1970 Plymouth Road Runner Convertible

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In 1968 Plymouth’s goal was to offer Detroit’s biggest bang for the buck. The result was the new Road Runner, which came in around $2,900 and proved to be just the ticket. As the newest member of the Belvedere family, it shared body and some trim levels with the other lines but it's mission was performance. It came standard with a 335-horse 383 V-8, a four-speed stick and a beefed-up suspension. If that wasn't enough oomph Plymouth offered another engine upgrade: the legendary 426 Street Hemi, with its very conservatively rated output of 425 horsepower and 490 lbs.ft. of torque.

Though mostly unchanged from the previous year, the 1969 Road Runner won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award – due mostly to the introduction of the new code A12 440 Six Barrel engine, affectionately known as the “Six Pack”. The idea behind the 440 was to create an engine that was less expensive and more streetable than the Hemi, but with close to the same performance. Hemis often required extensive tuning to maximize their capabilities, but the Six Pack left the showroom ready to go. It had an aluminum Edelbrock manifold topped by a trio of Holley 2300 series carburetors. For more mundane daily use it ran on only the center 350 cfm Holley. Give it the boot, however, and the pair of 500 cfm Holleys at the front and back kicked in and all hell broke loose. Compression was increased from 10.1:1 to 10.5:1 and that helped boost the output of the 440 to 390 hp and torque from to 490 lbs.ft. That torque number was the same as the Hemi but it hit the road a full 800 RPM faster in the rev range. All A12s were also equipped with a 4.10:1 rear axle, heavy duty radiator and 11-inch drum brakes. Goodyear 15-inch Polyglas red stripe tires were standard.

For 1970 the engine lineup was left unchanged except a heavyweight three-speed manual now came standard, sending the four-speed (as well as the Torque-Flite automatic) to the option list. The '70 Road Runner was fitted with heavy duty suspension components and new high tech (for that day) single-piston Kelsey-Hayes disc brakes that gave the car more agility in the turns and awesome stopping ability. The exterior updates included a new grille, hood, front fenders and quarter panels, with non-functional scoops in the rear quarters. The Air Grabber hood option, first offered on the 1969 models as a slick way to increase air induction into the motor, got a cool upgrade: a switch below the dash actuated a vacuum-operated servo which slowly raised the forward-facing scoop, exposing painted shark's teeth on either side! Though it might have diminished any “sleeper” potential at the stoplight, it was a highly functional way to help the engine breathe easier. "High Impact" colors, with names like In-Violet, Lemon Twist, and Moulin Rouge were also new options for 1970, as were new high-back bucket seats with built-in headrests. This was also the last year for the convertible; only 834 were built.

1970 marked the end of the first generation Road Runners. Street monsters like these flew in the face of the building energy crisis; in addition, the declining sales of Road Runners and most other muscle cars were the result of insurance companies deciding to play the evil nanny and add surcharges onto muscle car policies, making insurance premiums for high-performance vehicles a very expensive proposition. It was a double whammy from which the muscle car segment would not recover for almost two decades.

Showing 35,528 miles, this beautiful car is well-equipped, including the Air Grabber option, bucket seats with center console and the Rallye dash cluster. Full black interior and top complement the beautiful “Citron Mist” metallic gold paint. This car has the original driveline and sheet metal. Other options include 5-spoke wheels and Solid State radio. The car was meticulously restored in 2007 and features the original window sticker, original broadcast sheet, and restoration invoices and photos. It was recently sold by Mecum Auctions in Kissimmee, FL.

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(from Mecum Auctions Press Release)

  • Produced October 14, 1969
  • Sold new at Jim Bethel Chrysler Plymouth in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • Restored in 2007 by Restorations by Julius in Chatsworth, California
  • Original sheet metal
  • One of 20 440 Six Pack Convertible Road Runners produced in 1970
  • Original V-Code 440 Six Pack engine
  • Original 4-speed transmission
  • A34 Super Track Pak
  • Power brakes
  • Correct FY4 Citron Mist Metallic
  • Air Grabber hood
  • Black vinyl bucket seats with console
  • Rallye instrument panel
  • Pistol Grip shifter
  • Solid State radio
  • Tic Toc Tac
  • Tinted windshield
  • A01 light package
  • Styled chrome wheels
  • Original window sticker
  • Original broadcast sheet
  • Restoration invoices and photos
  • 35,528 miles

Road Runners were one of the most impressive packages to emerge from Detroit during the muscle-car era. Illustrated by the popular Warner Brothers cartoon character, these Plymouths were created not so much to create a stir but to have a vehicle whose price was more in line with the youth market. They had hoped to sell 2,500 in the 1968 debut; instead they sold 52,000. When named "Motor Trend" ‘Car of the Year’ in 1969, Plymouth put over 80,000 more on the street. So when 1970 rolled around, with a new decade and minor restyling, Road Runner was mature enough to warrant a car as upscale as seen here.

Before that, in the middle of 1969, Plymouth had released a small batch of Road Runners equipped with a new version of the 440 Super Commando engine. These engines featured three Holley 2-barrel carburetors atop an Edelbrock intake and extreme-duty internal parts. In 1970, that engine joined the standard-production lineup and the 440 Six Barrel could now be had in cars like this FY4 Citron Mist Metallic Road Runner convertible. That availability did not mean the company produced these cars in large in numbers. In fact, this car is one of only 20 convertibles equipped with the V-Code 440 Six Pack and 4-speed driveline combination. In 1971, a major restyling meant no more convertibles were ever again built on the B–body platform.

Showing 35,528 miles, this beautiful car was well-equipped as it came off the St. Louis assembly line on October 20, 1969. This included the new Air Grabber fresh-air hood option, bucket seats with center console, Rallye dash cluster with Tic-Toc-Tach gauge, and A01 Light Group. Complementing the beautiful paint are contrasting black interior and top, as well as the factory-tinted windshield.

The driveline was built for punishment—the V-code 440 engine is backed by an A833 4-speed with console-mounted Pistol Grip shifter and A34 Super Track Pak, which consisted of the 4.10 Sure Grip Dana 60 differential plus power disc brakes, 26-inch Hemi radiator, and more. The driveline in this car is original, as is the sheet metal. Other options include the extra-cost 5-spoke wheels and Solid State radio. Sold new at Jim Bethel Chrysler Plymouth in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the car was meticulously restored in 2007 by Restorations by Julius in Chatsworth, California. Most importantly, the car is documented with the original window sticker, original broadcast sheet, and restoration invoices and photos.