of a surprise because the majority of it looks to be in pretty reasonable condition. It looks like some serious cleaning would reap some pretty positive results, and even the dash pad looks like it might be okay. The headliner looks like it is also good, so a bit of cleaning and a new carpet set could be all that’s needed inside the car.

The owner believes that the Road Runner is a numbers-matching car, and if it is, then that’s more good news. What you get is a 318ci V8, producing 170hp. In addition, you get a TorqueFlite transmission and power front disc brakes. It isn’t clear what state the mechanical components are in, beyond the fact that it obviously doesn’t run. Given the fact that the engine is partially dismantled, and the fact that the vehicle has been sitting for more than 20-years, there will probably be more than a bit of work required before that engine fires a shot in anger again.

There is no doubt that there is some work required before this ’73 Road Runner is ready to grace our roads once again, but we have all probably seen cars in a worse state resurrected. It is a car that has three points in its favor. The first is that it is a classic car that has experienced a steady increase in market value over the past 3-years. The second is that it is believed to be a numbers-matching car, which would make it ripe for a faithful restoration. The third point is that it represents an inexpensive initial outlay. If you are the sort of person that doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty, then you could potentially save yourself quite a bit of money on restoration by undertaking a lot of the dismantling and reassembly work yourself. Of course, if you are handy with a welder and grinder, then that’s even better.


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  1. Ramone

    Wow! I knew these Mopars were prone to rust, but this is amazing. Surely just a parts car.

    Like 11
    • reg l ducharme

      they all rust the same no matter what brand lol

      Like 7
    • rpol35

      No big deal, it’ll buff out.

      Like 10
  2. Ryland Anderson

    Listing link does not work

    Like 1
  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Thankfully the ad is gone on that one.

    Like 3
  4. CCFisher

    I’ve never seen quarter panels rust from the top down. Was it stored upside-down in a swamp?

    Like 15
    • Steve R

      Toms River New Jersey is located next to the ocean. I’ve seen cars rust in a similar manner come out of Pacifica California that were parked under an awning or carport with the tail end sticking out.

      Steve R

      Like 7
      • AMXBrian

        I can attest to some of the rust. I grabbed a Javelin parts car out of Tom’s River and it was pretty rotted as well. Not nearly this bad, but it spent less time there. They did try to fix the rot with roofing tar and way too much bondo, but the interior and drive train were worth it.

        Like 2
  5. Stangalang

    Was it dragged out of Tom’s river..rear end only??!! Jeez

    Like 2
  6. Jeff

    Is this Road Runner a distant cousin of the super rare Swiss Cheese Pontiacs?

    If so, someone may pony up extra dinero for this fine specimen.

    Like 3
  7. J_Paul Member

    That is freaking horrifying. I can’t even imagine how much it would cost to fix this pile of rust, even assuming the engine can be resurrected and that the photos show the full extent of damage.

    Toms River got hit by Hurricane Sandy a few years ago, and I would not at all be surprised if this car found itself under salt water at some point.

    (For what it’s worth, a restored ’73 Road Runner with a matching-numbers 400 is $28k on Hemmings right now.)

    Like 5
  8. Ian C

    I would want to get it structurally sound and drive as is. Just think of the reactions you would get at the gas station…. or at the local cruise-in!

    Like 5
  9. bobhess bobhess Member

    Better watch it J_Paul, some local is going to pop up and say it doesn’t flood in Toms River. Bet the underside is really something.

  10. Rube Goldberg Member

    Wow,, coming from Wisconsin, I’ve dealt with my share of rusty cars, but I never saw 1/4 panels that looked like this, without the rest of the car looking like that, except most Asian cars, anyway. I wonder how that happened. It’s almost as if, the 1/4 panels were from a different steel supplier. The Road Runner was gasping for breath, and these were the last of the “real” RR’s, before they went to the Cordoba and later Volare. This one was already kind of stale with a 318 and automatic. I think you could find a clean Satellite equipped the same way.

    Like 5
  11. Rosko
  12. JC

    Wow… to say it has rust “issues” is like saying the Titanic hit an ice cube… there’s no way I would touch this.

    Like 3
  13. Brian K

    Holy rust Batman. I could see this car in a movie shot in Detriot or something. This car should be crushed along with that 318. It’s just too far gone.

    Like 1
  14. George mattar

    Is the seller sniffing glue? I love 73 and 74 Road Rumners, but this should be crushed. Sad.

  15. The Chucker

    I witnessed some of these (albeit in far better shape) bringing what I considered to be good money this past weekend at the Coyote Johnson auction in Red Oak, Iowa. Auction fever was in full effect IMO…great for seller and auctioneer, but I went home with an empty trailer. My wife was happy anyway. :-)

    Like 1
  16. Joe Machado

    Rust eze could make this, from movie, Cars, something. An example of why I never buy East of New Mexico, or San Antonio.
    Should buy and bring to shows, as a delicate trailer Queen, as an example of Eastern iron.
    Sittin at a lite, look thru and see people on the sidewalk. Safety feature.

    Like 2
  17. Chris M.

    Leave it as is and get it running. The patina crowd will pay way more than it’s worth! Lol

  18. Mood-O

    Saw a ’69 GTO Judge at a Pontiac only show last year that was close to this shape…
    Guy drove it there and back to where he came from…
    Drew a lot of attention at the show

    Like 2
  19. John Oliveri

    Gonna dump 15 grand into it to have a 6000 car in the end, it’s not even a 360, which was no 340, but a 318 is a Satellite, so it’s junk

    Like 1
  20. Del

    Thank god for listings like this or Barn Finds would be down to two cars a day.😁😂🤣

    Like 3
  21. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    All these comments and nothing from Keith?
    I’m disappointed in you, this one is a sitting duck!

    Like 2
    • Chris M.

      Careful what you wish for! My guess Kieth is napping after his afternoon med pass.

      Like 2
  22. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I think this would be perfect for the Concours de Lemons. Get it running and enter it in a Lemons race too!

    • On and On On and On Member

      Or…………Put the engine in the trunk, ad on some Porsche emblems and ask for $50,000. Ill bet you get bids…………………

      Like 1
  23. Vance

    I get lockjaw just looking at the picture.

    Like 1
  24. Troy s

    Doubt if it would’ve made a difference but they should have put the valve covers back on umpteen years ago…no thrills 318 anyways.
    Neat tuff steering wheel, actually not a bad interior set up but it’s probably got more issues than we know of….wiring and so forth.
    If it had the 400 the numbers matching thing would be more worthy, did these come with 440’s in ’73? I’m thinking yes.
    A boat load of work for a car better suited as a non numbers matching street machine. At least it would be more worthy of the Road Runner namesake.

    Like 1
    • mcunnan

      The 440 was available but you had to order the GTX package and it was only available with an automatic trans. IMO the 400 with a pistol grip 4 speed RR would be a better car. I had a 400 2v auto Satellite Sebring. Fun car for a 19 yr old. I bought a rusty (not this bad) 74 318 4 speed RR and swapped the hood, interior, and 8 3/4 3.23 sure grip. More fun car. I wish I had held on to it.

      Like 1
  25. Steve

    I’d use spray foam. Lots and lots of spray foam. And at least one roll of duck tape :)) that will hold her together.

  26. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Red Green has a solution:

    Like 1

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