Goodguys 2022 Snap-on Muscle Car of the Year!
Congratulations to Roger Gaultney for winning the Goodguys 2022 Snap-on Muscle Car of the Year title with your 1969 1/2 Plymouth Road Runner! We’ll see you and your vehicle in Scottsdale, Arizona November 18-20, 2022 at the 25th Speedway Motors Southwest Nationals!
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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!
Photos by Todd Ryden