My 1969 Plymouth Road Runner
By Mark Weisseg
I am breaking my silence once again to tell you about my 69 Plymouth Road Runner. When I was in high school this was a really cool car. A few guys had them and I could not figure out how the could afford anywhere from 800 to 1200 bucks for one of these used cars. But I longed for one so I asked Dad to help me out out. He looked at me and said No. He said No to everything, so I expected it. But this time he would not budge because he knew they had 383, 440’s and the death defying 426. He knew I would wrap it around a tree the first week and kill myself and whoever was with me. End of story.
So, many moons go by and I grow up. Well, at least I aged. Dad was gone to his reward and I found a numbers matching 69 Road Runner on line. It had a 383 engine and a 4 speed transmission. I discovered that one guy owned it for a very long time. He finally sold it to a guy to restore it back to the way it looked in 1969. That guy took about a year to do the restoration. Then it was taken to a auction company and a dealer in the south bought it. They stuck it on their lot and on the internet. Then, I bought it sight unseen and had it shipped to my home.
When it arrived and the gate of the semi opened to let it out, I had a million memories flood my brain. Gee, I wish Dad was here, I cannot believe I bought this, wow, it only took me 40 years to buy one, and gulp it costs a lot of money now compared to that 800-1200 bucks back then. I parked the car in my driveway and stared at it from every angle. I took hundreds of pictures over the next six months from every angle. Finally I had a professional take pictures. I guess I had to prove to myself I really did own one.
Finally, I got a hold of Galen Govier’s office as I wanted to verify the car to be true. I worked with a woman there that answered my emails and phone calls. She was delightful. We even began to share some stories unrelated to the car. We did have some debate on the screws used to hold the fender tag in place but resolved that in short order.
When I take this car to shows it is a magnet for everyone that had one or knew someone that had one. Small children somehow know about the horn. Grown men ask me to blow the meep meep horn. I drive down streets and people give me the thumbs up. It does not ride as good as I remember but it is mine finally.
Also, back when I was young the car seemed incredibly fast. Scary fast. Today, not so. I have a 2013 Mustang Shelby Cobra with over 725 horsepower. I think the Mustang could beat the Road Runner in reverse. But, this car takes me back to a different time in my life. I have even met some amazing people through this car.
There is one guy that I met named Wes Eisenchek. He is the authority on ’69 Road Runners. I met him this past year at SEMA and he told me that in April of 2017 his book would be out via CarTech.com. I am looking forward to reading and rediscovering what I did not know. Many people owned the Road Runners of the 68-70 time frame. Chrysler built them like crazy as the demand was so high.
My car cost $3,900 and change back in 1969. It was a base Road Runner and meant to do one thing only. Go in a straight line very fast. Drum brakes just don’t stop like today’s hardware. The steering is in theory only but all of them were like that back then. Today I have radial tires on it to help it go down the road. I replaced the original pitted windshield about a year ago now and this past summer installed a new Holley 650 carb. Other than that the car is bone stock and I am keeping it as long as my legs can shift.
When I park it in the driveway people will slow down to look at it or pull over and walk around it. I cannot tell you how many stopped and had a story for me. I always listen and I always invite them back. The car even inspired a friend to buy his 66 Charger he longed for. My only gripe is keeping that white vinyl top clean. I forgot how to use vinyl top cleaner as nothing has a vinyl top anymore. I love my RR and I cannot wait to drive it again this season. It fights for my time with all the other cars I have but this is a winner.
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