When Ted Brine of Pennsylvania sold this ’69 Hemi Road Runner back in 1970, he never thoug
We hear a lot of stories from Mopar Muscle readers about once having a really cool Mopar, selling it, and then wishing they had it back, but few ever realize that dream and own the car again. Ted Brine not only lived it, but did so in style with a '69 Hemi Road Runner that he purchased new in the winter of 1968.
Ordering the Plymouth from Bridgeville Sales in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, Ted wanted the lightest Hemi car he could get, to race a little on the street, but mainly in the NHRA's B-modified production class. Modifying the car with aluminum "K" cylinder heads, a Racer Brown camshaft, and other common modifications of the period, Ted raced the Road Runner during the 1970 season, earning several track records and coming close to the NHRA record for the class, before deciding to step up to an A/Fuel dragster. With plans to go faster, the engine was pulled from the Road Runner and Ted decided to sell the car.
...or that the man he sold the Plymouth to would take such care of the car.
At the local Pennsylvania tracks, Ted knew there was someone interested in buying his Road Runner. Denny Thomas was a Mopar lover and a car guy through and through. Racing an early '60s Dodge Dart at the time, Denny spoke with Ted on several occasions regarding the Road Runner, and when Ted decided to sell in November of 1970, Denny purchased the Plymouth with some 3,000 miles on the odometer, minus the engine, transmission, and Dana rear end. The sale price was $1,864.81 which sounds like a great deal today, but was a lot of money in 1970 for a car without a drivetrain.
Installing his own Hemi engine in the car along with an automatic transmission (push-button shifted) and an 8-3/4 rear end, Denny Thomas became known locally as "Hemi Denny" and ruled the New Bethlehem dragstrip as well as other local tracks and the street racing scene. Denny Thomas loved his Road Runner, and the car and Denny became local legends together. The Road Runner wasn't Denny's only car, but was by all counts his favorite, and was known to regularly show up at cruises and even street races throughout the '80s and '90s. Never married, cars were Denny's life and he loved racing, talking cars, and cruising at the local Cadet Restaurant.
Hemi Denny installed his own engine in the Plymouth, and went on to rule the local dragstr
Ted Brine purchased this ’69 Hemi Road Runner for one reason: racing!
Owning the car until the fall of 1970, Ted raced many local events with success before mov
After losing his father, Denny was said to be very hurt from the loss, but found some solstice by joining the local Kit-Han-Ne car club and eventually became the DJ for the regular cruises. Denny would not only DJ, however, he would bring all of his equipment, and the Road Runner on a trailer, with every intention of "rocking the house" when weather permitted. Tragically, Denny lost his life in 2009 in an accident, while clearing land on the farm he owned. With no wife or children, Denny's sister inherited his cars, and eventually passed the '69 Road Runner on to one of her sons, Denny's nephew.
Recently moving back to Pennsylvania, Ted Brine was having a discussion with some people at a local cruise night, and the topic of Denny and his Road Runner came up. Learning that Denny had kept the car all those years, and of the unfortunate accident that had taken Denny's life, Ted began making phone calls to learn what happened to the car. After several months of searching and then talking with family members, Ted discovered that the car was still in the area and the family was keeping it for sentimental reasons. After hearing Ted's history with the car, however, they were compelled to sell it back to Ted with the understanding that he would get the Road Runner roadworthy again and enjoy it as much as Denny had.
Knowing how much the Hemi Road Runner meant to Denny Thomas, Ted has decided to return the car to streetable condition, with many of the "day two" modifications such as aftermarket gauges, headers, and aftermarket camshaft that were performed to these cars back when they were new. Sold to Denny with only some 3,000 miles on the car, the Plymouth still wears its original B-5 paint and the odometer now reads 7,949.8 miles 42 years later. So far, Ted has begun tearing down the engine, and plans to install a manual transmission in the Road Runner. Not wanting to spoil the car's patina, Ted will clean up the original paint and leave the car much as it was when he owned it during 1969 and 1970, and how Denny enjoyed it for the years he was its steward.
We thank Ted Brine for sharing the story of his Road Runner, and we're sure Hemi Denny would approve of the car going back to Ted. There's much more to this story than we can fit into just these two pages, so look for a full feature on this Hemi Road Runner in an upcoming issue of Mopar Muscle.
The Hemi Road Runner still wears its original B-5 paint, and many of the decals and lift-o
Back in 1970, Ted worked to make his Road Runner competitive on NHRA dragstrips.
Today, he’s tearing the engine down to return his car to the street. We thank Ted for shar