The paint on the car is all original factory applied, except for the engine compartment, floorboards, and behind the tires where stone chips speckled the body. The interior is original, except for the carpet and headliner that were the victims of hungry mice. But thanks to Legendary Auto Interiors, replacing them was a cinch.

In the summer of 1974, while racing at US 131 Martin Dragway, Merle missed a shift and over-revved the engine. That resulted in a spun rod and main bearing, and also bent the crankshaft and two rods. however, after the rebuild, the engine ran better than ever. After the engine rebuild and installation of the 4.56 gears, the car ran low 13s.

But don't for a minute think Merle is done "tweaking" his car. He tells us, "Hopefully with some of the upgrades I have made, and the forthcoming addition of the 509 Mopar Performance camshaft, it will run even better."

Merle tells us, "I enjoy showing my Road Runner, and I really enjoy driving the car. It is a real adrenalin rush." That's what we like to see-an owner that really enjoys his car.

Fast FactsCar: '71 Road RunnerEngine: 383Heads: Ported and polished 906sCamshaft: Racer Brown hydraulic 484/284Induction: M1 intake with Holley 800 carbHeaders: 171/48 Hooker Super CompTrans: A-833 "borrowed" from a '68 Road RunnerDifferential: 831/44 with Sure Grip and 4.10 gearsWheels/Tires: Front, stock 14x6 steel with Goodyear G70-14 tires; Rear, 15x8 from a Dodge Ramcharger with L60-15 MT's Paint: Factory original Sassy Grass GreenBest Performance: low 13s