Aside from some vital fluids, a set of reproduction polyglass Redline tires, 15,000 miles on the odometer, and a couple of replacement engine bearings, Mike Pehanich's '69 Road Runner is exactly how it left the dealership floor when new. But before you wonder how much he blew on the restoration, you should know Mike has owned this pristine B-Body since the summer of 1970.
Traded in, the R6 Red Plymouth sat in a Taylor, Pennsylvania, dealership lot for only a short time before 17-year-old Mike came across it in 1970. Loaded to the hilt with enough factory ingredients to bring it close to the luxury level of the higher-tiered GTX, the B-Body featured plush bucket seats with headrests, a center console with a woodgrain insert, interior light package, power steering, power disc brakes, an in-dash tachometer, a manually controlled Air Grabber hood, Magnum 500 wheels with matching knock-offs, a Sure Grip-equipped Dana with a hearty 4.10 gear ratio, and, of course, the 426. Scrounging together what money he could, Mike quickly signed his name on the dotted line and drove his prize home.
With only 188 Road Runners built with a Hemi backed by a TorqueFlite, Mike's Runner is in an even narrower catagory. its fender-mounted turn-signal indicators, matte-black hood stripes, dual rearview mirrors, and the eight-track stereo make this Lynch Road creation something to be appreciated. The driver-side six-way adjustable bucket seat, rear window defogger, and tinted windows were normally found in the highest trim echelon, not on a vehicle that was initially intended for high school and college students with a few extra dollars to spend on their first authentic musclecar. which leaves one to wonder who the original purchaser was to order such an opulently outfitted machine.
The loaded Plymouth outweighed Mike's musclecar enthusiast friends' rides, but the Hemi more than made up for the weight difference. He put the advertised 425 horses to work street racing around his Pennsylvania hometown and blowing down the local dragstrip.
In 1977, Mike would meet Cathy, the woman who would become his wife. When they were on their first date in the red '69, a naive or overly confident 427-equipped Super Sport Chevelle muscled up against the Hemi bird. Wanting to put the Bow Tie in its place and show off his racing prowess, Mike planted the accelerator to the floor and watched the Chevelle's lights disappear in his rearview mirrors. He says, "Well, she didn't dump me right there, so I guess she liked it."
As time went on, Mike began to hear the telling sounds of a worn bearing. He purchased the appropriate parts from the local dealership, dropped them in the trunk, and parked the Runner in his father's garage, where it would remain for a decade when a new marriage and raising a young son would take priority over rebuilding the wounded elephant.
If the chalk marks on the...
If the chalk marks on the valve cover and factory overspray on the battery cable don't give it away as an original 425-horse Hemi, then the patina and weathered age visible on the radiator hoses and plug wires will. It was only after hearing sounds of worn bearings that Mike felt the need to open up the engine. Except for that singular repair, the engine is all but factory original.
The matte-black hood stripes,...
The matte-black hood stripes, Air Grabber inlets, and fender-mounted turn-signal indicators hint at the Road Runner's unusual and lengthy list of factory-installed equipment and creature comforts.
Bucket seats with adjustable...
Bucket seats with adjustable headrests and six ways of adjustment for the driver are just the tip of the iceberg. The center console features a faux wood insert and exclusive interior light package, while the dash sports a tachometer and eight-track stereo.