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FOR SALE: 1968 Plymouth Road Runner

Matt Harwood

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I'm not a Mopar guy (I'm not even a muscle car guy), but I acquired this very pretty 1968 Road Runner in a package deal, mostly to get the bright red Mustang fastback I listed last week. Now that I've spent some time with the Plymouth, I'm really impressed. It's one of those rare cars that actually looks better in person than in photos (yellow is notoriously hard to photograph in our studio for some reason) and the more you look at this car, the more there is to like. It's also got a really unusual combination of options, including factory A/C, and you know I'm a big fan of the oddballs.

I love the color combination, which is how it came from the factory, although the vinyl top was originally green(!). The Light Yellow finish is creamy, not canary yellow, and it gives this muscle car a more sophisticated look than most of its siblings. The bodywork underneath is quite good with decent gaps all around and a very smooth, shiny finish. I believe the driver's side quarter panel was replaced, but everything else, including the spotless floors, looks to be original. A single black pinstripe highlights the curve of the fenders and matches the blacked-out hood treatment, which is correct. All the brightwork was either re-plated, replaced, or polished up during the restoration and the vinyl top is like new with no signs of rust underneath.

The interior was completely restored too, and the cool combination of pearl white upholstery (what Pontiac guys might call Parchment) and dark olive green carpets and dash really makes for an elegant driver's compartment. The Road Runner was all about speed on a budget, so it's got a bench seat, manual windows, and a 4-speed shifter sticking out of the floor. Checking the fender tag, you'll note that this one received factory A/C and a tachometer instrument panel, but manual steering and drum brakes (more on those in a moment), making it a very unusual machine. The A/C was recently rebuilt and filled with R12, so it works properly, the gauges are all bright and crisp, and the only demerit is some wear on the driver's side arm rest where the color has worn off (I believe the door panels are original to the car). Oh, and I don't think the radio works. The trunk is outfitted with a reproduction mat and an ancient redline bias-ply spare, as well as a full jack assembly and zero rust under the mat.

The standard engine on the Road Runner was a 383 cubic inch V8 with a very stout 335 horsepower that was unique to the Road Runner, and that's what's in this one. The only step up from there was a Hemi, but the 383 is no slouch. I actually like the 383s better than the 440s because they seem to rev better and given the way we drive our collector cars today, the difference in performance is largely academic and for bragging rights when you point to the badges on the hood. It was fully rebuilt when the car was restored and shows about 2100 miles on the restoration, so it's quite healthy. It starts easily, idles well, and pulls with big block torque through all four gears. The engine bay is nicely detailed with correct finishes and components used throughout, including a reproduction battery, although the raw cast iron exhaust manifolds are kind of crusty. I am led to believe this is a matching-numbers engine, but I have not personally verified it, as it would require removing the A/C compressor so I can't say for certain. I have, however, verified the transmission is numbers-matching and there are friendly 3.23 gears in the rear end. The floors are absolutely spotless, and in 2010, the Mopar experts at Hodge Restorations added factory-correct power steering and front disc brakes, both very smart upgrades for a car that moves like this one. It was also given a fresh clutch, a Pertronix ignition system, and new BFGoodrich tires at the same time.

I like this car a lot more than I expected to and it's arguably nicer than the Mustang that came with it. Spotless inside and out, easy to drive, and still reasonably quick, the Road Runner is a lot of fun. We're asking $39,900, and if you can find a nicer one with factory air for less money, you should buy it. Me, I'm looking forward to taking it to the first cruise night in a few weeks. Thanks for looking!
















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