AJ’s “Badass Friday” Car of the Day: 1969 Plymouth Road Runner Hardtop Coupe

AJ’s “Badass Friday” Car of the Day: 1969 Plymouth Road Runner Hardtop Coupe

Car: Plymouth Road Runner Hardtop Coupe

Year: 1969

What makes it special: The Road Runner was built with a focus on performance built by Plymouth 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. The 1969 model kept the same basic look as the 1968, but with slight changes to the taillights and grille, side marker lights, optional bucket seats, and new Road Runner decals. The Road Runner added a convertible option for 1969.

What made it famous: An Air Grabber option N96 code was introduced this year; it consisted of a fiberglass air duct assembly bolted to the underside of the hood that connected to twin rectangular upward-facing vents in the hood with rallye red vent screens. The fiberglass hood box had an “Air Grabber” sticker on the front. When the hood was closed, a rubber seal fitted over the large-oval unsilenced air cleaner. A decal with Wile E. Coyote saying “Coyote Duster” was on the air cleaner lid. The assembly ducted air directly into the engine. The vents in the hood could be opened and closed via a lever under the dashboard labeled “Carb Air.” The 383 engine was standard with the 426 Hemi the only option available for the Road Runner until mid-year production. The 383 was marketed as the “383 Road Runner” engine. The A12 440 engine option with 3X2 barrel Holley carburetors was added to the lineup at mid-year. The “440 Six Pack” had no wheel covers or hubcaps, only the 15×6″ “H” stamped steel black wheels with chrome lug nuts. It featured a black fiberglass lift-off hood with 4 hood pins and a large functional hood scoop with a red sticker on each side saying “440 6BBL”. The scoop sealed to the large air breather. All cars had a Dana 60 rear axle with a 4.10 gear ratio. 

Why I would want one: I’ve always been a fan of the less-optioned, low budget body with maximum power engine optioned cars.

Fun fact: The Plymouth Road Runner was named Motor Trend Car of the Year for 1969.