|Vehicle:||1969 Plymouth Road Runner|
|Original List Price:||$2,945|
|Tune Up Cost:||$200|
|Chassis Number Location:||Driver’s side dash under windshield|
|Engine Number Location:||Passenger’s side of block by oil pan|
|Club Info:||National B-Body Owners Association|
|Alternatives:||1969 Dodge Super Bee, 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396, 1969 Ford Mustang GT|
This car, Lot 641, sold for $36,850, including buyer’s premium, at Barrett-Jackson’s Northeast sale at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT, on June 24, 2017.
If there ever was a car that defines the quintessential ideology of what a muscle car is (or should be), the 1968–70 Plymouth Road Runner (and Dodge Super Bee) certainly fits that definition. It was mass-produced, cheap, void of most options, handled like a rudderless boat in a swift current and was never meant to last. The cars were thrashed about, modified, customized and beat to death. But they sure can be a blast to drive — especially if you pound around in one with a total disregard for the mechanical consequences.
A lot of guys who bought them in 1969 somehow thought they were fooling their wives into buying an enigmatic family car in disguise. It did have a generous trunk and reasonably large back seat, after all. It was an ambiguous way for the emerging family guy to meagerly attempt to hold on to his youth. In the case of our subject car, it even had an automatic transmission on the column.
Love those VINs
Part of what makes Mopars so desirable in today’s sea of sometimes suspicious and questionable muscle cars are their Vehicle Identification Numbers. As an example, our subject Road Runner tells us right off the bat that it’s an R (Belvedere/Satellite), M (Road Runner), 21 (2-door coupe), H (383/335 hp), 9 (1969), G (St. Louis, MO, assembly). No guesswork needed. Plus, the cars that get faked and dubiously built will generally be higher-value 440 or Hemi examples, so the buyer of our subject Road Runner should be squarely in the safety zone in that regard.
The buyer also scored on some good documentation in the way of the original broadcast sheet, fender tag and owner’s booklet. Photo documentation of the restoration is also included and, via the description, the car only has 2,500 miles on a fairly fresh 2014 restoration.
Right condition, right stance
Our Road Runner looks to be in fine to excellent condition in all regards. Based on the photos from Barrett-Jackson, this car’s gaps all look great, the paint appears to be well applied and the interior looks to be in very nice to excellent condition. The engine bay presents very well and also appears to be fairly fresh.
The stance of the car is dead-on and enhanced by the 15-inch road wheels, so it sits a tad taller than had it been on factory 14s. The other modifications noted are insignificant and have no adverse effect on the value. In short, as presented, this 1969 Road Runner is just about as spot-on as you are ever likely to find. If it runs out as well as it looks, the buyer should be in the fun zone with his new purchase.
I’ve pontificated on this in the past, but for most muscle buyers, the air gets let out of our collective tires when we get all fired up about a car and then see the dreaded automatic shifter poking its ugly stick out of the steering column. It is, after all, difficult to pop through the gears without fear of ratcheting the car into neutral, or worse, reverse gear. I speak from experience from driving a 1969 Dodge Super Bee with the same setup.
For our subject car, given the unique color (known as Butterscotch in the Dodge universe) and tidy presentation, I don’t think we need to ding the value all that much. The presentation supersedes the fixation with the automatic on the column build. If we were discussing a more radical Mopar, such as a 440+6 or Hemi example, I’d be more likely to get out my red pen. Naturally, a set of buckets and a center console would be more desirable — but for a commodity 383 Runner with an automatic and a bench seat, it’s not all that unusual to see them in this configuration.
Bahama Yellow or Coyote Ugly?
I’ve seen cars like this before. Yes, it has a unique color, one that is rarely seen because buyers in 1969 simply didn’t order them. Today, some guys will immediately love it, while others might describe it as some sort of puke mustard and will refuse to allow it to set foot in their garage. I find the color to be inviting. It just works with the black interior, Redline tires and subtle graphics. In short, I think it’s cool — but I’m biased and grade most Mopars on a curve.
All things considered, the buyer of our subject Plymouth did just fine. It’s highly likely that the “all-in” total with the restoration expense and the cost of the car is far higher, so the buyer did well by that standard. Per the ACC price guide, the median value sits at $38,500 for a well-presented example. When you factor in the cost of restoration and subtract a little for the automatic on the column and bench seat, our price guide seems to be on the money. I love it when we have a happy ending. Call this a bulls-eye market-correct result.
(Introductory description courtesy of Barrett-Jackson.)