Ask any Mopar fanatic if they have a favorite Mopar and they’ll tell you. Personally, while I love all types of Mopars, B-bodies have a special place in my heart. While I’ve owned an A-body Duster and still want to get my hands on an E-body someday, I’ve always owned multiple B-bodies. Growing up with my 1969 Dodge Charger, those big muscular body lines had me hooked from an early age. For the longest time, I can admit I was only into strictly 1968-1970 examples when it came to B-bodies. It wasn’t until about ten years ago that I started to notice the 1971-1974 examples, especially the 1971s. There was just something about the styling and body lines of the 1971 Dodge and Plymouth B-bodies that I loved. The desire to own one grew more and more with every passing year.
Around 2010, a friend was working on a deal to purchase a restored FJ6 Sassy Grass 1971 Plymouth GTX. Included in the deal was a matching FJ6 GTX parts car that had been pretty heavily parted and cut up. However, it was still build-able. He told me if he bought them, I could have the parts car. This really fueled the desire to have a 1971 B-body. Unfortunately, the deal fell thru so I never was able to get it. Later that year, I found a dark brown 1971 Plymouth Satellite sitting under a bunch of trees. Besides a missing hood and tail light lenses, it was a complete car with the drive train. Rust wasn’t too bad and I saw the potential in it.
I continued to drive past the Satellite for a few more years, never really stopping by to ask about it. In early 2014, I posted a picture of it on Facebook and was immediately messaged by a friend of mine. He knew the owner and said the owner would sell it. Excited, I called the owner and discussed it. The price was right. He said it was at a rental house of his and I was welcome to go by and take a full look at it. After looking at it, I contacted the owner and let him know I wanted it but needed to find a place to store it. He told me “no rush, it wasn’t going anywhere”. While I worked on finding a place to put it, I started thinking about how I’d build it. After some deliberation, I decided I’d build it into an orange 4 speed Road Runner replica (keep this in mind for later)!
Around that time, I was considering selling my 1973 Plymouth Duster so I hummed and hawed about the idea of selling it and using the money to get the Satellite cleaned up and in driver condition; as well as freeing up a parking spot. Around eight months later, I decided I’d sell my Duster to make room and funds available for the Satellite so I drove by the Satellite to check on it; that’s when I noticed it was gone. I contacted the owner to find out if he still had it. That’s when he said, “Some of it is around here somewhere”. It turns out he ended up needing to move the car, so he took it home and chopped it up for parts. I was pretty devastated but realized I should have acted quicker.
In late 2015 and into 2016, I was bit badly by the 1971 Charger bug. I had my sights set on a beautiful 1971 Super Bee replica but after that deal fell through, I starting searching for another 1971 Charger; while keeping 1971 Plymouth B-bodies in the back of my mind. After messaging a good friend 12 hours east of me and discussing purchasing his Citron Yella 1971 Charger R/T project, I made the trek out to his place to buy the car and bring it home in July 2016. I could tell from the minute I left for his place that he really didn’t want to sell the R/T. He had a special place in his heart for the car as he had grown up around it. It was a staple car in his childhood. When he texted me shortly after I left my house to head his way saying “If the R/T doesn’t work out, I may have a 1971 Road Runner or two here that might suit your fancy better”; that had my interest peaked.
After making the drive 12 hours east to his house, I arrived. He started showing me the 1971 Charger R/T explaining its history to him all while constantly hinting that he probably had another car that would be better for me. While I really wanted the R/T, I entertained the idea of something else and took a look at what else he had. After showing me quite a few cars, he asked if I liked 1971 Road Runners. I quickly replied “Definitely!” so he took me over to where he had a couple. One of them caught my eye right away. It was an original 383 4 speed 1971 EV2 Tor Red (orange) Road Runner. To make it even better, it was an original rare Halloween interior (black and orange seats) car! The offer of purchasing that was very tempting but I wanted the R/T more and had traveled all that way to purchase it so I decided to stick with that one and loaded it up.
From the minute I left his place with the R/T in tow, I kept finding myself thinking about the Road Runner. I had the money to purchase it but again found myself with no storage space (story of my life). In September 2016, I started talking to him about the Road Runner. I mentioned my interest in it, in which he replied “If you want the orange Road Runner and would do something with it, I would sell it”. Over the next two months, we chatted about it and finally agreed to a price; a steal in my opinion. By this point we were nearing Christmas time so I decided to purchase it for myself for Christmas. Not only had I purchased my first 4 speed car but I also finally had one of each kind of 1971 B-body but also had one problem; where was I going to put it?
Over the next five months, I kept thinking of a place to put it. If you don’t know me, you have to know that I literally have cars stored EVERYWHERE. All of my newer stuff is at my house however all of my older Mopars are in various storage locations at both family and friend’s houses. It was around this time that I finally decided I was going to part out and cut up my 1970 Coronet I’ve had stored at my mom’s since 2012; something I had thought about for a few years now. It’s simply too far gone. When I found out the headache it would be to try and get the registration; that was the nail in the coffin. After explaining to my mom that I needed a place to put the Road Runner, she told me if I got rid of the Coronet I could put it there. Perfect.
At the end of June, I made the 12 hour trek out to my friend’s place to pick up the Road Runner. I hauled another friend’s 1969 Super Bee project to his new place on the way and then continued on to where the Road Runner was. I spent the entire weekend there and I must say; it was the best time I have ever had while buying a car. I really do have to thank him and his wife for all their hospitality!
Now let’s get into the details of the car itself. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a 1971 Plymouth Road Runner that came from the factory with a 383-4bbl 4 speed. It was EV2 Tor Red with the Halloween interior. Orange is my favorite colour so this combo is a definite win for me. It’s a pretty basic bare bones car built in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Based on the fender tag decoding, it also came equipped with a 22 inch radiator, AM radio, dual exhaust and the V21 performance hood treatment. Stripe delete car. Based on looking at the car and older pictures of it, it also looks like it came with the A87 Road Runner Décor Group, hood pins and rubber bumper guards/strips too but I have to try and dig out a build sheet to confirm those.
Much of the history of the car is unknown. I’ve been told it was a central Alberta car much of its life, possibly sold new at Turnbull Motors in Edmonton, Alberta. Another friend of mine knows the car and has since the ‘80s. He sent me a picture of it parked in a trailer park in the early- mid ‘80s. In the picture, you can see it sitting out in the snow wearing 14” Road wheels and a CB antenna drilled into the Dutchman panel (it still has that hole!). There is a “Parks Canada” decal on the windshield from 1985. In the mid-late ‘80s, the Road Runner suffered a pretty hard hit after it collided with a fire hydrant according to rumors. The accident caused pretty heavy damage to the entire passenger front corner. Thankfully, the hood was spared for the most part. The original 383 and 4 speed set-up was taken out and sold and the car has been off the road since. In the early ’90s, my friend found it sitting on an acreage near Millet, Alberta and purchased it. He’s had it sitting in storage ever since until I purchased it last month. The friend who took the picture of it at the trailer park earlier on also sent me pictures of it sitting in a storage yard in the late ’80s- early ’90s.
For now, the Road Runner has been placed in storage. The plans are to simply clean it, empty out the various parts and document everything. It needs quite a bit of rust and accident damage repairs but eventually, it will be restored back to stock with a few additions such as front and rear spoilers and Rallye wheels.