Though it made its debut during the muscle car era, the Plymouth Roadrunner would be sold from 1968 to 1980. The original was based off the much more upscale Belvedere, but later models would be much smaller and more economical than sporty.
Plymouth did have permission from Warner Brothers to use the Roadrunner name. They paid $50,000 for that right, and with it they also got to use the Roadrunners trademark "meep-meep" for the sound of the horn. Roadrunner graphics were also used on most cars.
The first engine put into the Roadrunner was a 383 cubic inch V8. In what would seem like an obvious choice for collectors today, there was a $714 option for the 426 Hemi engine. With the light weight that comes with a no-frills car, the Hemi engine could get the Roadrunner down the 1/4 track in 13.4 seconds, which is quite a quick time for a low-priced car.
A convertible version of the Roadrunner was added for 1969. Just 2000 of them were sold, and only 9 with the Hemi. I'm not sure how many of those are left, but you can bet it's probably less than you can count on one hand. Don't bother to try putting a price on that kind of rarity for a car desired by so many.
The 440 CID V8 engine was another option for 1969. This was also known as the 440 Six Pack. The Roadrunners sold with this optional engine had no wheel covers or hubcaps, which is actually the look I would prefer on a Roadrunner.
The Superbird was a special performance version of the Roadrunner added for 1970. Only about 2,000 were built, and they are among the most expensive muscle cars on the collectors market today. They are best known for their huge rear wing.
The second generation started in 1971, and it introduced the "fuselage" design. Engine output was down to comply with new emissions standards. The second generation, and perhaps the muscle car era, ended in 1975.
The 1976 to 1980 F body Roadrunner was a 2 door economy car that replaced the A body Duster and Valiant. The only decent engine for those cars was the 360. All the others were slow as molasses pieces of junk.
The 1st and 2nd generation Plymouth Roadrunners are very collectible. If you are interested in buying one, I suggest you check the classic car classifieds, such as Hemmings Motor News, or an online auction site like eBay. You can also buy Roadrunner parts on eBay.
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