Tired of seeing the "broken-down bird" taking up garage space, Mike's dad demanded he either junk the B-Body or find some place else to stash it. Mike retreated to his Mountain Top, Pennsylvania, home and built a garage specifically for the Plymouth. There he pulled the Hemi, replaced the crankshaft bearings, and swapped out the original battery and Redline tires. But this time, he had help putting the Road Runner back together from his teenage son, Michael, who had grown up around the Road Runner and his dad's other stout Mopars: a '65 Satellite, a '68 Coronet R/T, another Road Runner (a '69 1/2 440 Six Barrel), and two Super Bees ('69 and '70), and was quite an apt Mopar pupil.
Once completed, Mike and his son took it out for a spin. many of his old street racing friends were amazed he still had the same red '69 Hemi Road Runner after all these years.
It was the burnt bearings that helped preserve the Plymouth's gorgeous condition. Unable to run under its own power, the bird was forced into hibernation, where the interior and factory R6 Red paint would be protected from the sun's damaging rays, careless shoppers in parking lots, and other dings, dents, and scratches. its unwilling abandonment would save the original condition, thus making it a prime example of a surviving Hemi-powered Road Runner.
Current rising auction prices would ensure the Runner's preservation as Mike watched his liability transform into an asset. He realized the immaculate-condition B-Body was now worth more as a "survivor" than something to be raced and toyed with, so he reserved the dated-coded, all-original '69 bird as a show and occasional cruiser.
As of press time, the clock shows a meager 14,930 miles.
Getting the most air to the...
Getting the most air to the hard-breathing elephant as quickly as possible was the inspiration behind Plymouth's Air Grabber system.
Often duplicated, Hemi Orange...
Often duplicated, Hemi Orange paint on the battery cable is a sign of either factory originality or a detailed restoration. Bolted on before each Hemi was sprayed with its famous hue, the battery cable and retaining bolt were typically partially painted when the engine was coated. (That's a free tip to all you would-be restorers out there.)