By on July 14, 2012

We got an overview of Colorado’s Brain-Melting Junkyard yesterday, and today we’ll take a closer look at one of its residents. This is one of the rarest of Road Runners, a one-year-only version that was based on the downsized B-Body Fury
The original 1968-70 Road Runner was quite a deal for muscle car shoppers; you got the same kind of absurd power as the Pontiac GTO and Ford Cobra Jet Torino, but cheaper. Plenty of these cars survive today, but most of us can’t afford a nice one (though a Road Runner-ized Belvedere could be built on a more limited budget). However, you can afford a genuine 1975 Road Runner… if you can find one.
The interior shows some Cordoba influence. I wonder if those buckets are covered in Corinthian Leather.
I always enjoy the simplicity of factory AM radios of the 1960s and 1970s. The crazy thing is how expensive car audio gear was back then; this radio was probably a $200 option.
The hood release was broken, so I didn’t get any shots of the smog-gear-strangled 318 or 360 that almost certainly lives in this car. 1975 model-year cars are emissions-exempt in most states, so it would be easy to upgrade this car to proper power levels.
Here’s the only thing I bought during my visit to this yard; I saw the Kansas Wheat Centennial license plate on this car and had to have it for garage decoration. Five bucks well spent!

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21 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1975 Plymouth Road Runner...”

  • avatar

    I spotted this Roadrunner in the article yesterday, so I for one am glad you covered it! This year is certainly not my favorite, but it seems somewhat better than the final generation built of off the Aspen/Volare platform.

    I see this specimen lacks the “tunnel” graphics on the trunk face around the key opening.

    400c.i. was the top engine for this year, but with a junkyard 5.7 or 6.1/5-speed auto swap, and a heavy dose of Ricardo-love on the inside, this could be a nice cruiser.

    • 0 avatar

      Or if someone were to turn something like this into a restomod, I could easily see an Arrington Performance 3G 426 Hemi under the hood, with an Art Morrison chassis to take care of the handling. :)

  • avatar

    The reason one can take a ’68 belvedere and convert it to a road runner cheap is the tremendously large aftermarket that now exists. One can get anything, from headliners to body panels to trim fasteners, directly shipped to your door over the internet. This model here? Absolutely no aftermarket support. While it might make a theoretical cool ride, you’ll spend 20 years tracking down that missing tail light lens.

    I can see the attraction, though, as this model has certain amenities the early road runners didn’t. Such as factory A/C, front disk brakes, more modern suspension, power steering, power brakes, etc. Much easier to drive daily that most anything from the 1960’s. Plus the engine bay will basically hold anything mother mopar makes.

    • 0 avatar

      These cars have the same great suspension setup as the earlier models. However starting in 1971 they started adding thick, hollow rubber bushings every place they could in an effort to increase isolation from the road.
      The result was these cars didn’t handle as well as the 68-70 models. However the aftermarket now makes full sets of solid bushings for them, as well as sway bars and other goodies. Power stering and a/c were options on the 68-70 models. The Paddock sells
      Virtually every trim part, interior piece and body panel for the 60-70 models, and they are starting to make alot of those parts for 71-74 models since the popularity of those has started to take off over the past decade or so. Pretty much every mechanical bit from the early models interchanges with these cars.

      • 0 avatar

        My point on the options is not that they weren’t available in ’68, but by ’75 almost every car rolling out the factory had them. Try finding a ’68 road runner with disk brakes, A/C, power, etc. for a reasonable price. Quite hard. Now try finding a 1975 any-model without those options.

      • 0 avatar

        I would bet that at least half of the 1st gen road runners were ordered with power steering, if not more. More than a few were ordered with a/c and disc brakes. It doesn’t matter, because if you want that stuff it’s easy to add. I wouldn’t want to do that to a show quality concours original though. In a case like that you are better off either starting with a rough car or a belvedere.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, having been a copywriter for Year One, I know how easy (and relatively inexpensive, compared to the real numbers-matching thing) it is to turn a (Tempest/Skylark/Firebird/Belvedere/etc) into a (GTO/GS/Trans Am/Road Runner/etc). I was the one who wrote the catalog copy aimed at talking folks into doing just that.

  • avatar

    I forgot to mention that I have vivid memories of this car from back in the day. In 1975, the deadly rival of my Little League team was sponsored by the local Dodge-Plymouth dealership. At one game, the enemy coach showed up driving one of these cars, apparently loaned to him by the sponsors. “MEEP-MEEP! MEEP-MEEP!” said the Road Runner’s horn. I thought that was pretty cool. We lost the game, of course.

  • avatar

    This is a good ‘beater-project’ car. Upgrade the drivetrain, chassis, but 1975 specific body/interior parts would be hard to find. Just drive it with the ‘patina’.

    The tail lens was used in 75-78 coupes, but would have to search eB, or get Dodge ones. For interior, just use Cordoba stuff.

  • avatar

    The only thing that worries me is the floor looks almost completely rusted through. Still the level at which that body looks it is totally rescuable and the sheer number of viper engines out there would make this car an interesting ride. It doesn’t seem to have that north 40 good so many other ’70s cars suffer from. I wonder how much he would want for it?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Looks great from the front, a little TLC and it could be a fun ride for some Mopar fan.

  • avatar

    Interesting, Hemmings Muscle Machines did a piece on one of these recently. I actually kinda dig them in an oddball way.

  • avatar


    if it wasn’t so far away, I’d love to take a short at buying it. It’s looks great to me!

  • avatar

    When the dealer screwed up my ’74 Roadrunner order and resubmitted it, they told me it was right at the end of the ’74 build and had to call in a favor to get it done, but it might come as a ’75 instead. I told them if it did, “Forget it!”, but they assured me they would find me a ’74 someplace if it came as a ’75. I was so happy when the transport passed me and I saw it wasn’t one of the hideous (And I still feel the same way about the styling change)’75’s. On the truck with my car was a ’75, painted the same color Silver Frost Metallic, with red stripes. That car sat on the lot a LONG time.

    • 0 avatar

      I have to agree with you on the 75-up body style. I thought they were pretty ugly when they came out. Even though my taste has mellowed some with old age I still don’t like the looks of them.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      I looked up the 1974 Road Runner and good gawd! I can fully understand why you refused that 1975!

  • avatar

    Amongst rear drive Mopars, the only vehicles that might rank lower on the desirability scale are the Volare Road Runner and the Aspen R/T. Though it doesn’t look bad by 70s standards, it was a dreadful car. Not fast, dreadful assembly quality, rust prone, and poor fuel management and electrics. It might be okay if one were to indulge in what is popularly referred to as a restomod. Howevever, you’d NEVER get your money back out of it.

    There are still lots of b-bodies out there more deserving of salvation.

    • 0 avatar

      Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t mind doing an Aspen R/T or Volare Road Runner restomod. With the proper financial resources, I could install a custom chassis and a 3G Hemi in one of these.

    • 0 avatar

      The first two years of Aspen/Volare were fraught with problems, with the most notable being prematurely rusting front fenders.In what I believe is still the most costly in the company’s history, Chrysler recalled every ’77 & ’78 and replaced the fenders. The hard starting and stalling problems were not completely addressed however, and with “unauthorized” adjustments could be made to run very well. The quality issues were pretty much resolved after 1977. Although I never owned one, those cars always seemed more solid, softer, and much more pleasurable than the GM and Ford competition (especially the Granada).

      For what it’s worth, we saw very few Mopars of that vintage in the shop for transmission repairs, even though these cars got the smaller A904 Torqueflite. The Fords and GMs kept us real busy in those years. Chrysler was the last to cheapen their auto tranny. Occasionally we’ll do a GTO or Chevelle tranny from this period as a restore, but haven’t seen a ’70s Ford product in a long time. We have done a rebuild on a couple of old Volares in the last few years that are still daily drivers, both had over 200,000 miles on them.

      I must be the odd-ball, but I sort of like the post ’74 Plymouth Furys, which I think were better looking than the Road Runners of the same years. I recently spotted a ’75 Fury in Pennsylvania that I thought was a sharp looking car.

  • avatar

    With a bit of attention, especially to the floors and interior, that would make an excellent weekend runabout.

  • avatar

    What is that car doing in the junkyard? It seems restorable to me. N.A.D.A. now has the high retail value of 1975 Roadrunners at more than $20,000. I wonder how that car got to be junked so early. With 1975 license plates on it, could it really have been junked after less than a year?


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