When you've already built two cars that essentially were the same car when finished, it's only natural to want to try something a little different. For auto salesman Mike Newman, this was a reality that he was faced with, and the prospect of what to do this go-around was something he toyed with in his head. After much deliberation, he concluded that he would stick to his guns and build a third B-Body. Only this time, he would build it with a bit of a twist.
The date was September 2001, and Mike decided he would build another performance car. As someone widely familiar with the B-Bodies, he began looking for a Super Bee, Road Runner, or GTX. "Well, I wanted to do something different this time and chose to go with a convertible," he says. Credible leads were few and far between, but someone at a local tire shop told him that he knew of a '70 convertible Road Runner for sale nearby at a tow company's lot. "I went to look at it immediately!" Mike tells us.
Upon arrival, the Road Runner was complete but had some rust in the floors since it was in Ohio its whole life. It was previously sold at an estate sale but was damaged during transport by the tow truck driver. Mike saw through the rough appearance and knew that the convertible was very rare. He negotiated his price and took the car home.
It didn't take long for the new creation to commence. The Road Runner was dark green with a black top, and the front-end received the brunt of the damage from the tow truck driver. Mike began stripping the body of every removable panel and piece of glass before mounting the unibody to a rotisserie. Once that was done, he then claims that he replaced the entire floor with the help of an article he read in Mopar Muscle. The bodywork didn't stop there as Mike's obsession for a perfect-metal B-Body convertible had only just begun. He enlisted Josh Crutchfield of Springfield, Illinois, to replace both rear quarters. Then, new doors, fenders, trunklid, and hood were mounted to the freshly E-Coated body. Once it was all pieced together, the coated car was ready for some color.
Since the green color didn't really correlate with the idea Mike had for the project, another was chosen. "I didn't want to build this to be an NOS [type] car, I built it the way I wanted it," he says. So, in an effort for maximum, visual impact, Lemon Twist Yellow was applied.
After the body was glistening with its new hue, Mike loaded it up and took it home to start piecing it back together. New bushings were installed along with front and rear suspension kits from Just Suspension that include shocks and sway bars. Stainless lines were run to the rebuilt front discs and rear drums that are covered by a set of body color steel wheels measuring 15x7 on all corners. Inside, Baker Upholstering in Urbana, Ohio, installed the white interior that was sourced from Legendary Auto Interiors, as well as new black carpeting. Mike sent the dash and gauges out to Performance Car Graphics to have them restored.
Although it looks basically stock, the RB now displaces 447 inches. OK, so it's basically
A trusty RB block built by Dick Bowshier from Urbana, Ohio, powers this Runner and displaces 447 cubic inches. It uses Speed Pro pistons, Six-Pack rods, and a stock crankshaft. A .488/.491 230/236 Extreme Energy cam, Edelbrock heads and intake draw in more air to generate some serious tire-shredding power.
After six years of hard work, the car was finally completed. It's certainly a dare-to-be-different approach compared to his previous B-Body projects, and Mike's happy with that. "From the start, I stuck to building it the way I like," he says. The neglect to follow the meticulous, spot-on NOS rules of building a car allowed him to build a car he can thoroughly enjoy on the street. It has to be rewarding to build something to your own standards and put your own twist on it.
1970 Plymouth Road Runner Convertible
Owned by: Mike Newman
- Engine: Dick Bowshier from Urbana, Ohio, built the 447 cubic inch RB with Speed Pro pistons, Six-Pack rods, and stock crankshaft. An Extreme Energy hydraulic roller .488/.491 230/236 camshaft spins inside controlling the 2.14/1.81 valves inside the Edelbrock cylinder heads. Air is sent through an Edelbrock Performer PRM intake with a Holley Street Avenger 750 Carburetor mounted on top. A slew of Mopar Performance ignition upgrades were made to bring the big-block the spark it needs. For the exhaust, the Mopar nuts at tti were contacted for a set of their 1 7/8-inch primary long tube headers with 3 1/2-inch collectors. A tti exhaust system is then bolted to that.
- Transmission: Tracey Newman rebuilt the automatic and Mike claims it's the best shifting auto he has ever driven.
- Rearend: 8 3/4 Sure-Grip with Richmond 3.73 gears.
Road Runner-clean and basic. Dog dishes-clean and basic. It works.
- Suspension: Just Suspension front and rear kits with sway bars and shocks.
- Brakes: Stock front 12-inch discs and rear drums.
- Wheels and Tires: 15x7-inch steel wheels with beauty caps shod in BFGoodrich Radial T/A rubber.
- Paint/Body: Every panel on the car is fresh and E-Coated for lasting protection against oxidation and rust. The floors were replaced by Mike, but the rest of the metal work and application of the Lemon Twist paint was completed by Josh Crutchfield in Springfield, Ohio.
- Interior: Bakers Upholstering in Urbana, Ohio, installed new black carpet, and white seat covers, trim, and panels from Legendary Auto Interiors. The dash and gauges were restored by Performance Car Graphics.