Roger Gaultney 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

Beep Beep! Roger Gaultney’s ’69 Plymouth Road Runner

By the late-’60s, muscle cars like the SS Chevelles and GTOs were going more upscale in their trim packages. For Plymouth, that was the GTX – plenty of power, and plenty of bling. All that bling added weight and cost.

Then along comes the Plymouth Road Runner, a lower-priced, decidedly lower-frill muscle car. Want a radio? Pay more. Want a heater? Pay more. Want more performance? That’s included. Want even more performance? Cough up an additional few hundred and order the six-carb 440c.i. engine.

Roger Gaultney 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

Just a few hundred Road Runner buyers chose the Six-Barrel 440 option, making Roger Gaultney’s Vitamin C Orange car rare. The column-shifted automatic makes it even more scarce, with barely 200 Road Runners born that way.

Roger Gaultney 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

Roger’s Plymouth Road Runner does have one option – a radio. Otherwise, it’s all muscle. No console, no bucket seats. Just all the go-fast stuff.

Roger Gaultney 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

The 440c.i. big block produces 390 horsepower and 390 lb. ft. of torque, according to the factory specs. The trio of Holley two-barrel carburetors add up to 990 cubic feet per minute of flow into an Edelbrock aluminum intake. A 727 automatic transmission pushes the power to a Dana 60 rear end housing 4.10 gears.

Roger Gaultney 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

Roger Gaultney 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

All of that power in a mid-size car weighing just under 3,500 pounds produced quarter-mile times back in the day in the low 13-second range, depending on tuning, tires, and track conditions. For a bit of context, a 2022 Corvette, Camaro or Mustang weighs the same or more.

Roger Gaultney 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

Stopping the Road Runner, though, depended on four-wheel drum brakes. The 440-6 option came with black steel 15×6-inch wheels, with no hubcaps. Goodyear redline tires – G70x15 – tried to keep the car attached to the pavement.

Roger Gaultney 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

Roger Gaultney 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

The Six-Barrel 440 option came with the distinctive black fiberglass hood that was held in place by four hood pins. The functional hood scoop fed cold air directly into the air cleaner.

Roger Gaultney 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

The restored interior in Roger’s Road Runner is basic black vinyl. No power windows, no factory tach, no fancy trim. Just the control center for the driver’s primary functions – go, stop, steer.

Roger Gaultney 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

Roger’s first car was a 383-powered Plymouth Road Runner. Years later, when it was time for a second one, he spent five years before finding what he wanted – an orange Six-Barrel 440 – albeit in rough condition. After going through a total restoration by the crew at Superior Auto Works in Frederica, Delaware, Roger has the Road Runner he’s always wanted. Beep, beep!

Roger Gaultney 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

Photos by Todd Ryden

Dave Doucette is a long-time Goodguys member with a career in newspaper, magazine and website journalism. He was one of the founding editors of USA TODAY, editor of two daily newspapers and co-owner of a magazine publishing and trade show company. He owns and operates Real Auto Media. His first car was a 1947 Ford; he has owned Camaros, Firebirds, El Caminos and a 1956 Chevy that was entered in shows from California to Florida before being sold last year. He was one of the original Goodguys Rodders Reps and served as president of two classic Chevy clubs. Doucette grew up in South Florida, avidly following the racing exploits of local hero Ollie Olsen and, of course, Don Garlits. He remembers riding his bicycle to Briggs Cunningham’s West Palm Beach factory to peak through the fence at his Sebring and LeMans racers.