The Plymouth Road Runner is a mid-size car with a focus on performance built by Plymouth in the United States between 1968 and 1980. By 1968, some of the original muscle cars were moving away from their roots as relatively cheap, fast cars as they gained features and increased in price. Plymouth developed the Road Runner to market a lower-priced, basic trim model to its upscale GTX
Plymouth paid $50,000 to Warner Bros.-Seven Arts to use the Road Runner name and likeness from their Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoons (as well as a “beep, beep” horn, which Plymouth paid $10,000 to develop). The Road Runner was based on the Chrysler B platform (the same as the Belvedere and Satellite), as a back-to-basics mid-size performance car.
The 1972 model was nearly identical to 1971 with a few minor changes. The grille design was cleaned up, and the taillights were changed to match the grille’s new aerodynamic look. Side marker lights changed from the flush-mounted side markers to the surface-mounted units adopted across the entire Chrysler line-up for the 1972 model year. The optional bumper guards for 1972 included a rubber strip surrounding the taillights and a rubber strip below the grille. The big differences came in the cutting back of performance options for the car. The suspension, rear axle ratios (a 3:55 ratio was the tallest available), and most noticeably, the engines changed. The big-block 383 was replaced by a larger-bore (and lower performance) 400 CID version as the standard engine. The small-block 340 CID and the performance version of the 440 CID engine (with a 4-barrel carburetor, performance camshaft, and dual exhausts) were also available, and for the last time, a 4-speed manual transmission could be paired with any of the three engines. All of the engines suffered a drop in compression ratios to allow the use of low-lead/no-lead gas and to meet the first round of emissions regulations. The 280 hp (209 kW) 440 engine was the basis for the Road Runner GTX (the GTX was no longer a separate model) and was available on Road Runners from 1972 to 1974. The 1971-72 Road Runner sheet metal was used by several NASCAR racing teams for their racecars and ran well on the circuit during the 1971-74 seasons. Richard Petty won the championship both in 1971 and 1972 using the Road Runner-based cars, winning 30 races over the two seasons.
When Christian received the “perfectly restored” car from America in Austria, it quickly became clear to him that the understanding of restorations differs immensely from one continent to another. Therefore, a complete restoration was carried out by Mopar specialist Michael Mugrauer, who runs the Mopar Garage in Voitsberg, Austria.
The engine was disassembled, the gearbox refurbished, the chassis repaired and the complete electrical system refurbished.
During the first drives, Christian noticed that as soon as the road becomes embellished by curves, one understands that these cars were actually built for long straights. That’s why the suspension has been upgraded with polyurethane links, a reinforced steering box and adjustable wishbones.
The 650 Newton metres had destroyed the clutch after 2000 km. It was too tempting to let the GTX smoke more often. Now a McLeod double disc was installed, which is good for 800 hp.
Engine performance Data sheet on request.
The gearbox is by Hurst, with 4 gears shifted by a pistol grip.
The manual gearbox was an optional extra. That’s what makes this GTX so rare. 219 pieces rare.
An expertise from 2018 describes the Car as condition 2+ with a value of € 135.000,-
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Fotocredit © Andreas Riedmann