Most automotive enthusiasts consider 1969 the peak of the muscle car era. This was the year that the manufacturers were heavily involved in building powerful cars for consumers. Gas and insurance was cheap, so the big three were building quick cars with catchy names, and selling them by the thousands. Chrysler was heavily involved in the production of muscle cars at the time, and with the introduction of the Plymouth Road Runner in 1968, they hit a home run. For the 1969 model year, the Chrysler execs finalized a deal with Warner Brothers, and the Road Runner was adorned with the iconic cartoon bird. The Road Runner’s styling, combined with low price and high performance, earned the model the coveted Car of the Year award from Motor Trend magazine in 1969.
Since Plymouth’s highest Road Runner production occurred in 1969, there are still plenty left today. Troy Ludford found this example sitting in plain view in Grande Cache, Alberta Canada. He knew of the car, because it had been stored in the same spot for some 15 years. Troy tracked down the owner, and discovered that he had purchased the car in 1982, and then had it painted red soon afterward. Planning to rebuild the car, the previous owner had the engine and transmission rebuilt in 1984, and the seats recovered, but never installed. Centerline wheels were purchased for the car as well, and the front “skinnies” were never even taken out of the box.
The original 383 had been rebuilt in 1984 and installed with new headers, but never fired
Asking if the car was for sale, Troy could tell that the owner was attached to this Plymouth, and likely wouldn’t just sell her to anyone. Over the phone, Troy was given a price of $7,000. He felt this was too high, so he decided to visit the owner in person. Bringing along photos of his fully restored ’68 Coronet, Troy convinced the owner of the Road Runner that he would treat this car to a similar restoration, but had to get it for the right price. Offering $3,500, Troy and the owner eventually agreed that $4,000 was a fair price for the Plymouth, and Troy had his next project car.
Originally B5 Blue with a white vinyl top, the car currently has an inexpensive paint job, and the quarter-panels are full of “mud,” but the floors and framerails are in great shape. Uniquely optioned, this Road Runner has bucket seats, power brakes and steering, a console-shifted automatic, and Air-Grabber hood. The engine, transmission, and 3.23-geared differential all are original numbers-matching units. Troy and his wife plan a full restoration of the Plymouth, though he says he may keep items like the new headers and Centerline wheels for a 1980s-themed street machine. This Road Runner adds to a long list of Mopars already in the Ludford’s garage, and Troy’s motto is “Mopar or Walk.” We thank him for sharing his Hidden Treasure with our readers and look forward to seeing the car when it’s finished.
This Road Runner sat outside at the same location for 15 years before being discovered and
Most of the parts of this car were simply stored in the interior, including the console an