1968 Plymouth Road Runner
No other car in American automotive history captured the imagination as did the 1968 Plymouth Road Runner. This car had the distinction of being named after one of the most popular cartoon characters of all time, Warner Bros. "Road Runner". Plymouth even paid a reported sum of around $50k just to option the name. The lightweight muscle car even sported a decal of the Road Runner cartoon which added even more pop culture to this class muscle car.
The 1968 Plymouth Road Runner made history in more than one way. First of all the aforementioned Warner Bros. association, but also, it was designed and engineered to cut the fat off muscle cars of the day and get back to the basics of what muscle cars were originally created. Low cost and powerful, and when it came to no frills, only walking could beat the Road Runner. Inside was just two bench seats seating six, a dashboard with speedometer and basic gauges, no radio, no air conditioning or other creature comforts. You got into this car and drove fast. That was it.
However, to Chrysler's surprise they thought they would sell roughly 2,000 plus models but instead broke industry expectations by selling over 45,000 1968 Plymouth Road Runner cars! The name must have caught on and the low price tag of just under $3,000. It was an affordable, popular, powerful muscle car. It's basic construction allowed for customizers to go wild. People made careers creating dashboard modifications, seats, carpeting, and more. It was a blank canvas on which anyone could paint and be even cooler.
This car was no joke regarding power though. This B Body platform had a standard MOPAR 383 cid which brought it to 335 bhp and a torque of 425 lb-ft. Reinforced suspensions, four speed manual transmission. You could even spend a $714 more to have a 426 Hemi put in. The 440 Magnum was the base here. So you're talking about a V8 that could do the 1/4 mile in 13.5 seconds at just a wee bit over 100 mph thanks again to the MOPAR 383 cid, manifolds, valve springs, camshafts, and crankcase windage tray.
You've got to take notice of the 1968 Plymouth Road Runner because of all it achieved. It hit all it's marks and more. It nailed the marketing name from a popular cartoon, caprtured the public's imagination and admiration, combined a powerful engine in a lighter weight car that took engineers back to where muscle cars were supposed to be. It met it's market price, exceeded it's sales projections 20 times over, made it in the history books several times over and is still the subject of enthusiasts, collectors, photographers, movies, and more. The toy model kits and toy cars like Hot Wheels featured the 1968 Plymouth Road Runner and it just will not, will not go away in charm and legend.
In those days you would actually see parents, teenagers, college kids, clergy even driving around in a Road Runner. You would also see people pass these cars down and today you'll see them driving around all polished up proudly displayed.