Real Hemi Survivor! 1968 Plymouth Road Runner

The phrase “Original Hemi'” could sell just about anything. Original Hemi’ Clothes Washer! Folks won’t even ask how many loads it’s run. Original Hemi’ Rototiller! Yeah, buddy. This original Hemi’ 1968 Plymouth Road Runner in Brooksville, Florida comes to market here on eBay where the seller describes a never-restored 111,303 mile factory Hemi’ original down to the 15″ steel wheels. A 1999 appraiser’s letter (shown in part below) says as much to boot. The three-owner Plymouth is described as a turn-key driver that deviates from its original equipment only in maintenance items such as tires, battery, etc. Amazing! At least three bidders have elevated this Road Runner’s value beyond the $55,000 opening bid. Despite eBay’s global audience, the lack of documentation and details renders this auction a glorified Florida newspaper ad. Curious buyers will scale these barriers and more to bag a Mopar Hemi’.

Many enthusiasts know the details of Chrysler corporation’s mighty 426 cid (7.0L) V8 with hemispherical combustion chambers. Born to propel racing cars both in straight lines and ovals, the mighty Elephant Hemi’ was barely tamed for street use in 1966. Notoriously under-rated, the 426 made 425 HP on paper, and factory tires didn’t stand a chance against the tectonic 490 lb-ft of torque. This engine picture differs from the others in resolution, making discerning would-be buyers wonder if it was taken some (months? years?) ago. Some sellers might feel funny listing a Hemi’ car with only eight pictures, but the listing does include 13 pictures of other cars… for reasons known only to the seller. Against eBay policy, the auction lists a phone number for contact. All that could be chalked up to private ownership by an amateur seller, and should barely tarnish genuine interest in this storied Plymouth. Thanks to Hemmings for some details.

As Plymouth’s entry in the cheap speed market, the Road Runner came with rubber floor mats and basic options, but engine options began with the stout 383 and went up from there, ending with this car’s 426 Hemi’ on top. This specimen punctuates the budget speed approach with manual brakes and manual steering, column-shifted three-speed automatic, and bench seats. Give credit to the owners for driving this survivor, because more than half its miles have been added since the 1999 appraisal.

Clean and no-nonsense, the Road Runner’s minimal trim and this car’s steel wheels are all business. Mudflaps wisely protect that factory paint, something earnest buyers will be anxious to examine in detail. Usually, you hope a “20 footer” looks as good up close as from a distance. In this case, you might be relieved to see flaws up close that substantiate the never-restored claim.

Serious buyers will simply request an updated version of this letter to place a high bid. Hemi’ car values took a nosedive during the 2007-2008 economic downturn, but it’s hard to keep an original 426 car down. If you’re buying the legend of Mopar Muscle, you’ve got to have a Hemi. Do you think Hemi cars have passed their peak?

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Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    I had a ’71 Corolla with a 1600 Hemi in it –
    does that count?

    Like 21
    • alphasud Member

      Well…. I guess if you broke down the Hemi’s horsepower by liter it gives you 60.7 gross per liter. So if your Corolla made at least 97 gross HP then yes!
      Let’s say the Hemi is worth 100K for arguments sake. Based on your little Hemi the Corolla is worth $22,857 if it’s in the same condition. One can dream right?

      Like 8
      • Travis Saffery

        Sounds about right! That’s pretty much what a mint 71 Corrolla would go for. Maybe little less

        Like 2
      • BIG STU

        Best known as a 2TC had factory Pistons with what looked like a egg on top. The 3 TC was 1800 CC and the pistons were domed in it too but looked like SB Chevy Pop Tops. The head was a direct copy of a Chrysler Hemi Head— I raced both of those motors in Dirt Track 4 cylinder Modified cars— We called them mini Hemis

        Like 1
    • Nick

      Well it may or may not count. Using the respective manufacturers stated power numbers it looks like this.
      That 2TC (1600cc) in the Corolla made 55hp per litre. The 426 HEMI (6965cc) in the Road Runner made 61hp per litre. Pretty close though the 426 power could ramp up sharply with a good tune up and headers, though, they made plenty of hot rod parts for the 2TC back in the day also. On snow or a dirt road the win would probably go to the (hot) Corolla.

      Like 4
      • Dickie F.

        My ex-works 1976 Corolla was built by the Toyota factory for offroad rallying. By the time I bought it, it had lost the factory raciing 2 litre and had the 2TC 1600 fitted with gas flowed head, hot cam and side draught Webers.
        It must have been pumping 150 hp at 8000rpm.
        It was not reliable thou and often blew the bottom end.
        But on the dirt road could easily achieve 120 mph.

        Like 1
    • Dave

      The engine in my 2016 Jeep Patriot is even more exotic…four valves per cylinder, double overhead cams, dual variable valve timing. 175 hp from 2.4 liters. It’s like a big Hayabusa motor!

      Like 2
    • al

      Nice BUT no 4sp. I don’t care WHAT these muscle cars have under the hood, to me, it’s what’s under the hump that counts. If I want to cruise down main st in 2nd gear & hear that purr, I can. I know I know, I’ve had a couple muscle cars back in the day even w/ the Fairbanks full on trans or B&M’s, just was NOT the same! I always donate to multiple classic raffles I find online w/ LIMITED number tix, otherwise may as well buy a Powerball, same odds. But I always pass on the ones with the automatics. I don’t mind the exercise w/ a stick. And with the Tremec TKO’s out there over the M-22’s, its an ear to ear smile!

      Like 3
    • Li chang

      The Corolla lasts longer…

      • Bob Aubertin

        Compared to what other rice burner?

        Like 2
    • ADM

      I has a 1980, with the 1800…..before it was stolen.

  2. Tooyoung4heyday Member

    Sadly no 😄. While the prices aren’t in the stratosphere for Hemi cars anymore they still pull strong prices. Not so sure the column shift would affect this cars price much. I know that many people despise yellow cars but I always liked these ’68’s in this color. I actually built my AMT 68 Hemi Runner in this color as a kid, just had the better looking magnum wheels. As stated in article glad to see it was actually driven as they’re all supposed to be. None of these cars deserve to just sit. Put a smile 😁 on your face and grab the keys!

    Like 16
  3. Tooyoung4heyday Member

    In addition the article questions the extra car pictures. Just an assumption but I’m guessing those are the possible next cars to be sold by seller in future that they described in this cars description. Not a bad little collection, some interesting rides coming up for sale, maybe….

    Like 1
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      I was curious about those extra pictures too, and he does mention in the ad that they may have other cars of interest.

      So, free advertising is pretty smart.

      Like 3
  4. Deano

    I can’t believe anyone would order this prestine RR with an automatic transmission

    Like 3
    • JohnfromSC

      They were ordered with the 727 auto because they were faster than the 4 speed in the quarter mile.

      Like 18
  5. gbvette62

    Back in the 70’s and 80’s, there was a nearly identical 68 Hemi Road Runner two door post, that ran around the Atco/Berlin area of South Jersey. Like this car, it was yellow with a black bench seat interior, dog dish caps on steel wheels, and I think a column shift automatic (it’s been 30+ years since I last saw it, and my memory’s not what it once was). It was well known, as was the old couple who owned it, as the husband was quite nasty whenever anyone approached them about the car. According to a friend, who owned the local auto parts store and knew him, he was fed up with people always asking if the car was for sale. I always wondered what became of the car, though I don’t think this is it, because by the 80’s it was pretty beat up and tired looking.

    Like 3
    • William

      Why would an old grumpy guy buy a ratty hemi? Not practical, rough running, drinks gas like a camel drinks water preparing for a long desert hike. Are sure it was a hemi? More likely a six with a bad muffler that got a false reputation. They were posts with dog dish hub caps, too.

      • gbvette62

        This was a Hemi Road Runner, not a slant 6 Belvedere. It had the Road Runner hood with the “Hemi” emblems, Road Runner emblems and dual exhaust w/OEM tips. I was a 20 year old car crazy “kid” in 74, and knew the difference between a Belvedere and a Road Runner, and a Hemi from a 6. The car was well known, and the owner got grumpy when people bothered him about the car. For I know, he might have been a real sweetheart the rest of the time?

        Why he chose a Hemi, who knows. Gas was cheap in the 70’s, even premium. Today car makers decide what engine and equipment we buy, but back then you could get just about any engine/trans combination, in just about any body style, and with any amount of options you wanted.

        Like 8
      • Dave

        You gotta remember the times. This car was nothing special to the dealer and may have been on the lot for several months before Mr. Grumpy came in looking to trade up. 5 year, 50,000 mile warranty, plus good money for his trade, equaled an offer he couldn’t refuse. Grumps gets a new car, dealer gets rid of a slow seller, win-win.

        Like 5
      • stillrunners stillrunners Member

        Maybe it was a family member’s car he got and he just needed a car to drive – not sell……..

    • J_Paul Member

      As someone who grew up in South Jersey, just the mention of Atco got me nostalgic for going to the Speedway to watch the races…though I suspect I’m more in the 80s-90s timeframe. Thanks for that!

      Like 3
      • gbvette62

        Atco Dragway is still here, at least for a little while longer. Insurance Auto Auctions (a wreck and salvage auto auction company) has supposedly made a deal to buy it, pending approval to change the track’s current zoning. The same company turned the Englishtown track into a salvage auction a couple years ago. Some local residents are thrilled that they won’t be dealing with the noise anymore, while others realize the prospect of trucks hauling junk cars up and down Jackson Rd 7 days a week, may not be an improvement.

        I live about 5 miles east of the track. I don’t get to Atco often, I’m more of a road racing fan, but I’d hate to see it close, it’s been here for 60 years!

        Like 6
  6. T

    But it’s………yellow.

    • Dave

      So is my motorcycle. That way, when they say “I didn’t see you” after the accident you have a case for permanent revocation of their license.

      Like 1
    • DON

      I dont mind yellow ,but this one looks like a deeper shade of yellow than the original Sunfire yellow, which is very pale. Maybe its just the camera , but I’d want to check it out .

  7. Luke Fitzgerald

    Strange ad – like someone’s told someone to post it – which it probably is. More shots of the car be better than the next on the block.

  8. Steve R

    This is a pet peeve, but an indication corners were cut on this car. The dog dish hubcaps are later model aluminum versions rather than one of two versions that came on 1968 Plymouth’s. Both of those were embossed, the ones on this car aren’t. All three styles are readily available, it’s just that either of the 68 versions start around $150 for a set, while the ones on the car can be had for as little as $40 a set.

    Steve R

    Like 4
    • DON

      $150 a set ? Wow, I guess I’ll have to dig in my dads garage, I have at least two sets of them in there that I took off Roadrunners back in the 1980s !

      Like 3
  9. George Mattar

    Amazing it has survived. We used to buy these cars in high school for $1,500 or so. By 1975, most were rotted out from winter driving. They were just used cars back then. I had a B5 Blue 68 that ran great. Door handle fell off. It ate gas like Rosie O’Donnell and the tops of the front seat covers dried out and ripped. I gave it to my brother in 1980 and some stupud woman driver t boned the car. Total loss. Sent to a New York state junkyard that is long closed. But compared to today’s junk Hemi engines with camshaft problems, these engines were very reliable.

    Like 1
    • triumph1954

      George Mattar. Today’s junk Hemi engines with camshaft problems?

      Like 1
  10. Doc Member

    68’s engines options were only 2. 383 with 440 heads and a hemi. These RR were bare bones cars, rubber floor mats, bench seats and column shifter were cheaper to produce. The cars weren’t for luxury they were made to rule the streets and strip

    Like 4
  11. John

    In ’71, working at a Dodge dealership the used car manager approached me with a bare bones RR taken in trade, hemi, 4 sp. Dana 60 with 383 callous on the hood. Offered it to me for trade in value-$800, I passed ’cause I was into little sports cars. Just shoot me now

    Like 3
    • Dave

      When I was going to school in Columbus I became friends with a couple of cops that worked the east end. After the Arab oil embargo apartment parking lots became dumping grounds for gas guzzling muscle cars. The city would tow them and auction them off. I passed on a 68 RR and a Charger for one simple reason: I’d have to get them home to Pittsburgh and my father was loathe to have his home turned into a car lot! Knowing what we know now, storing them at the Butler County Mushroom Mine would have been a great investment.

  12. William Cockayne Member

    I bought one off a neighbor back in 1980 or 1981 for $60. Rotbox but it ran and drove. Ended using it for a demo derby car and left it there for the junkyard. If only we had known but back then big blocks, hemis, 409s, etc. were unwanted and cheap. Destroyed quite a few I admit.

  13. gaspumpchas

    At the risk of beating a dead horse, The ‘New ” Hemi isnt really a Hemi at all; the combustion chamber is wedge shaped. To those who go around saying “duh yup its a hemi” dont know what they are talking about. Ask the majority of people thst claim they have a “roller” engine and I bet they cant tell you what that means. Ahhh the power of Hype and advertising. My ’03 civic was a hemi. Go figure. Call it what you will. It just gets me how gullible people are!
    Good luck and stay safe.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 3
    • Dave

      I once owned a 1988 Taurus with the 3 liter V6. For a standard engine in a family car, it had some exotic stuff…windage tray, roller rockers, roller lifters. My Sportster has roller lifters but not rockers.

      Like 1
  14. Charles Sawka

    As to the Hemi and future market . Who knows what’s happening these days. Young guys can just sign on the line and finance a 700 hp. Hellcat. I don’t care how nice or how powerful your old Road Runner or Charger is.There is no substitute for cubic dollars and modern high tech tuning. I’m old and I don’t like it either, but I have accepted it. Once you reach a certain point, you can’t go back. The young guys today are into a whole different point of view.

    Like 1
    • William

      A young guy financing a 75 grand car? I don’t see it, unless he is a doctor or something. In our day, kids who pumped gas could afford new muscle cars, now a days, can you see some kid who flips burgers do that? My guess is that the number of people who actually finance a Hellcat to be quite small. Old guys with cash buy those, at least that is my opinion. Besides, a young guy willing to put out half the cost of a nice house for a car these days is pretty small. They want high end phones or a kick as* computer set up, all of that stuff is just a fraction of a new car. Besides, modern day economics are pretty cruel for young people, new cars are not on the radar at all.

      Like 3
      • Steve R

        You need to get out more. There are plenty of young people that have newer factory Muscle Cars, Jeeps, 4×4’s BMW’s and more, none of them are inexpensive, they are getting them financed somewhere.

        Steve R

        Like 2
  15. Troy s

    That’s actually a lot of miles for a 426 Hemi, quite possibly the most notorious engine ever created. I wonder if the original owner had any fun with it,,, or if he could be found bent over the engine bay, fiddling about…all the time.
    Great find.

    Like 1
  16. Tim Wells

    I purchased one similar to this in October of 1967. Mine was the base model with the 383, 4 on the floor, limited slip rear end and no power brakes or steering. The only optional equipment I got was a radio and full wheel cover hub caps. Mine was yellow like the one pictured and the guy that commented on the color looking a little dark is right, however as a photographer I can tell you that all the pictures look a little dark overall so it could very well be original paint. I wanted the Hemi and it was only $600.00 more but it didn’t have the 5yr/50,000mi warranty and being under 25 yrs old I couldn’t get it insured. Just as well since I got three tickets in less than a year so the yellow bird had to go. But it was fun while it lasted.

    Like 1
  17. Chuck Member

    I have a 68 RR, Sunfire Yellow, Green interior, 383 4speed, with 110 k original miles, drum brakes and power steering. I bought it in 1970 and have repainted it and redid the interior back to original in 1997. I love it, I would have a hard time parting with it.

  18. Tooyoung4heyday Member

    There are tons of younger people out there with $50,000+ vehicles. My thoughts are many on how they pull this off. Part of it is they don’t bail when they turn 18, they live at home to 20 who knows what so if you aren’t paying a mortgage you can afford a really nice vehicle. Another way is maybe through their parents buying it for them. Even if it’s only partial payment. Or if they’re real stupid they load up a credit card or two to pay for it. When I was 21 I was still at home and made a different choice. Either pay for one nice thing or the alternate. At 20 I bought a brand new Harley which I still own 17 years later. Then the following year purchased a lightly used truck. Between the two I was paying just over $600 a month and I was only making $12.50/hr back then. Still own that truck too, gets driven almost as much as my 2017. I uh, I get attached to the vehicles I own. Too many stories about “I never should’ve gotten rid of that” or “gee I wish I still had that one”. To each their own I guess….

    Like 1
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      If someone wants something bad enough, they’ll find a way to get it, doesn’t matter how old you are.
      Kids graduating out of college can land good paying jobs, a guy/gall who desides to go into the trades right now can also do very well. There are also plenty of leasing programs and 7 – 8 year car loans now, too.
      Plus, there are plenty of 1 – 2 year old super muscle cars on the market, traded in for that sensible loaded F-150 after the mid-life crisis is over.

      Like 1

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