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Original With 4-Speed: 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

I noticed Plymouth’s Road Runner upon introduction in ’68, but it was the ’69 edition, with its wide, black hood stripes, that really caught my imagination. I wanted one the second I saw it, even though I wasn’t yet old enough to drive. I still have a “thing” for them today, though often they’re either high-dollar trailer queens, or rode hard and put away wrecks. Today’s find has a lot of originality going on, it has been used and enjoyed but it’s still in pretty sound shape – yeah, I’m interested. Located in North Fort Myers, Florida, this unmolested model is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $27,600 with the reserve not yet met. There is a BIN price option of $36,000 available too.

Knocking out 84K units, and earning Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year” award speaks volumes about the ’69 Road Runner. Yes, we were inundated with muscle cars in that halcyon year but Plymouth took a different take with their big power, stripped-equipped, low-price approach. Obviously, it worked. Three body styles were available, a two-door sedan (called a coupe), a two-door hardtop, and, new for ’69, a convertible.

Instead of paraphrasing, I’ll quote the seller, “This is a very unmolested rust-free Bondo-free California car. It appears that it has had one respray I would imagine years and years ago but I cannot find any Bondo in the car and it is all original sheet metal with Rock Solid floors and trunk only has some surface rust down in the bottoms of the grooves no Swiss cheese“. This vintage B-body is notorious for heavy rust but this example seems to have escaped that fate. The finish, F8 – Ivory Green Metallic and my favorite shade, is faded right along with those twin black hood stripes that I referenced earlier. There are some scapes and contusions, but all-in-all, this car presents well. The lack of an often-equipped vinyl roof covering, in my estimation, is a blessing as it can act like a sponge and do irreparable damage to the roof’s skin. American Racing wheels, perfect for this car, are supporting all four corners but the original steelies and doggie bowl hubcaps are included in the sale.

Standard power, still lurking under the hood, is a 335 gross HP, 383 CI V8 engine coupled to a non-matching number four-speed manual gearbox. The engine is wearing aftermarket valve covers – can’t tell much else beyond that. The seller claims, “The car runs and drives and stops fine“. Also mentioned is a shimmy that the seller attributes to a wonky throw-out bearing but it sounds, to me, more like clutch chatter from a flywheel or a pressure plate that’s in need of resurfacing.

Inside, we find optional bucket seats but no center console. The seats are wearing what the seller refers to as “the dealer-installed vinyl…” a material that is one of the most uncomfortable things that you can place your hindside upon on a hot summer day. Anyway, they’re shot and so is the underlying green vinyl upholstery, at least in the case of the driver’s seat. It’s hard to imagine that someone, way in the past, didn’t peel these protectors off but they are certainly a tribute to this car’s originality.

I’ll give this Plymouth points for staying the course and having avoided both poorly facilitated modifications and the rusting away that so often befalls this vintage Road Runner. It’s really remarkable as so many that I discover are either beyond help or, as suggested earlier, are trailer queens restored to perfection with a price to match – this one has played it right down the middle. So, what do you think of that $36K BIN price, about right, or not quite?


  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    “…rode hard and put away wrecks.”hilarious play on words, Jim. 🤣
    A decent project at what may be a reasonable BIN.

    Like 4
  2. Rank

    I remember when you could hardly give these away, say, 1980ish, after the second oil shock. I think some old people who had the cash, bought them up for pennies on the dollar and stored them away. The rest went to kids (with irresponsible parents) who trashed them and often killed themselves along with the car in the process. Even after all this time, I still can’t get over the prices of what they once were. I recall thinking at the time that if for no other reason, the gasoline prices being so high would rid the world of so many unsafe machines and the nation would be better off for it. I was wrong.

    Like 2
    • Greenhorn

      The safety lies with the user, not the machine.

      Like 2
  3. Stan

    The Plymouth 383s were valu-leaders for enthusiasts.

    Like 1
  4. Roger

    I remember 383 Roadrunners with torque flight transmissions and cheater slicks at the drag strip when I lost to them in my 3-speed Hurst floor shift 64 Pontiac Catalina with stock tires, which just smoked off the line.

    Like 0
  5. geezerglide 85

    I’ve seen the prices that people want for rusted out wrecks w/o any motor or tranny. Rust free runs and drives, I think somebody will step up and do the BIN on it. When I was in H.S. ’73-’76 these were $1000 cars, but in N.E. Pa. by that time many were getting rusty.

    Like 0

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