For many enthusiasts, the '70 version of the Plymouth Road Runner is considered a high watermark for musclecar styling. With new options galore-led by the Air Grabber hoodscoop and radical paint colors-the car maintained the squared-off style that had been the hallmark of Chrysler's budget musclecar. The following year, this body style, based on the Belvedere, would become a four-door model (as would Dodge's Coronet), while the Road Runner, the GTX, and Dodge's Charger and Super Bee would be radically restyled.
Matt Delaney's Viper-powered '68 Charger R/T was a featured monster here in Mopar Muscle a few years ago. In fact, somebody liked that Charger so much that Matt accepted an offer he couldn't refuse, which resulted in a nice pile of cash, but the need for another ride. So, being a tried-and-true Mopar fan, Matt immediately began to make plans for a special Road Runner to replace the Dodge.
While Matt wanted to use as much modern hardware as reasonably possible, he wanted the car to maintain the appearance and sound of 1970. at first glance, this car looks like a nicely restored '70 440 6BBL Road Runner. However, as you begin to look at the details, it becomes more and more obvious that this Shreveport, Louisiana-based Mopar has spice to spare. One part of the project that was important to him was using off-the-shelf hardware rather than a lot of custom fabrication such as the Charger entailed.
Matt was no stranger to building cars having owned "about every '68-'73 type of Mopar made." in addition to his real estate business, he owns Delaney Auto Design, and it was there that a solid 58,000-mile Road Runner body was taken down to bare metal and put up on the rotisserie. Subframe connectors were welded-in, the body was completely epoxy-primed (including the wheel-wells), and Mike Harris laid down the Ultra Orange Pearl covering on the panels. The only graphics are the factory black hood treatment (and the partial strobe stripe from the cartoons on the front fenders), aided by a Go-Wing on the trunk and '73 Duster outside mirrors.
The trick suspension work included a 1-inch drop all the way around, Hotchkis sway bars at both ends, Edelbrock shocks, and 12-inch Master Power disc brakes that feature calipers adapted from '77 Road Runner pieces. One big braking improvement was the use of Hydroboost (made by Hydrotech) hydraulic power in place of the factory's vacuum assist. Handling was further benefited through the use of a '70 T/A-type quick ratio steering outfit coupled to four fat Nitto low-profile tires (245-45-17, front and 295-45-18, rear) on Intro Vista rims. This final change is the one major visible shift from a nearly-stock appearance.
Inside, the hot peppers continue. The seat coverings are a combination of leather and black-and-white cloth done by ProTrim, also in Shreveport, using '71 Road Runner buckets. Next seen is a Grant steering wheel, '68 GTX door panels, a suede leather headliner, and the cooling effects of a Vintage Air A/C outfit. But the real trick is the stock shifter coupled to a B&M mechanism that handles the four-speed automatic transmission. Also inside, there is a complete Alpine stereo mounted in the '70 GTX dash and side panels. Matt gave the dash cluster to Redline Gauge Works in Newhall, California, who added the Stewart-Warner and Auto meter mechanisms to look like the stock units. The 21st-century gauges feature an electronic speedometer with a digital odometer driven by a sensor in the transmission.
That transmission is a prototype installation '88 700R4 four-speed automatic built by Harrel Lamkin for Keisler Transmissions-the production version to be offered will use the more modern 4L65E coupled to a Mopar pattern bellhousing. Between it and the engine is a 2,400-rpm Hughes Performance converter. Behind it, power goes through a custom driveshaft to a '67 vintage Dana 60 with a 3.54 Sure Grip setup.