We shared the story of how a 1968 matching numbers Plymouth Road Runner came across our path late last year. We would have loved to take on this restoration but just couldn’t swing it at this time. So, we took several detailed pictures and published the story in hopes that we could help this bad bird find a good home.
After our buddy, Eric Douthitt read the article, he and his son, Collin, stopped by our shop and the conversation quickly turned to the Hemi ‘bird. After a couple of cold ones, he said, “I know a guy who just finished his ’68 Hemi Charger build and he might be interested in a new project.” We said give him a call and in a few days the communications began.
Brian and Eric have known each other since they were kids way up in Milwaukee, WI. Being true Mopar guys and good friends, they have kept up contact with each other all these years. Brian owns a body shop and has built and restored many cars over the years.
As fate would have it (even though he said he would never fully restore another car) the thought of owning a matching number, real ’68 Hemi Road Runner with black exterior, silver and black bench seats, and best of all, a post roof just wouldn’t leave him alone.
Since it was just after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, the owner was out of the country visiting family. But thanks to phone calls, texts, and emails, plus our documentation of the car, a deal was struck. Now the challenge was getting the totally disassembled car and all the extra parts from Tennessee to Wisconsin in the dead of winter.
Once the owner got back in the States (a real challenge with the COVID thing) Brian headed south with a huge cargo delivery van, an enclosed trailer, and a four-door tow vehicle with an open bed. The fact that the “Bad Bird” was still on a rotisserie, and there were pallets of parts, every inch of these vehicles was needed combined with a whole lotta creative packing to get it all loaded.
The date was agreed on and everyone convened at the shop in Tullahoma, TN. Eric, his friend Dave, and this author made the trek and met up with Brian, and two his two buddies who came down to help load the car. The owner of the Hemi ‘Runner, his partner, and another shop employee all make up the small army assembled to get the car loaded and back to Milwaukee.
Right off the bat, thank God for a forklift. With the extra equipment we were able to take the Road Runner off of the rotisserie and reconfigure how the car was mounted so it would fit on the trailer. We assembled as many parts as possible onto the shell and then began packing all the remaining parts into every nook and cranny that was available. Most of the parts were on skids so loading them with the fork-lift into the transport vehicles was much easier than doing everything piece by piece.
After everything was loaded, the paperwork was completed, then the Hemi ‘bird migrated north and now is undergoing a complete nut-and-bolt restoration. Brian is committed to doing this car completely correct and original. We at Mopar Connection Magazine will be helping Brian make sure to get this bird back and restored to its original glory.
We are also happy to announce that our great friends at YearOne are gong to help sponsor the restoration of this original Hemi Road Runner. So, you will see future articles following the journey of bringing the dead back to life as we continue to document the restoration.