Ever have one of those moments when you find a rare classic with a price that seems too good to be true? The ‘coolest of the cool’ that’s survived almost 50 years of vehicle downsizing, fuel thirsty gearheads and stoplight fisticuffs? Well, you don’t have to worry about getting pinched back to reality this time because this killer Plymouth Road Runner is a first class showpiece that’s ready for the strip or the tarmac! A highly exclusive aero car that features an original 440/4-speed powertrain, this ‘bird wears original sheetmetal under a correct white on black color combination. And if you’re shopping for a bad to the bone investment that’s fun to look at, a blast to drive and ready to hit the show circuit, it’s the classic of your dreams!
Before we start this Mopar’s detailed description, here’s a look at how it rolled down Chrysler’s Lynch Road assembly line:
* -- R: Plymouth Belvedere/Satellite
* -- M: Medium / Road Runner
* -- 23: 2-door hardtop
* -- U: 440 cubic inch V8 that utilizes one 4-barrel carburetor to produce 375 horsepower
* -- 0: 1970 model year
* -- A: Produced at Chrysler’s Lynch Road manufacturing facility
* 179782: Assembly sequence number
* E86: 440 cubic inch V8 that utilizes one 4-barrel carburetor to produce 375 horsepower
* D21: 4-speed manual transmission
* EW1: Alpine White exterior paint
* -- H: High trim grade
* -- 2: Vinyl bench seats
* -- X9: Black interior
* TX9: Black door frames
* B30: Assembled on November 30th, 1969
* J97815: Order number
* V19: Special order full vinyl roof
* V88: Transverse stripe delete
* 26: 26-inch radiator
Throughout the ‘60s, Chrysler and Ford were heavily vested in the “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” sales mentality. And Dodge’s Charger 500, despite its NASCAR-inspired tweaks, just wasn’t getting the job done. In an attempt to one up Ford’s slick and equally fast Torino, Chrysler went to the drawing board and began exploring aerodynamics. While aerodynamics wasn’t a new concept, it had yet to be seriously studied by major auto manufacturers. And Chrysler’s foray into the subject eventually culminated in testing full scale models at Lockheed Martin''s North Carolina wind tunnel. Engineers quickly realized the benefits of a wind-cutting nose, but the real epiphany came when they employed a large rear stabilizer. Not only did that ‘rocket nose’ and ‘park bench’ spoiler combination create ‘zero lift’ downforce, it also produced immense directional stability, permitting speeds in excess of 200 MPH. Not surprisingly, Dodge’s storied Daytona won the first race it competed in, and would eventually become one of the most successful NASCAR stock cars of all time. And Plymouth, looking to lure NASCAR star Richard Petty back into the fold, followed Dodge’s impressive Daytona with the equally slippery, and some say better, Road Runner Superbird.
This slick coupe’s high quality, frame-off restoration began with a full array of original, rust-free sheetmetal. Take one look down that slab-sided metal and you’ll see straight and clean panels that are finessed far past anything from Lynch Road assembly. Pull those panels into the sunlight and their correct Alpine White two-stage accurately reproduces Chrysler’s crisp, planar lines. Step up close to those lines and you’ll find even gaps that are devoid of any sloppy patches or second-rate finishing work. And, ultimately, it all boils down to one very impressive pavement pounder that inspires comments and elicits stares every time it hits the road!
That said, as you step back and stare at this ‘bird’s sinuous body, many adjectives come to mind. Wicked… Astonishing… Dreadful… Infamous… But, in reality, Chrysler spent a lot of R&D time making sure their winged warriors fit one specific descriptor: functional. Every piece of this Road Runner was whittled to maximum efficiency in pursuit of one goal: lapping large race tracks at a very high rate of speed. At the front of the car, a downforce producing nose hangs sleek, flip up headlights between a small grille, standard hood pins, hidden parking lamps and a body-matched chin spoiler. Behind that nose, drag reducing air extractors lead the eye to clean glass and a show worthy combination of straight stainless trim and pliable black vinyl. At the sides of those extractors, prominent fender lines and Superbird-specific C-pillars frame bright marker lights, a correct Chrysler mirror and familiar door handles. And at the back of the car, a Superbird-specific wing rides above a small “road runner” emblem, clear tail lights, a prominent “P L Y M O U T H” script, bright exhaust tips and a thick chrome bumper.
Hoist the car’s long hood and you’ll find an original, 440 cubic inch Super Commando V8 that’s authenticated by a 2536430 casting number, a February (2) 28th (28) of 1969 (69) casting date and a matching 179782 partial VIN. At the top of that 375 horsepower monster, a big, 4-barrel carburetor rides within a beefy, Organisol-coated air cleaner. At the base of that carburetor, a correct Chrysler intake hangs between correct heads and traditional, stamped steel valve covers. At the front of those valve covers, a reliable points distributor shoots spark through Chrysler Electronic Suppression wires. And at the sides of that distributor, fully restored exhaust manifolds funnel spent gases into great sounding, true-dual tail pipes. Aesthetically, this Plymouth’s clean white engine bay is exceptionally impressive from its fresh brake booster and correct power steering pump all the way to its big Chrysler radiator and reproduction red cap battery. And a great combination of new and replacement parts make the car’s operation both fun and reliable; with items like pliable hoses, a correct washer tank and a purple Road Runner horn ensuring miles of safe travel.
Throw this B-Body on a lift and you’ll find a fully sorted undercarriage that’s completely restored to factory-correct standards. A clean layer of primer protects weather-free floors that, while exceedingly nice, certainly aren’t a stranger to the blacktop. Behind the Super Commando mill, an original A833 4-speed, which wears a matching 179782 partial VIN, provides solid, poignant shifts. That tough transmission sends power to a correct Dana 60 rear end, which spins a proven Sure Grip differential around correct, 3.54 gears. At the front of the car, Chrysler’s beefy Hemi suspension utilizes an A12 sway bar and standard power steering to make quick work of big bumps and tight curves. At the back of the car, that same Hemi suspension hangs correctly staggered springs at the sides of a leak-free stainless fuel tank. Stops come courtesy of standard power front disc and rear drum brakes. Exhaust flows through aluminized tubes that bend around an H-shaped crossover, traditional turbo mufflers and correct stainless tips. And all this Mopar goodness rolls on prerequisite Rallye wheels, which twist 255/60R15 Cooper Cobra radials around subdued center caps and bright stainless rings.
Inside this famous Plymouth, a factory-correct interior is clean, well-optioned and surprisingly stylish. Seating, an ultra-rare all-bench set up, displays no significant signs of wear. In front of those benches, a straight, crack-free dash hangs original factory gauges beside a familiar Chrysler Solid State. At the bottom of that dash, well-maintained carpet centers a Hurst Pistol Grip shifter between rubber Road Runner floor mats. At the sides of that carpet, fresh door panels carry the seat’s silver stripe motif around black frames, dent-free stainless and traditional chrome hardware. Above those panels, old school shoulder belts frame a tight, black headliner. In front of the driver, a monochromatic steering wheel spins a silver horn ring around a cool Road Runner centerpiece. And behind the passengers, a cavernous trunk features a plaid mat, dual decklid decals, a full-size spare tire and a correct jack.
The sale of this special Road Runner includes factory manuals and vintage marketing materials.
A poster child for the golden era of Detroit, the Plymouth Superbird stands head and shoulders above nearly every classic in terms of looks, exclusivity and performance. Few cars are as popular as they are polarizing, and that simply adds to its cache. With a smooth, numbers-matching powertrain, all-original sheetmetal and enough visual flash to stand out in a mirror factory, this awesome coupe is about as close to the ultimate muscle car as you can get!