Courtesy of Mecum Auctions
  • A12 replica
  • Rotisserie restoration
  • Less than 500 miles since restoration
  • 440-ci V8 engine
  • 6-bbl setup
  • 3.91 gear ratio
  • Hurst 4-speed transmission
  • Magnum 500 wheels
  • Fiberglass lift-off hood with display posts
  • Yellow with black vinyl top

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1969 Plymouth Road Runner A12 Replica
Years Produced:1968–70 (first generation)
Number Produced:84,420 (1969)
Original List Price:$3,083
SCM Valuation:Median to date, $35,500; high sale, $108,000 (base Road Runner)
Tune Up Cost:$200
Distributor Caps:$12
Chassis Number Location:Plate on top of dash, left side, visible through windshield
Engine Number Location:Pad on the right side of the block to the rear of the engine mount
Club Info:Plymouth Owners Club
Alternatives:1968–70 Dodge Charger, 1967–69 Chevrolet Camaro, 1967–70 Ford Mustang
Investment Grade:C

This car, Lot F203, sold for $38,500, including buyer’s premium, at Mecum’s Houston auction in Houston, TX, April 14–16, 2016.

The muscle car world is renowned for its fakes — or replicas, if you’re being polite.

The difference between the two terms is disclosure. It’s only a fake if the seller is trying to cheat the buyer into believing the car is genuine. In this case, the seller readily admitted that this Road Runner is a replica of the hot rod factory A12 edition with the 6-bbl 440 V8 and 4-speed manual transmission. That’s perfect, because the buyer didn’t have to play detective to see if the car was genuine, and the whole deal was on the level.

What makes a 440 a 6-bbl?

The 440 6-bbl was not the highest-performance Road Runner on Plymouth dealers’ lots in 1969. Hot rod honors go to the Hemi version, sporting that massive 425-hp elephant engine under its hood.

But the 6-bbl was no slouch. Its 440-ci engine came equipped with an Edelbrock manifold and three Holley 2-barrel carbs. Buyers could get the car with a 3-speed automatic or a 4-speed manual transmission. Either way, it was a potent combination, yielding 390 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque. The Road Runner line was so impressive that Motor Trend named it the Car of the Year in 1969. Just about 1,400 6-bbl cars were built that year, out of a total of over 80,000 Road Runners.

The 6-bbl cars represented a healthy performance boost over the base 335-hp 383, yet the option was substantially cheaper than the 425-hp 426 Hemi, which it matched for torque at 490 rated pound-feet. It was a true sweet-spot machine — and many owners will tell you that these cars could keep up with the heavy-breathing (but finicky) Hemi, at least for most of the quarter mile.

It should not surprise anyone that a fair number of 383 cars were later upgraded with 440s. Completing the replica is also comparatively easy, because the 440 6-bbl-equipped Road Runners came with a special lift-off fiberglass hood held in place with pins, and some very un-special steel wheels that were meant to indicate that this car was all business. That’s about all you can easily see that differentiates the 6-bbl car from any other Road Runner.

However, the A12 package also included larger 11-inch Bendix drum brakes at all four corners. Further, buyers got a 4.10 Dana rear end that helped the 440 6-bbl to a 0–60 time of 6.6 seconds and a quarter-mile of 13.88 seconds at 106.13 mph. These less-visible items may not be included in a replica, and so they should always be checked if you have any doubts.

Stop and think

Let’s consider this sale for a moment. The purchase price of $38,500 is more or less in line with recent sales. Road Runners with the 383 engine are generally trading in the $20k range. There were two other 1969 Road Runners with the 383 at the same auction as this car, and those sold for $24,200 and $31,350, respectively.

At the other end of the spectrum, a real 1969 Road Runner 440 6-bbl sold for $100,000 in 2014 (ACC# 239292) and another sold for $72,080 in 2012 (ACC# 192838). To finish off the comps, there was another decent replica 6-bbl that sold for $36,720 in 2014 (ACC# 255921).

Based on the comparative sales data, it looks like a genuine A12 Road Runner sells for about twice to three times the price of a replica. If you want a real numbers-matching car, that’s the going price tag. But before you lay out that much cash, ask yourself if you really need the authentic A12. What do you plan to do with your Road Runner? If the answer involves running 13s at the strip or driving it around for enjoyment, you might want to save the cash and drive the replica.

Genuine original muscle cars are the holy grail of collecting, but at this point in history, you don’t want to go out and flog one to death unless you’re the kind of guy who lights his cigar with a $100 bill. Genuinely rare numbers-matching muscle cars are certainly still capable machines, but a lot of owners feel they’re now better suited to concours events where people care deeply about originality.

If you want to go cruising and win the burnout contest, an original A12 Road Runner will do it — but a replica will, too. For my money, the cheaper smoke-maker is definitely the way to go. With that in mind, I’d call this a fair sale and a smart purchase for both the seller and buyer.

(Introductory description courtesy of Mecum Auctions.)

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