For a Mopar enthusiast, no other decade could equal the 1960s. Sure, the 1950s had a wide range of successes, but performance across the entire line had never been matched, and since, has never been equaled. For performance seekers, Holley has been synonymous with high performance-- a trend that has accelerated into the late 1990s as Holley re-established itself as a performance brand of its own after "un-merging" from Coltec Industries. They didn’t stop there and have since acquired Hirel Technologies (multi-point fuel injection systems), Weiand Automotive Industries, Lunati, and, most recently, B&M’s supercharger division and Hooker Industries.
This desire to offer the best in a full line of performance automotive products is perhaps why Holley chose a Mopar to represent the decade 1960 through 1969. Yes, as Holley prepares to enter their second century of manufacturing, the 1969 Roadrunner shown here will wave the Mopar banner and represent the musclecar era. "How?" you ask? Rather than celebrate the 100th anniversary of Holley by building their own car, like George and Earl Holley did when the brothers built the Holley Motorette, Holley has chosen to follow a path similar to that of its customers--building performance cars.
Right up to Holley's centennial celebration in 2003, the company, according to its corporate vision, "will build a fleet of ten one-of-a-kind vehicles. Each car will be an actual stock-bodied vehicle from one of the ten decades of Holley history, loaded with Holley high performance equipment from bumper to bumper." According to Holley's President, Jeffrey G. King, "Speed is the heart and soul of everything we do at Holley." So when the dialogue began about what would make up this Roadrunner, it was decided a potent big-block built by Indy Cylinder Head and a complete build-up by John Balow of Muscle Car Restorations would combine the ultimate in performance with the ultimate in aesthetics. While all projects need a vision, like the computer illustration shown here by Garry Pierce, the reality is that all projects start with something far less. In fact, some would say that our starting point--a former 383 Road Runner with decidedly more rust than John would have liked, is perhaps a means of saving Mopars that may have never been saved. That, too, is important.
While we have the vision and the resources set, we haven't come up with an official name. We'll leave that up to the 1,200 employees of Holley. The "name the Roadrunner project" contest at Holley will find one lucky Holley employee getting a weekend with the car when completed. In the meantime, we'll call it Holley's Project Roadrunner--a dream car just waiting to happen.
The very first place to start was with a vision of the end. With key input from Holley Performance Products, Mopar Muscle magazine, and Mopar restorer John Balow of Muscle Car Restorations in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, artist Garry Pierce was able to create this ultra-realistic rendering of the Holley Performance Products Roadrunner. In order to make room for the hood clearance necessary for our 440-based 542ci Indy Cylinder Head-built RB engine, we’ll opt for Year One’s faithful reproduction of the 1969-1/2 Six Pack Roadrunner lift-off hood. That matte black finish will set off well against the Hemi Orange PPG paint, while working very well with the black vinyl top. At all four corners, a classic five-spoke will wear generous 28-inch tall radials. While the torsion bars will be set for a low stance, the 1960s muscle heritage will be loud and clear.
As B-Bodies go, John thought that we had scored pretty big. While rust-free 1969s can easi
It soon appeared to John that this car had undergone either recent restoration or camoufla
Bumperettes aside, the Roadrunner was ready for street action. The original 383 had long s
While John Balow was away, the Roadrunner was delivered by one of the capable haulers empl
Upon opening the trunk, the surface rust became more apparent. Here, it appeared bad enoug
A closer look at the headlamp bezels prove that the bright grille and trim are in excellen