1969 Plymouth Road Runner Ditches Factory 383 V8 for Six-Barrel / Air Grabber Combo

1969 Plymouth Road Runner 11 photos
Photo: Gause Garage/YouTube
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When it comes to classic muscle cars, the all-original and numbers-matching rigs are the most desirable and valuable out there. And things obviously become pretty much perfect if the said vehicle is restored and packs a high-compression big-block V8. But these cars are hard to get.
There are many reasons for that. For starters, many muscle cars were abused, crashed, or dumped into junkyards. Many of those that survived had their original mills replaced. Not to mention that high-compression big-block rigs sport lower production numbers due to the expensive insurance rates they came with at the time.

Speaking of which, most numbers-matching survivors are pretty expensive nowadays. As in, they change hands for six-figure sums. And based on how the market is doing right now, they will only get pricier with time. But you know what? You don't really need matching numbers and factory-correct features to own a cool muscle car. And this 1969 Plymouth Road Runner is the perfect proof.

Spotted at a local car show in Florida, this Mopar is not one of those overly modified classics. You could actually mistake it for a stock Road Runner from a distance. That's because only the wheels set it apart from a factory 1969 example. But even though they're larger and shinier than usual, they don't look out of place.

The bright green also seems in line with what Plymouth offered at the time. It looks a lot like Rallye Green to me, and it makes for a great combo with the white interior. Nothing beats white seats and door panels in a car finished in a bright, metallic paint in my book.

The biggest surprise concerning this Road Runner hides under the hood. Initially born with a 383-cubic-inch (6.3-liter) V8, this Mopar now packs a 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) powerhouse. Better yet, it's the Six-Barrel version (Dodge called it the Six-Pack), which features a trio of two-barrel carburetors instead of a four-barrel carb like on the regular 440.

When new, this lump delivered 390 horsepower, precisely 15 horses more than the four-barrel variant. It was also only 35 horsepower less potent than the mighty 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) HEMI V8. And you know what's cool about this swap? It's as period correct as they get because the Road Runner was offered with both the 383 and 440 Six-Barrel in 1969.

We could call it an aftermarket upgrade, which is something we can also say about the Air Grabber hood. Now, if this Road Runner had been an authentic Six-Barrel car, we'd be looking at one of only 1,412 units built. If we also factor in the hardtop roof and the four-speed manual, it would have been one of 422 built like this.

But that's obviously not the case. Instead, this Mopar was one of 21,278 hardtops that left the assembly line with the 383 V8 and the four-speed gearbox in 1969, the Road Runner's best-selling year. But that doesn't make it less appealing. Classic cars shouldn't be all about production numbers and rare options. This one seems to be about the owner enjoying a finely restored vehicle, and that's exactly what makes it perfect. Check it out in the video below.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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