Unfinished Project: 1969 Plymouth Satellite Hardtop

As the 1960s were drawing to a close, insurance companies were beginning to develop a certain level of twitchiness towards the high-performance models produced by vehicle manufacturers. This led to a couple of different scenarios. The first of these was that certain manufacturers began to get somewhat “frugal” with the truth when it came to the true power outputs of their engines. It also saw some canny buyers order lesser models of some vehicles, and then furiously tick the boxes on the order sheet to produce something roughly approximating those performance or muscle cars. This way, they managed to achieve a nice balance between impressive performance and affordable insurance premiums. I’m not saying that this is the story behind this 1969 Plymouth Satellite, but it could potentially be somewhere close to the truth. This car does represent an unfinished restoration project, but it is a complete car that is just waiting for somebody to step in and return it to its former glory. It is located in Ashland, Wisconsin, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has now reached $7,300, and with the reserve having been met, the Plymouth is ready to head to a new home.

The Satellite must have been quite a car when new. It originally wore Performance Red paint, and you can see evidence of this in various areas around the vehicle. Interestingly, the vehicle was ordered with the “Spring Special” pack, which brought with it a number of cosmetic enhancements, including front and rear bumper guards, deluxe 14″ wheel covers, and a Pearlescent White vinyl top. The panels now wear grey primer, but they do look to be nice and straight. There is also no evidence of any rust issues, and while we only get the single shot of the vehicle’s underside, the steel looks to be both solid, and original. There are a couple of photos of the inside of the trunk, and once again, the steel looks to be solid and original. The owner says that the car is complete, and there is evidence in the photos that all of the trim and chrome is not only present but is in good condition. The Plymouth also was originally fitted with tinted glass all around, and what we can see of it now looks to be free of any major flaws.

The owner says that this is a Satellite that was ordered like a Road Runner, and this is probably relatively accurate…up to a certain point. This also takes me back to my earlier point about upgrading lower-spec cars to approximate more potent models. There were a number of engines available to buyers in the 1969 Satellite range, but the original owner chose to equip this particular one with the 383ci V8. The owner supplies photos of some of the original documentation, and this shows some contradictions with regards to which version of the 383 was actually ordered. With this in mind, I decoded the fender tag and can tell you that it was the 2-Barrel version, producing 290hp. Now, that sort of power isn’t to be sneezed at, but it is well short of the 330 pumped out by the 4-Barrel version, or the 335hp in the Road Runner. Still, I’d be willing to bet that this Satellite also cost a lot less to insure than a real Road Runner back in 1969. The 383 is backed by a heavy-duty TorqueFlite transmission, while power steering was also part of the package. This is a numbers-matching car, but as you can see, the 383 has been completely dismantled. However, this isn’t bad news. The block has been machined and is ready to be cleaned and assembled. With the shiny new forged Keith Black pistons that are waiting to be fitted, this has the potential to be a potent classic once again, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up producing a few more ponies into the bargain. As part of the restoration process, it also appears that the engine bay has been completely stripped and refinished, so once the engine has been assembled and detailed, things should look very nice under the hood.

One aspect of the Plymouth that will need the attention of the next owner, will be the interior. Originally trimmed in a combination of White and Black with a bench front seat, time has not been kind to it. I can’t see any signs of replacement pieces amongst the photos of the included parts, so it would appear that a full trim kit is going to be on the shopping list. However, all of the major pieces such as the seat frames are present, so returning the interior to its former glory should be a fairly straightforward job. The original radio is still in the dash, while I can see some of the air conditioning components peeking through the pile of parts.

While it is currently in a dismantled state, it appears that this 1969 Plymouth Satellite is a complete and numbers-matching car that is an unfinished project. It might not have quite the cachet of a Road Runner, but it will still be a potent and pretty attractive car once the restoration has been complete. When I look at the car and the potential that it has, I can fully understand why there have been 38 bids submitted on it up to this point. The question is, are you going to be the person to submit bid 39?

Fast Finds


  1. Gaspumpchas

    Shore looks purty in dat grey primer, could be hiding a multititude of sins, and it may have been done well, by the looks of the trunk, could be solid. The few pics of the underside look solid. the 383 auto would be a nice package, nicer would be a 4 speed conversion, IMHO. Look it over good and good luck. Stay safe!

    Like 7
  2. Arthell64 Member

    I would much rather have this car than the roached out 69 charger posted a few days ago. Looks like a car that wouldn’t be to hard to finish.

    Like 4
  3. Johnny

    Who ever buys it. I hope they look it over really good . In person. I had pictures sent to me of a nice dark green shiney 65 Mustang. When I got their–it looked nice standing up looking at it. Under neith it was all rusted out. From what I seen of this one and the parts–I,m assuming the guy is telling the truth,but look it over personally. I like what I SEE–BUT LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING. A PRETTY WOMAN TAUGHT ME THAT.Good luck to who every does get it.

    Like 3
  4. Joseph

    If you bought this car and poured a whole bunch of money into it fixing it up you would have an old hard top car that would not be worth what you have in it. The 383 here is not a Road Runner engine, no 440 heads, not 4brl carb and not the right cam. Even if you re-badged it as a RR, the serial number would always indicate it is not a real RR.

    Like 1
  5. TimM

    Any car sitting in primer is a dead give a way that the body work has been done!! Simply bring your magnet and look in all the places known for rust!! If the rust was cut out and metal welded in even with a skim coat of bondo the magnet will stick!! If it’s thick no bueno!!!!!

    Like 3
  6. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $8,322 after 43 bids.

    Like 1
  7. Gerald Ramey Jr

    I have a question that I hope someone out there can help me with. I am building a model kit of a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner. I am building it to look like the one Gary Lockwood drove in the movie :Bad Georgia Road.” In the scene where Gary’s character, Leroy Hastings, is leaving to made a delivery, 8 racing decals can be seen on the upper part of his inside door panel.
    I have identified 5 of them, but 2 of them has me stumped. The decals are: Eelco Accessories, Division 2 Buster’s Rebels (I think), Fram, McLeod, don’t know-can’t make it out, B&M, Mallory, and finally Hooker Headers.
    That 5th one has me stumped. If anyone knows what it is, I’d greatly appreciate the help. It’s the scene right before Carol Lynley’s character, Molly, decides she’s going on the delivery with Leroy. I’ve been watching the DVD and it is posted on YouTube.

  8. Duke

    We took a chance driving 1500 miles to get this car and we don’t regret a second of it. This car is everything the seller said it was. We bought the car and the car is solid. We are putting it back to stock on the body and now it has a 440 we put the factory 383 in a box. my girl will be driving this one in which i drive 1968 roadrunner 440 4 speed . the car we race is a 1966 satellite with a 512 cu. 11.25 at 119.92 the colors of our cars are red,white,and blue . proud to have this in my garage. she is all about it and helps me with it all the time. she just learn how to drive the 4 speed roadrunner she is looking forward to the 1969 satellite.

    Like 1
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Congrats, Duke.
      Thanks for sharing the story.

  9. Duke

    The car is running now and is in the body shop. Karpenko kustomz in Ipswich Ma. Got the complete interior and the white vinyl top and all the ac parts also. looking forward to driving it in the near future or she is !!!

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