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Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage


Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

Second Chance Garage

For the Classic Car Restoration Enthusiast

Second Chance Garage

BUYERS' GUIDE

Classic Car Buyer's Guide: 1968-1970 Plymouth Roadrunner — Page 2

Desirable Options: Since the Roadrunner started out as a package car, options weren't pushed too heavily in the beginning. Once it became clear it was a sales success, marketers added items to the mix. In 1968, the rare Roadrunner was the hardtop, most were coupes. In 1969, that figure reversed as the hardtop gained foothold. Most 1968 Roadrunners had very little in the way of creature comforts. Vinyl floor mats and taxi cab upholstery was the norm. The convertible body style must rate as the rarest however. Back in the day, convertibles didn't appeal to guys interested in power as it was heavier than a coupe. The options that mattered to original buyers were engine and performance related. The cold air RamCharger hood is a favorite and often added by restorers. The four speed shifter and Sure Grip limited slip differential. Woodgrain steering wheels, console, bucket seats, AM/FM radio and tinted glass are all desirable but considered frills by original buyers. It's common today to find these added on by restorers.

Ramcharger Induction hood is very desirable and motorized with pop up door in 1970.

Ramcharger Induction hood is very desirable and motorized with pop up door in 1970.


Pistol Grip shifter, clock and radio are popular options.

Pistol Grip shifter, clock and radio are popular options.


Certain performance options such as power disc brakes, power steering are scarce on Roadrunners as this drove the price up. Air conditioning although available with the 383 engine, was so expensive you rarely see it. Imagine paying almost ten percent of the price of a new car for one option. 1970 was the first year you could find a nicely equipped Roadrunner but you'll pay a premium for it.

In terms of desirability, the engines to get are 426 hemi, 440 six pack and 383 in that order. The four speed transmission holds a significant edge in value as well, being a performance model. The best non performance options to get are appearance items such as High Impact paint, optional stripes, wheel well trim, and rallye wheels. The right color and trim really sets off this car and makes it very desirable. High Impact paint colors were extra cost and included shades like Bahama Yellow, Rally Red, Plum Crazy Purple, Panther Pink and Sassy Grass Green. The Day Glo colored cars tend to command a higher price than normal colors. Roadrunners are popular with styled steel wheels, rallye wheels or dog dish hubcaps with body color rims.

This 1969 hemi four speed in Hemi Orange is also the low production coupe bodystyle.

This 1969 hemi four speed in Hemi Orange is also the low production coupe bodystyle.


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High Impact paint colors are desirable such as this Burnt Orange Metallic with Burnt Orange vinyl interior1970 Roadrunner.

High Impact paint colors are desirable such as this Burnt Orange Metallic with Burnt Orange vinyl interior1970 Roadrunner.


Things to Look Out For: Mopar muscle cars have been very popular for a long time. They've experienced two major price swings through the 1980s and more recently, the 2006-2008 era. This means many have been restored a couple of times now. It also means you have to be wary of buying a clone that may be marketed as genuine. First, we'll cover the Roadrunner's inherent problem areas then proceed towards spotting a clone in the verification section. Roadrunners are unit body cars, meaning they have no separate chassis. A perimeter frame is used with extensive spot welding and a separate K frame holding the engine in place. A set of torsion bars installed in a transmission cross member handles the drive train placement duties. Out back, leaf springs and live rear axle takes care of the rear suspension duties.

Rust is the mortal enemy of any unibody car. On Roadrunners, rust tends to attack the last three feet of the rear frame rails as well as the leaf spring perches. The front floor pans are known to rust at the toe boards from pooled moisture. The hood hinges and surrounding sheet metal often rust away, leaving a difficult to open hood with alignment problems to deal with. The lower door skins often get pinholes and are swathed in bondo instead of replacing the metal on old unrestored cars. The inner fender panels underneath the hood can rust out as well and on bad examples, you'll be replacing the shock towers as well. Since torsion bars enter the transmission cross member, you'll need to check it for rust as well. Roadrunners were often drag raced so it's possible you'll encounter a car with altered rear quarter panels for big tire and wheel combinations. With a drag racing past and naturally rusted metal, it's common to find rusty or replaced quarters on a car.

The good news is all the important sheet metal and frame sections have been reproduced. A car that needs replacements of a few items is only a big deal if you have to pay someone to repair it. A rusted out hulk isn't worth trying to restore unless it's very rare and numbers matching. A hemi or Six Pack car is worth replacing all the floor pans, rear quarters and front end sheet metal on. A base 383 coupe is more likely to be a parts donor or casual build up for street use instead of a restoration trailer queen.

The engines and transmissions are very stout on these cars. Rebuilds are going to be from high mileage wear or done as "insurance" against damage with long term storage vehicles. The 727 automatic is very tough. Even badly worn examples work well enough to move a car around. It's common to find them highly modified internally with shift kits or even full manual pattern valve bodies, simulating a manual transmission. This highlights the drag race nature of the car when new and many owners still take them to the local track. The only weak spot to watch for on 727s is the rear sprag clutch on the tail shaft which can fail under hard use.

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