Real A12: 1969 Plymouth Road Runner 440 Six-Pack

For those people who wanted a potent Road Runner in 1969 but found that their budget would stretch to a Hemi, salvation was at hand. In mid-1969, Plymouth introduced the A12 performance package. This took the already potent non-Hemi Road Runner and boosted it to a whole new level. It is also relatively rare, making this one a car that has generated plenty of interest since it was listed for sale here on eBay. It is located in Rushford, Minnesota, and bidding has already hit $50,099. With the reserve met, a new home beckons for this Plymouth.

How many times have we seen a Road Runner appear that requires significant rust repairs? There have been plenty of them, but that isn’t the case with this car. This photo is indicative of the state of this Plymouth’s body and frame. There isn’t a spot of significant rust to be found anywhere. The Limelight paint has some marks and dings, but the vehicle could potentially be returned to the road in its current state with no problems at all. It looks like the windshield and rear window might require new seals, and it isn’t clear whether some of the glass that isn’t visible in the photos is actually missing.

One of the most distinguishing features of the A12 is the hood. This fiberglass panel features no hinges and is a lift-off item held in place with four pins. That is present on this car and appears to be in good condition. It features functional scoops that feed plenty of clean air to what hides beneath.

 

There it is! This Road Runner is a numbers-matching classic. It features the 440 Six-Pack V8, an 18-spline A833 4-speed manual transmission, and a 4.10 Dana 60 rear end. That 440 was said to pump out an “official” 390hp, although figures of 410 are considered to be more accurate. What makes this engine special is the amount of attention to detail that went into its design. The intake is an Edelbrock unit and is the first OEM item produced by the company. Bolted to that is a trio of dual-throat Holley carburetors. This whole package was designed to maintain even distribution of the air/fuel mixture to all cylinders. This helped to prevent issues with lean running. A special grind of camshaft, heavier valve springs, and chrome-stem valves made this an engine that could get up and go. It was an engine that served a purpose. That purpose was to go fast in a straight line but to remain an affordable option. The sale price of a Road Runner was $2,945. Those who chose to equip their car with a Hemi were forced to shell out an additional $830.65 for the privilege. The A12 package was all yours for a mere $462.80. That made it a pretty reasonable buy. The owner says that the engine and transmission are good in this car but that it doesn’t currently run. It looks like there might be some work involved here because I don’t see any wiring or hoses.

This car was designed for outright performance, so no consideration was given to luxury features that would have added unnecessary weight. That means that you won’t find air conditioning, power windows, or a console. What you find is an interior trimmed in the obligatory black vinyl and a bench front seat. The interior is said to be decent, but the layer of dust that is visible makes it hard to see how healthy everything is. I would start by giving everything a thorough clean. Then it will be easy to determine if anything requires replacement.

The ’69 Road Runner A12 provided exceptional “bang for your buck.” It could give a Hemi-equipped car a run for its money, but for considerably less money. Plymouth sold 84,420 examples of the Road Runner in 1969, but a mere 1,432 of these were the A12 version. That makes this a rare car, and it explains why the bidding has been intense. With the reserve now met, someone is about to become the proud owner of an extraordinary car.

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Comments

  1. Doc Member

    Not a mopar guy, but I like the rare ones like this. Mopar was serious about hi-po street cars for sure

    Like 34
    • RonGTO Member

      How do you make a offer

      • Jesse Mortensen Staff

        @RonGTO – it’s an auction and the link is right in the first page.

        Like 3
  2. Pat

    Wow, that underside looks almost new!

    Like 15
  3. Troy s

    That’s a heck of a ride. Opposite of sleeper in every way, it looked the street racing menace in every conceivable way right down to the black steelies and chrome lug nuts. Blacked out hood with a massive scoop that actually worked in big letters and numbers…440 SIX BARREL…although six pack for Dodge is what we all called them.
    High to mid thirteens, stock mind you, it only got better with work.
    I must admit, I’ve never even driven one of these six pack mopars, the very few I’ve seen and heard and the wild stories I’ve been told are all I have to go on, darnitt!!!

    Like 11
  4. 370zpp

    The term musclecar is overused and misapplied these days frequently. Often times applied to almost anything from Detroit pre 1978 with two doors. I submit, what we see here is the real deal. No stripes, no spoiler, and no nonsense.

    Like 31
    • Paolo

      You are correct to point out that “muscle car” has been used promiscuously. There were sporty performance cars that aren’t muscle cars; 1965-68 small block Mustangs for example. The original 1968-69 Roadrunner coupe with 383 is a real muscle car. The A12 6 barrel Roadrunner, however, is a step beyond a muscle car.

      Like 11
      • Rick Kirby

        Yea my ‘64 Plymouth Sport Fury 426 wasn’t, I guess, a “Muscle Car” but it won a New Mexico State championship in super stock back in 1969.

        Like 16
      • Steve R

        You guys are right, the term “muscle car” has morphed over time to include just about everything, Mustangs, Camaro’s and Firebirds were considered “pony” cars.

        Several publications such as CARS and Super Stock would refer to the upper echelon cars like 440 Six Packs, Hemi’s, COPO Camaro’s and Chevelle’s and Yenko’s as Super Cars.

        Steve R

        Like 13
      • Keith

        Really anything with a big engine and two doors is a muscle car according to a lot of the older magazines.Anyone have a idea when it was first used look at the factory backed drag cars of the early sixties. a Super Duty Catalina or a Z-11 409 Chevy were muscle cars back then.

        Like 7
    • Patrick Farmer

      The A12 Super Bee had stripes.

      Like 1
  5. Euromoto

    “… but found that their budget would stretch to a Hemi…”

    I think you meant, “would not”.

    Proofreading always improves the product 🤡

    Like 16
    • Dave

      Reminded me of an email from Richard Carpenter, who has his museum online and is a Mopar fan. He told me that they bought a new 1968 Road Runner as their family car and in parentheses, said that they couldn’t afford the Hemi. Ironic because two years later they could buy whatever they wanted.
      I had written him asking if he still had the Honda CB350 Four that he crashed on way back when. He said that he still had it, had it repaired and restored, but didn’t include the bike in the photos.

      Like 6
      • Dave

        Can’t say any more than what I did, but I’d think that a van would be the way to go when you’re playing over 300 dates per year as they were doing back in the day.

        Like 1
      • Terry Bowman

        I thought the Honda CB350 was a twin, not a four like the 750. Been a long time ago, I hope I’m right.

      • Dave

        Ray, you know way more than I do. One more tidbit…Agnes worked at the plant in Downey where they built the moon landers. She never met any of the astronauts. I would have figured Scott Carpenter to have been a natural fit because he played the guitar.

        Like 2
      • Anav8r

        Terry Bowman, there was a Honda 350 twin, the CB350T but there was also a CB350F (four cylinder) it was a 4-piper just like the CB750K. The 350 came in a semi-off road model, too, with high pipes down the left side.

        Like 1
  6. gaspumpchas

    Sure looks good in the pics. Obviously would need every square inch inspected. Like you guys said, the only purpose was to go fast. Period. Would love to rip this one thru the gears. 50 large–if you always wanted one, grab it- no one is getting any younger! Good luck and stay safe.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 7
  7. Russ Ashley

    I ordered a 1964 Sport Fury convertible 426 four speed in Jan 64 and got it around the first of March. It came with skinny tires that I could spin in most of the gears. I replaced them with mags and red line “Tiger Paws” that had a little better bite. I could out run a 64 GTO, which I did a couple of times, and I always wonder why the GTO is so often called “the first muscle car” or the car that started the muscle car craze. Mopar had fast cars in the late fifties but there is seldom mention of them in magazines. The car in this article looks exactly like a 69 RoadRunner that I bought for 16 year old my son with a 383, 4spd, and a ram air hood. He enjoyed it.

    Like 6
    • Patrick Farmer

      Marketing is the answer to your GTO question.

      Like 4
  8. Dave

    Before 1965 or so, most manufacturers made two car sizes, compact and standard. Small cars of that time weren’t designed for big engines. When intermediate cars came around (think Fairlane and Chevelle) big engines, particularly Pontiac, lent themselves to being easily installed. The story I saw on TV says that DeLorean was being shown a new 1964 Tempest that had a 326 and someone said that they could install a 389 in 30 minutes. The rest is history.

    Like 5
    • Patrick Farmer

      DeLorean was far more involved with the Tempest than some lame boss that had to be shown a new car design. Hell he probably steered the Tempest into position for bigger engines. Go to Google Patents and enter John DeLorean and see for yourself. He was an iconic, innovative, design engineer that should have the same status as Carroll Shelby. He would have if it wasn’t for the moronic, arrogant, ego driven FBI agent that thought he was going to make Section Chief from setting up and bringing down an American legend.
      John DeLorean did his best to design and build a n American sports car. Something other than the Corvette. This was a goal that he had in the 1950’s at Pontiac. He wanted to build a super fast series of cars. He had to compromise. DeLorean’s name will be remembered for 500 years because of Hollywood. The FBI agent will be remembered for as long as it will take to get his stink out of the sand hole he is living in.

      Like 5
      • gaspumpchas

        Sorry off topic, but I wonder if Delorean was behind Pontiac’s legendary Super Duty program. They used to drill out the frames to lighten up the catalina frames, called them swiss cheese cars. I heard of one racer, possibly Arnie Beswick, who took a tempest to the track, had the freight company ship the mill, trans and rear to the track and he installed everything on the ground in the pits. Great moments in time. Keep up the great commentary, I love this stuff! Stay safe and good luck!
        Cheers
        GPC

        Like 1
  9. SC/RAMBLER

    The SC as in Yenko SC stood for Super Car I believe and SC as in SC/RAMBLER my have stood for either Super coupe or Super Car I’m not sure I have heard both terms used. But now days the term is over used.

    Like 3
  10. Patrick Farmer

    This car is the real deal. The A12 code has more punch to it than Z/28. Granted Z/28 holds it own and is better known, but A12 is mysterious. It’s sound like a fighter plane. It wasn’t produced for very long. These cars were fast.as stockers and just a few changes made them a terrorist on the street and strip. This car was built to go fast and believe it or not, no scratch that, you better believe it, kiddies, these cars were daily drivers. That means to work, to church, to drop off the kids at baseball practice, (no soccer or soccer moms when this car was new) to go to the store. It was driven by women and not just after the divorce. Rent Brewster McCloud and watch Shelley Duvall drive the crap out of a 1970 Road Runner and Sally Kellerman do the same to a 401 Gremlin. Now for the big kick in the butt. Just a mere 3 years later they were just used cars in a world where ARTIFICIAL gas shortages made them unwanted. They were dirt cheap, sometimes dirt was more expensive. Many went to the crusher only to come back as Toyotas, Datsuns and dog food cans. Back then, some guys and gals said “To hell with it” and kept them for decades. This car is one of those. I say buy it to whoever has the gigabucks and wants it.

    Like 4
    • Dave

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but these were covered by the 5 year/50,000 Mike warranty, unlike the LO23 Hemi Darts, which had no warranty.

      Like 2
      • Phil D

        That’s correct, Dave. The 440-6 cars got the same 5/50000 powertrain warranty as every other “regular” Chrysler offering.

        The street Hemi cars dropped from 5/50 to 90 days or 4000 miles. Even though they weren’t offered as a true race car, the factory knew that they’d acquire many of those 4000 miles an eighth or a quarter mile at a time.

        The purpose built drag cars from both Plymouth and Dodge had no warranty coverage at all.

        Like 2
  11. Roy Blankenship

    The fastest car in our community was one of these with a Ray Christian Torqueflite and converter with a reverse manual valve body. Ray Christian was a Super Stock racer who was legendary for his Torqueflites and his 6 cylinder Honda Bonneville exploits, but if you met him, he looked like Uncle Fester and loved to tell racing stories while leaning on the coal stove in his shop until his coat was smoking. A savant for sure. This car is a find for sure, the ’68-70 B bodies had a crap drainage system for the rear quarters that would clog and they would rust away. Chrysler had to give up leases on their tooling to get government loans in the late 70’s, so when I was trying to restore a ’68 GTX in the late 80’s, NO ONE had quarter panels. I was scouring bone yards but it was the same scenario, I saw 3 ’68 GTX’s in one day that were all rusted into the ground. I ended up buying a quarter panel out of AZ for the driver’s side and piece of a 4 door quarter panel for the passenger side. To see this car in this condition is just awesome, but now I am too old.

    Like 4
    • Patrick Farmer

      Brother you are never to old. So stop that sh%t. Go and buy a Hellcat and become a local legend by being the fastest grandpa around. Maybe they will write a song about you. You are a lifer when comes to hot rodding. Go fast until you drop dead. There is a joke and it goes like this. May I die in my sleep like my Grandpa did, not kicking and screaming like the three guys riding with him in his GTX.

      NEVER TO OLD.

      Like 3
  12. zipy

    Nor a Mopar guy but very quious about the picture of the rear axle and the under carriage. Were the under carriages painted that nice?

  13. John

    Did everyone but me get a picture of the motor? Did anyone else notice that there is no drive shaft? This looks a lot like a Street/Stock dragster is being returned to Uber duty. I rode in one of these once. That was almost 50 years ago. I still remember it.

    • Patrick Farmer

      It was a striped down engine with tall single plane gas funnel intake on it, just sitting there like a lump.
      Orange in color, no wires, hoses, belts or accessories. It had valve covers on it painted to match. It was about 10 hours away from being put together assuming that all the parts were there.

  14. Phil D

    To the author: That color is not Limelight. Limelight was the original non-metallic light green in the 1970 High Impact color palate. This is a ’69, and Limelight was not available (the only one of the ’70 High Impact colors that appeared early, in the spring of ’69 along with Bahama Yellow/Butterscotch and a bright green metallic for which I can’t remember either name, was Tor Red/Hemi Orange.

    The color on this car (a truly unfortunate choice, in my opinion, but I don’t care much for green cars) is the regular darker green like Grandma might have ordered on her Valiant sedan.

    Like 1
    • Russ Ashley

      Phil, it seems that most of the cars with this option that I’ve seen at shows was this color. This was a popular color on Mopar’s of this time frame. It’s the same color as the 69 Road Runner that I bought for my son.

    • Gus Fring

      Sorry buddy…you are totally wrong, lol. You should actually learn about Mopars before you scold others.

      http://paintref.com/cgi-bin/colorcodedisplay.cgi?type=paint&paint=11926&dtcode=DT7561&smodel=Plymouth&syear=1969&smanuf=Chrysler&sname=Limelight

      • Roy Blankenship

        Do we have a moderator on this site? I was under the impression personal attacks were not allowed.

        Like 1
      • Phil D

        Mr. Fring, I respectfully suggest that you spend more time in a good search engine before criticizing others. Yes, that’s what your source says, but it just so happens that it’s wrong.

        On my very first attempt at searching “plymouth limelight”, Bing found the correct color: https://www.bing.com/search?q=plymouth+limelight&form=QBLH&sp=-1&pq=plymouth+limelight&sc=1-18&qs=n&sk=&cvid=6752CE9043B94F74B1631C675F1E1724

        I mis-spent many hundreds of hours of my youth in my dad’s Chrysler-Plymouth dealership, combing over data books and color and trim manuals, committing information to memory, so I do happen to know a few things about muscle car-era Mopars. I guess, in hindsight, I was preparing myself for internet fools that, years later, would think that they knew it all, and to pick nits while watching Graveyard Carz.

        Like 1
      • Paolo

        Gentlemen,

        I have good news, you are both right! Or you are both wrong, take your pick. Conducting my own extensive research into the subject by examining paint chip charts from multiple manufactures and the fender tag of this green A12 reveals the following information.
        The fender tag of this 1969 A12 is stamped with paint code F5. In 1969 F5 was a corporate wide paint code known by different names. Plymouth called it “Lime Light Poly”. Dodge was “Medium Green Poly” Chrysler, “Avocado Poly” AND “Medium Green Poly”.
        In 1970 Chrysler Corporation eliminated F5 from the entire corporate palette. 1970 introduced the world to the “High Impact Colors. Among these was a very bright green with the paint code J5. For Plymouth J5 is named “Lime Light.” For Dodge it is called “Sublime.” No one would ever confuse F5 and J5 seeing them side by side.
        In order too further confuse us Chrysler introduced a new corporate wide green paint code in 1970 known as F4. Plymouth, Chrysler and Imperial called it “Lime Green Metallic. Dodge named it “Light Green Metallic”. F4 is lighter than F5.
        Chrysler invested heavily in their Green vision of the automotive world. How many different shades of green? Almost too many to contemplate at once and I hear that cultural anthropologists continue to find new variations.

        Gentlemen, I’m sure that you are chagrined to realize that while you were squabbling like two hungry seagulls over a discarded green chicken wing, the reality is that the “Chicken” is not only alive, resplendent in multiple, vivid shades of green plumage but is very hungry and licking its green chicken lips anticipating a tasty snack of a couple of seagulls if they don’t settle down and be nice.

        Like 1
  15. Duwane McKnight

    And scopes to cool the rear brakes (only if they were connected with ducts which many owners did)

    • Gus Fring

      No, they didn’t, lol…those were fake and only came on the Super Bees as an option.

      • Duwane McKnight

        Hey Guys Firing I aware the RR with the a-12 option package didn’t come with scopes I was replying to the comment someone made that the super bee a-12 car with stripes as all bee’s did and I added that they came with rear quarter panel scopes as part of the a-12 package so was it ok that I added that in Gus Firing I guess I could have been more descriptive I just figured the stripes and scopes would be known I wasn’t referring to a road runner a-12 and was referring to the bee

        Like 1
  16. Stoney End

    Nice ride. A very real street supercar.

    I had a few Mopars back in the day…including 68 RR. They were BIG cars (seats 6, if not big people) and not great around the curves. The 4 speed was fun but not a great shifting trans/shifter…a good TF was often better on the street for many folks and occasions. This is not a knock, just an opinion for those who may not have been there back then.

    I’d like to drive it some but probably not own it now, except as a cruiser car. (Despite the color) someone will be very happy to get it :-)

    Like 1
  17. Terry Bowman

    Just my two cents; In a response to Paolo about confusing of the Mopar colors. I have a R4 Bright Red Dodge Dart (that is what they call it), but the color looks more like a “reddish- orange”, instead of the “Bright Red” they call it. I learned a long time ago that works can be spoken and meant to mean anything that the spokes person wants it to be. I always say, “I would rather have green weeds, then brown grass”.

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