AJ’s “Badass Friday” Car of the Day: 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Coupe

AJ’s “Badass Friday” Car of the Day: 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Coupe

Car: Plymouth Road Runner Coupe

Year: 1970

What makes it special: Plymouths Road Runner was a mid-size car with a focus on performance built between 1968 and 1980. By 1968, some of the original muscle cars were moving away from their roots as relatively cheap, fast cars as they gained features and increased in price. Plymouth developed the Road Runner to market a lower priced, basic trim model to its upscale GTX.

What made it famous: The 1970 model year brought new front and rear end looks to the basic 1968 body. Updates included a new grille, a cloth & vinyl bench seat, hood, front fenders, quarter panels, single-piston Kelsey-Hayes disc brakes improving from the small-rotor Bendix 4 piston calipers of ’68 – ’69, and even non-functional scoops in the rear quarters. The design and functionality of the Air Grabber option was changed. A switch below the dash actuated a vacuum servo to slowly raise the forward-facing scoop, exposing shark-like teeth on either side. “High Impact” colors, with names like In-Violet, Moulin Rouge, and Vitamin C, were options available for that year. The engine lineup was left unchanged although a heavy-duty 3-speed manual became the standard transmission, relegating the 4-speed to the option list along with the TorqueFlite automatic. This was to be the second and last year of the Road Runner convertible, with only 834 made. The new high-back bucket seats shared with other Chrysler products which featured built-in headrests. The 440 Six Barrel remained an option for 1970. The 1969 “M” Code Edelbrock aluminum intake was replaced by a factory-produced cast iron piece; however there were some early cars built prior to January 1, 1970 that were equipped with the left over aluminum Edelbrock intake from the year prior.

Why I would want one: It’s probably one of the most famous muscle car models of all time.

Fun fact: Plymouth paid $50,000 to Warner Bros.-Seven Arts to use the Road Runner name and likeness from their Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner cartoons, as well as a “beep, beep” horn, which Plymouth paid $10,000 to develop. The Road Runner was based on the Chrysler B platform, the same as the Belvedere and Satellite, as a back-to-basics mid-size performance car.

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