The Plymouth RoadRunner was developed as a mid-priced car and was placed between the Satellie and Belvedere model line up. It was built on the B-body platform. The RoadRunner was light and featured few amenities. This not only drove the price of the vehicle into territory that most could afford, but it gave an advantage over heavier vehicles. The front and back seats were both bench. There was no radio, no air conditioning, no cruise control, no trim, and very few color options. Most of the options available favored speed and acceleration.
It was a solid car and a favorite among moonshiners. It was faster than most police vehicles and due to its sturdy construction, was very reliable.
The RoadRunner came equipped with a 383 cubic-inch V8 engine capable of producing 335 horsepower. A four-speed manual transmission was standard equipment. For about $715 dollars, a 426 Hemi could be added making it the fastest vehicle on the road.
Plymouth paid Warner Brothers $50,000 to use the Road Runner cartoon image. Due to short production time, the decals were grey. Along with the image, the horn went 'beep-beep'.
In 1968, Plymouth sold 45,000 examples.
In 1969, bucket seats became available. The decals were now in color. A convertible option joined the line-up. An inexpensive engine, when compared to the Hemi, became available. This was a three-two barrel carbureted, 440 cubic-inch V8, dubbed the 440 Six Pack. Nearly 90,000 RoadRunners were sold during 1969.
In 1970, an Air Grabber hood was added. Operated by remote control from the passenger compartment, this would open and close a vent in the hood, creating a hood scope. The three-speed manual gearbox became standard while the 4-speed was now offered as optional equipment.
Due to increasing government safety regulations and emission controls, the engines began to decrease in size during the 1971 model year. Fuel prices and insurance costs also contributed to the demise of the horsepower. The four-barrel 440 cubic-inch engine was no longer offered. The horsepower ratings for all engines decreased. The wheelbase of the vehicle decreased from 116 inches to 115. The convertible was no longer offered. A little over 14,000 examples were sold in 1971.
In 1972, 340 cubic-inch V8 engine was now available. This engine was powerful and light. Less than 7,630 Road Runners were sold during the 1972 model year.
In 1973, a 318 cubic-inch engine was standard, producing 170 horsepower. The 440 and 400 cubic-inch engines were still offered as optional equipment. The vehicle received styling updates.
In 1974, the 360 cubic-inch engine replaced the 340 V8. The 318, two-barrel engine now produced a miserable 150 horsepower.
In 1975, the RoadRunner was changed to the Fury body.
In 1976, the RoadRunner was changed to the Volare body. The standard engine was the 318 cubic-inch engine offering 150 horsepower. The 360 cubic-inch engine produced 170 horsepower. The RoadRunner package included a three-speed floor shifter, interior trim, and an improved suspension.
In 1977, an on-board engine computer, called the Lean Burn system, adorned the interior of the RoadRunner. Spoilers, stripes, and Ralley wheels, and window louvers became part of the RoadRunner package.
In 1979, production was just over 1000 units.
The 1980 model year was the last one for the Volare and Road Runner. By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2012The Plymouth Superbird was introduced in 1970 and shared many similarities in design to the Dodge Daytona. The Superbird was based on the Plymouth Road Runner except for the airfoil and nose. The Road Runner was based on the Belvedere but given Warner Brother cartoon figures and a horn that made a 'Beep Beep' sound. To inspire sales and to compete with the other muscle cars of the day, these vehicles were given large and powerful engines.
The spoiler on the Superbird was higher and more angled than the Daytonas. Part of the reason for mounting the wing so high was to allow better access to the trunk. Under 90 mph, the wing was basically useless.
Rules changed on the NASCAR circuit for 1970, making it hard to homologate a vehicle for racing. The rules for the year prior stated that 500 examples had to be produced before being allowed to race on the stock car circuit. For 1970 the rules stated that at least one example had to be built for each dealership.
There were three engine choices available. The Super Commando 440 V8 with a single four barrel carburetor was the most popular of the engine options. With 375 horsepower and 480 foot-pounds of torque, the Superbird could accelerate from zero-to-sixty in just under six-seconds.
With the 440 cubic-inch V8 with Six Pack, the quarter-mile was achieved in 14 and a-half seconds at 103 mph. The most expensive and most powerful engine available to the Superbird was the 426 Hemi. The 425 horsepower engine carried the Superbird from zero-to-sixty in just 4.8 seconds and reduced the quarter-mile time by almost a second.
During its production run lasting only one year, 1920 examples were produced. The vehicles outfitted with the Hemi engine are the rarest, with only 93 examples produced. 1,162 examples were outfitted with the 440 and single four-barrel carburetor. 665 examples were built with the 440 Six Pack.
Part of the reason for the low production figures was the controversial oversized wing and angular nose. Also, the cartoon characters and 'beep-beep' horn were 'love-or-hate'. The performance was undisputed and the top speed was unbeatable. Throughout the early part of the 1970's, Plymouth continued the production of the Road Runner. Though, due to increasing emission and government regulations, the horsepower era of the 1960's was coming to a close. Insurance premiums were costing more and many felt that these high powered machines were unsafe for the road. This would bring about a whole new trend of fuel-efficient luxury machines replacing the bare-bones, high performance, muscle cars.
When the nose on this 'Bird was stuffed, it was repaired by Richard Petty....and then autographed. This impressive muscle car is a Concours 1st place winner. By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2006
The Super Bird version of the Road Runner was an effort to dominate NASCAR racing with Chrysler products in 1970. The Plymouth and Dodge Daytona only saw one season of racing before it was felt the sloped nose and giant rear wing gave these cars an u....[continue reading]
New streamlining and aerodynamic downforce techniques helped the winged Mopars achieve new successes in 1969. Racing regulations dictated that at least 500 examples of the Dodge Charger Daytona's be constructed to qualify for racing. For the fo....[continue reading]
Plymouth was required to produce nearly 2000 Plymouth Superbirds for 1970 to satisfy homologation requirements for NASCAR racing at Daytona and Talladega. The rules stated that at least one example needed to be provided for each manufacturer's US dea....[continue reading]
Plymouth created the outrageous Plymouth Superbird to lure Richard Petty back. When the powers that be refused to let Petty race a Dodge Daytona since he was a 'Plymouth Man,' he turned to Ford. The famous No. 43 would then briefly adorn the doors of....[continue reading]
While the wild-winged Dodge Daytona took the automotive world by storm in 1969 with its long, pointy nose and mile-high rear wing, the Plymouth Superbird took things further. Based on the cartoon-inspired Roadrunner, Plymouth added a bit of color to ....[continue reading]
Originally purchased in 1970 by M.H. Brown, this is a column shift car, so there's no bothersome console in the way, and only an AM radio was on board to whistle along with. Almost immediately, the Superbird was taken in to have a factory cruise con....[continue reading]
For the past twenty-four years, this 1970 Plymouth Superbird has been in the ownership of individual. It has had only three owners since new. Since new the car has been treated to a re-paint in its factory-correct livery of Lemon Twist. There is a....[continue reading]
This 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird was delivered to a dealer in Kentucky with the 440 cubic-inch 'Six-Pack' engine producing 390 horsepower and an automatic transmission. It sat on the dealer's lot for eight years until the dealership was close....[continue reading]
This Superbird is 1 of 1935 built for the 1980 model year. The Plymouth Superbird was built to compete in NASCAR Racing. All Superbirds were built between October 23 and December 15, 1969. This particular one was built on November 13th of 1969. ....[continue reading]
The Super Bird was a sub model of Plymouth's popular Road Runner muscle car. Its special sloping nose and astoundingly tall rear spoiler were special modifications to make the model more competitive in the popular NASCAR racing circuit. The original ....[continue reading]
Plymouth wanted a car that could be sold for less than $3,000 and could travel the quarter mile in less than 14 seconds. The car that accomplished these goals was the Roadrunner. The Road Runner was named after a cartoon character that had been mad....[continue reading]
This car is one of 1,920 made, with 1970 the only year of production. The Superbird was a highly modified Road Runner conceived as a homologation special for NASCAR. It turned out to be something of an engineering and political tour de force. Plymout....[continue reading]
This racing Superbird was built by Nichols Engineering, Chrysler Corporation's factory stock car builder. It was delivered new to factory-supported driver Ramo Stott of Keokuk, Iowa. Ramo immediately took the car to Daytona in February 1970, winning ....[continue reading]
This is one of two Superbirds built by Petty. The car won seven races, all on the super speedway tracks of over 1.5 miles. This car has been on display in the den of its current owners house in Virginia and the 2010 Amelia Island Concours was the fir....[continue reading]
This Plymouth Superbird was purchased by the current owner at Altman Kramer Chrysler-Plymouth Dodge in Huntington, Indiana during late March 1970. It is mainly original, barring the one repaint that was executed many years ago. The car was repainted ....[continue reading]
This vehicle is Richard Petty's #43 Superbird which was constructed from a Plymouth/Nichols chassis body-in-white vehicle shell at Petty Enterprises race shop in Level Cross, NC. It is the #43 Superbird that Richard Petty raced throughout the 1970 se....[continue reading]
All Superbirds were built between October 23rd and December 15th of 1969. The actual build date of this Superbird is about December 12th of 1969. It is number 1781 on the NASCAR list of 1920 VINs. It is number 58 in the 26th batch of 28 batches of Su....[continue reading]
Streamlining and aerodynamic force was brought to new heights in NASCAR in 1969 with the winged Dodge Charger Daytona. 1969 racing regulations required that Dodge build only 500 examples. Plymouth decided to emulate the success of the Daytona by intr....[continue reading]