The 1971 Plymouth Road Runner, Parked for Decades, Conceals a Curious 'Upgrade' from 40 Years Ago - 21

Step into the time capsule of 1971, a pivotal year for the Road Runner family, where Plymouth unveiled notable changes to its iconic lineup.

At the heart of these changes lay the legendary Street Hemi, a powerhouse that was nearing its final bow. With Plymouth already laying the groundwork for its retirement, only a fortunate 55 Road Runners would have the privilege of sporting this remarkable engine.

The winds of transformation also touched the 440 Six Pack option, as Plymouth shifted its focus towards other engines in the lineup—engines that may not have been as intimidating but certainly carried a more fuel-efficient demeanor.

Bid farewell to the Road Runner convertible in 1971, as it gracefully exited the lineup, leaving behind only the two-door hardtop variant. Under the hood of the base model roared a 383 four-barrel unit, delivering a robust 300 horsepower.

However, the menu of optional powertrains offered a tantalizing array of choices, including the 340 V8 with 275 horsepower, the 440 Six Barrel with a formidable 385 horsepower, and the awe-inspiring 426 Hemi, boasting an earth-shaking 425 horsepower.

Among the 14,218 Road Runners produced that year, over 11,600 were equipped with the potent 383, leaving just 1,681 units with the 340. The Hemi, as expected, claimed the crown as the rarest of the breed.

Fast forward to the present, and we have a 1971 Road Runner that recently graced eBay. Born with a 340, it underwent a transformation in the '80s, swapping its heart for a 383. Seller millevoi didn't divulge the specifics of the engine swap, but it's likely the owner made the change to enhance the vehicle's market appeal.

A 383-equipped Road Runner typically commands a premium of 15 to 20 percent over a 340 in restored condition. Such a conversion, especially considering the scarcity of 340-powered Road Runners in 1971, suggests the owner's intent was to embark on a full restoration project, destined for a new home. However, it appears that fate had other plans, and the project was left in limbo.

For decades, this Road Runner sat in solitude until the seller, millevoi, decided it was time to awaken the beast from its slumber. The listing is somewhat scant on details, but the discerning eye can discern the vehicle's sturdy condition.

The 383 still comes to life and runs with an alternative fuel source, though a comprehensive revitalization may be necessary to bring it back to its former glory. Tasks like cleaning or replacing the gas tank and other essentials could be on the to-do list.

With its appealing appearance, it's no surprise that this Road Runner has garnered significant attention on eBay. At the time of writing, the auction has seen a flurry of 42 bids, with the highest offer reaching an enticing $8,500.

The digital showdown will conclude in just four days, and given the absence of a reserve, this Road Runner is destined to embark on a new adventure in the hands of its next fortunate owner later this week—barring any unforeseen twists in the tale.

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