Picking Up The Pieces: 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner

Andrew TannerBy Andrew Tanner

Reader Bill W. sent us this forlorn looking Plymouth for sale here on craigslist in Alabama. There is no doubt in my mind that this 1969 Roadrunner has seen better days. That being said, as far as “quality for price” goes in the world of Mopar projects, this one is priced pretty fairly. Now I know there was a time when cars like this could be plucked out of fields and backyards for $1,000 or less, but those times have come and gone. Mopar products have soared in price over the last decade, with the B-Body remaining a fan favorite. Having owned a 1969 Coronet nearly all my life, 1969 Coronets and Roadrunners will always hold the top spot on my list of favorite cars! This also means I see a lot of ads for these cars, and I have to say that at $5,700 this is one of the more reasonably priced cars I’ve seen.

Based on the rest of the car being largely disassembled, I was genuinely surprised to see a 383 actually in the car. However the condition of the engine is not mentioned. The ad also states that there is an automatic transmission included, presumably a 727. The engine bay is largely bare other than the engine and master cylinder, which leads me to suspect someone took this car apart to restore it, but did not end up continuing the project. Even the wiring is gone, which could be good or bad, depending on your level of experience. The inner fenders appear rust-free, and the less rust on a Plymouth the better!

What this car lacks in rust under the hood, it makes up for in spades in the trunk. Chrysler products are notorious for rust issues, especially in the quarters and floor pans. I can see the ground through the driver’s side quarter, which means this car definitely needs the typical B-Body rear sheet metal replaced. This also makes me question the condition of the subframe rails underneath the trunk floor, and the floor pans too. If the floor pans and subframe rails are bad, then the torsion bar crossmember likely is too! There are no picture provided of the interior, but in my experience if the trunk is this bad, pictures of the underside of the car would be worth having before making a trip to check it out.

The seller states that the car has all its original glass except the windshield, and that all necessary new sheet metal is included with the sale. Based on the pictures, it appears that most of the parts not attached to the car are included with it. This Roadrunner would be a heck of a project to tackle, and certainly could not be done easily on a low budget. That being said, when finished this could be one sweet ride that is appreciating by the day. This is one tempting Plymouth, but a serious project, would you take it on?

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Comments

  1. Dan

    A question for the person who will restore this car, as I have never had a mopar like this. When you are done, will this car be fun to drive? I have had plenty of big old tanks..won’t this just be like one of those?

    1+
    • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Staff

      I think I can answer that for you! In high school I drove a 1969 Dodge Coronet, which is essentially the same car. My Coronet is equipped with a 318 small block, and I have to say that it was a lot of fun! It moved and handled pretty well for as large as it was. With a 383, I bet this Roadrunner will move pretty well! They do not handle like big luxury cars of the same time period.

      2+
      • Dan

        Thank you for your response. It is good to hear that these are fun to drive. I sometimes scratch my head and wonder why people lay out so much money for these…now I have a better understanding.

        3+
    • Billy

      These are “fun” to drive in a straight line. That’s about it. I had a 70 that I had crushed in 1981 (yea, I know). Fun to squeak the tires in front of a crowd, fun to beat some guy in a Chevy at a stop light…fun if you are under 20 years old. I grew up and realized that a better balanced car was a far better option. Guys, you can’t go home again, a modern car will cost less, and be soooo much better. If you have the skills, the time, the cash to do this and it makes you smile, that’s awesome, just don’t ever tell me that it is anything more than a long lost memory of your youth. And if you are a young person, for Pete’s Sake, get a modern car, take some driving lessons, and have fun. These are Baby Boomer youthful fantasies, not yours, and for good reason. I didn’t lust over my Dads prewar car dreams, don’t lust after ours unless you plan to make money on some geezer like me…and do it fast, we are growing old quickly, starting to drop like flies. The market will soon drop out badly for such things.

      24+
      • blasphemy

        Best response to a lot of the “flippers” on this site.

        3+
      • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Staff

        I have a modern performance car as well, and while that car is a totally different level of fun, old Mopars like this are what I will always have a preference for! And they aren’t superior, safer, or better at handling, they are just what I prefer. It is true that the market relies largely on older folks wanting to relive their teen years, but it is important to remember that many different generations drove these cars in their teen years too! That being said, your praise of modern cars makes me happy, because as a younger guy involved with the classic car community, the amount of hatred for new cars has gotten quite stale.

        1+
      • ToniM

        Not that I want you older folks to drop like flies, but as a Gen X-er who grew up in these old cars, but never got to have one, and still love their style, I hope the market does drop out badly for such things so I can maybe have a chance to have one for myself. I have modern(ish) cars, and I do enjoy them–and I agree they are better in so many ways, but like Andrew, I still prefer the old Mopars.

        4+
  2. Gunner

    I too own a 69 Coronet 2dr Hardtop (440 Model ). I am fortunate in that mine is equipped with a 383-2 (one of 2532 produced that year for the 440 Model). I love the body lines in these cars and prefer the 69 over other years. This Roadrunner has me wondering if that hood is a A12 hood, or just aftermarket. A friend of mine once bought a 69 Charger equipped with a 318, only to find out that it was a real deal J-Code Hemi car! The owner had pulled it in the 70’s due to the gas shortage. He still had the Hemi, and it went with the car when my friend bought it. My friend sold the car in 91 due to a bitter divorce. A hard pill to swallow for a really stand up guy

    8+
    • Andrew Tanner Andrew Tanner Staff

      Great story! Real bummer about the unfortunate sale though. Here’s a wild one for you: a friend of mine purchased a wrecked 1969 Roadrunner convertible out of a field for $250 minus the engine and front clip in the late 70s. He asked where the engine went, learned it had been put in a worn out Charger and sold. He found the Charger for sale in the same town for $200 with a bad trans, and bought it. Reinstalled the Roadrunner’s original engine, attached a junkyard front clip, sold the Charger sans engine for $200. He still has the Roadrunner, and is pretty sure that to this day he doesn’t have $1000 in it!

      8+
  3. Mitch

    $5700? No, just no. I sold my 70 running, driving, complete & decent ’70 Coronet for $5500. ’69 Road Runners are as common as mini vans. At the Mopar meets I’ve been to, all you see are ’69 Road Runners.

    4+
  4. Daren

    I have a 69 roadrunner it’s all complete it needs some work it’s original body color is A4 silver black vinyl roof with green interior 383 car but now has as I call it a poor boy 440 stock iron heads full interior 10 point chrome moly cage frame connectors fun car to drive in a straight line 1/4 mile it runs in the 10s 125 mph on E-85

    1+
  5. John H from CT

    There is an option for a muscle car that goes fast and handles well. It’s the TransAm cars 69-70 including Mustang Boss 302, Camaro Z28, Cuda AAR, T/A Challenger and TransAM Javelin. All great cars.

    5+
  6. Steve Bell

    Wow. I remember seeing junky stuff like this going for eight or nine hundred bucks on craigslist…absolute “heaps” that nobody wanted. You could score a good complete 440 for song and maybe a dance. Slap it all together over a couple weekends, pass inspection and STILL come out under $5700. Unbelievable.

    1+
    • blasphemy

      So how long ago was that? 20+ years?

      1+
  7. Rspcharger

    Two words for all those that think these can only go straight…Sway Bars

    1+
  8. Dave

    I love 69 roadrunners but with the 426 Hemi or the 440 still the 383 is not bad but it’s a lot of work

    0
  9. gaspumpchas

    Friend of mine had a 68 road runner, 383 4 speed, that car was a blast to drive!! Went like hell and handled great, plus the great ride you got from Torsion bars!!!

    2+
  10. lawrence

    Mopar’s have soared in the last decade ? Where were you since the last century ?

    0
  11. MikeK

    This one is about 30 minutes north of me. If anyone is serious about it let me know and I’ll be happy to go take a peek for you.

    Mike

    2+
  12. Graywolf

    New performance vehicles are quite awesome in their own right, but a classic car will always turn heads!! New vehicles are pretty much cookie cutter design and they keep the same design for years. Classic cars usually change yearly! Just think designing, re-tooling and building new parts every year! WOW! There is always room for classics, get the younger people involved!

    1+
  13. FourBarrelCarburetor

    Mopar’s handle really good…

    Remember every car handles different,even new cars..Take a new BMW and Mercedes you will need to find a different line to get the car handling around the corner the quickest and safest way !

    I let my new at the time Brother In Law in 2011 drive my 68 Charger RT…He only had BMW’s and one VW ..

    Anyways,I let him drive my 68 Charger he was amazed how good it handled ,no rattles,no squeaks and super smoooth..We live with a lot of curves and hills…Car is smooth,very powerful and stops from 60 mph in 122 feet,front factory disks and rear drums..

    He said it drives like a modern car,once you get some miles on it ,you understand how it drives (like any new car you drive a BMW doesn’t feel like a Ferrari but both handle extremely good)you can push it around corners quicker and it is a blast around corners and straight roads…I also let him drive my 1966 Chrysler 300 that also feels like a B body,same thing,he loved it ! I also own a few more old Mopar’s and he always want to drive them..

    People who think they dont handle drove worn out 600,000 mile beaters..99,999 they go to 00,000 ! I bought many cars from people who thought they were in top shape..I drove them the steering box was shot thus steering moved inches before wheels turned and others had bad worn front ends and engines that were running on 6 cyl and they thought thats how they were,NO a 440 doesnt run 14’s !! or even 13’s they are shot ! If you have no tire spin and modern tires they run 12’s !! They got mid 13’s with 440’s with 205 70 series 14 inch bias ply lol that spun half way down the track lol…

    My Wife who always drove new Mercedes cars,also drives a B-7 Blue ,71 Charger RT 440 and she drives fast in Canyon roads !!!! She also gets livid when people say old cars don’t handle.. She said its like going from a Mercedes E320 to a 550 they both handle great but drive a little different,to go fast around a corner you cant stay in the same spot you were in the other car,move over on the road a few inches and either go into the curve slower then hammer it more or go in quicker and hammer it less lol..If a 30 something year old non car girl gets it..why can these idiot men ?

    1+
  14. erikj

    I agree Girl. You go!!

    0
  15. erikj

    I agree . You go!! And cool that girls get that as well.

    0
  16. Edgee

    Basket case. + or –

    0

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