Maxim Vintage Car Shopper: 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner

It’s got a silly cartoon name and a serious live-action V8.
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It’s got a silly cartoon name and a serious live-action V8.

The Year: 1968

The Model: Plymouth Roadrunner

The Drivetrain: The Roadrunner is motivated by a Mopar 383 with upgraded heads, crankshafts and manifolds from a 440 Magnum. That means a 6.3-liter V8 routed through a four-speed manual to the rear wheels—this is a muscle car, how could it be anything else?

Favorite Five Points:

  1. We usually think of burgundy as a color for Mercedes 280SEs or Bentley S3s, but it turns out great hunks of Americana look awesome in the color of dried blood. An immaculate black interior is appropriately serious for a performance car.
  2. Chrome wheels belong only on Jaguars from the eighties and muscle cars from the sixties—these five spokes are perfect, and a hefty amount of sidewall will keep the ride cushy enough for cruising.
  3. The horizontal speedometer is quintessentially sixties, as is the cue-ball shifter.
  4. The twin exhausts protrude beyond the bumper. The DOT regulation that outlawed such a feature is among our least favorite.
  5. Nothing says cruising, cuddling, and Drive-In Movie shenanigans like front bench seat. Or, squeeze friends in four across.

Quirks:

  • Build quality on late sixties American cars is infamously low, so though you’ll cruise in style, be prepared for some creaks.
  • A car of this vintage requires attention: adjusting carburetors, fixing radiators, stemming leaks. But then again, isn’t that engagement part of the fun of vintage car ownership?
  • The roadrunner is fun, fast and outrageous (in terms of both power and the Warner Bros-supplied engine decals), but it’s not a marquis name like the GTO, Charger, or Nova.

Good Buy? For just under $35,000, we can think of few cars that would be as much fun as this Roadrunner. A recent restoration means all the problems will have been sorted before your tenure, so you can relax and focus on more important aspects of muscle-car ownership, like painting elevenses, revving the V8 at stop-signs and finding the perfect windows-down boulevard.