As time moves on, developments in car technology have enjoyed a steady pace. Because of this, a '69 Plymouth Road Runner, once the top of the food chain, has become nothing more than an iconic classic muscle car powered by an obsolete-by-today's-standards engine. This doesn't bother us, though. We're willing to make the sacrifices in modern comforts because we find pleasure in the rudimentary and simple mechanics, and the style with the likes we will never see again.
Meet Pro Touring. This segment of the automotive world has gained popularity over the years and is still growing. While many purists may feel that it's blasphemy to alter what Ma Mopar bestowed upon us in the '60s and '70s, advocates feel that Pro Touring is only an appreciation of the styling and engineering of the classics. Modernizing your Mopar can make them safer and perform better. So, it's easy to see why these cars get so much attention when they're at shows when they're surrounded by controversial thinking and by people who want to check them out.
Jason Bair got the car bug when he was about 14 years old when he worked on them with his Uncle Bob. "He taught me everything, and I remember him having a '68 Plymouth Satellite that eventually became one of the first cars I ever drove." Well, the enchantment he had with cars never ended and he eventually decided to make some money on the side restoring cars. He is now co-owner and operator of Big Hemi Customs out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He works alongside his good friend, co-owner Todd Lowden, whom he met through the hobby.
They set out to build a car that could exemplify their abilities, and they felt Pro Touring was the way to go. The two put their heads together and came up with a concept. "We wanted to transform the car into the baddest '69 Pro Touring Road Runner on the planet," says Jason. In order to accomplish this, some big improvements to the sleek Road Runner needed to be made. The car itself was a personally-owned car of Jason's that had been put on the back burner, as new projects rolled through at Big Hemi Customs. In December of 2009, the two got back to work on the '69 and set out to achieve their new goal.
"Before we placed the car in storage, it had been stripped, media blasted, and primed," recalls Jason. "Once we took it out, we decided to put the car on a rotisserie and do a full restoration to the car. We really wanted to go all-out on this one." The color that was chosen was Sherwin-Williams' Barrett Jackson "Back in Black." "Black shows everything, so we knew we would have to work extra hard on the body and paint," he says. They met with Dave Safran from Sherwin-Williams to help them get the results they were looking for with the paint finish. Dave even offered to help on the bodywork and paint. Together, the men blocked the car for a week straight-in spite of the car receiving all new sheetmetal-before it was finally time to paint. Dave and Todd both sprayed the car together, working on the underside of the B-Body and working their way to the top. All of the panels were painted off the car to get perfect coverage, and then installed on the car.
To power the 'Runner, only a Hemi could fill the role. They dropped in a fuel injected 472 stroker built by Muscle Motors Racing, making a claimed 560 hp at the crank. Sitting behind the elephant is a Keisler Engineering five-speed manual transmission controlled by a Pistol Grip shifter. Out back, a new Dana 60 transfers the power to American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels covering large Wilwood binders front and rear. Underneath you'll find a modernized suspension featuring parts from Reilly Motorsports and Hotchkis.