When it came to Mopars and memorabilia, there was no doubt that Steven Juliano had one of the best collections of both. Among a building full of incredible memorabilia and automotive art work sat some of the coolest and rarest Mopars ever built. Many knew of Steven’s collection that included a couple very rare Mod-Top ‘Cudas and three of the legendary Plymouth Rapid Transit System (RTS) factory show cars.
However, it’s been said that over his 30 years of collecting, Steven liked to remain pretty private with everything. That being said though, despite his best efforts to keep under the radar, stories of his collection would eventually spread through-out the Mopar community. Over the years, he managed to keep his collection pretty private and only a select few would be allowed to see his collection in person. With Steven’s collection, it was never about bragging rights or anything like that; he simply just wanted to ensure the preservation of these incredible cars and their history.
Sadly, Steven passed away in September 2018 after a nearly ten year battle with pancreatic cancer. In the time before his passing, Steven had been working with Bob Ashton from the Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals (MCACN) for close to two years preparing for the showing of his RTS show cars. Although he passed away before the show took place, the show went on and the cars were displayed together as a tribute to Steven. This was a huge moment in the Mopar world as these cars had never been shown together publicly anywhere or any time; even back in the day!
After the show, many wondered what would happen to Steven’s collection. There were rumors that Steven had arranged for everything to stay together or at the very least, the three RTS cars to say together should he pass away. Unfortunately, it’s been recently announced that his cars will be heading to the Mecum Auction in Indianapolis this May and on top of that, the three RTS cars have been listed individually.
While there is a strong chance they will be separated after that point and go to various collections, we certainly hope they get purchased by one buyer and end up staying together. That being said, we’re going to take a look at some of these incredible cars that made up Steven’s legendary collection.
In 1970, five cars made up the new Rapid Transit System performance marketing program, Plymouth’s version of Dodge’s Scat Pack Program. These cars consisted of the Road Runner, GTX, Sport Fury GT, ‘Cuda and the Duster 340. To promote these five vehicles, Plymouth had a RTS Caravan road show display that toured around various dealerships nationwide. To draw extra attention to the road show, three different custom “show cars” were built throughout 1970 and 1971.
LOT R254: 1971 Plymouth Road Runner RTS Show Car
Known as Steven’s favorite and most cherished possession, this ’71 Road Runner RTS show car also happened to be the first RTS car in his collection. Nicknamed the “Chicken Head Car” thanks to it’s unique three-dimensional vacuum-formed translucent Road Runner logo marker lamps, this car was the star of the 1971 model releases for Plymouth. With the new re-designed Road Runner body release coming for 1971, a young Chuck Miller was given the task of building a show car to join the Rapid Transit System Caravan traveling road show. Chuck was known in Detroit as a major part of the first Hurst Olds among other projects so Chrysler Corporation had him and his company, Styline Custom build the car.
Chuck’s styling changes to the car included a custom-molded front end that extended the car’s overall length by more than 6 inches. This custom front end also included a built-in roll pan, hand-formed steel mesh grille and covered headlamps. The hand-formed rear roll pan concealed red, green and amber tail lenses. On the hood, ram-air induction scoops were added and out back, a molded aerodynamic rear spoiler was formed and blended in, with the deck lid recessed downward 4 inches. The car was painted an orange candy-over-pearl blend with white pearl two-tone. It sits on custom black pan wheel covers wrapped in Goodyear Polyglas GT tires.
Under the hood is standard Road Runner equipment; a 383 big block backed by a 727 Torqueflite automatic transmission. It came equipped with a black bucket-seat interior, center console, Tuff wheel, AM radio, power steering and power brakes along with the legendary “Machine Gun” exhaust tips. To make this car even cooler, it holds Serial No. 100016 along with a tag stating ” Job 169″ meaning it was likely a pilot car.
After being toured around for quite a while, it ended up back in Chuck’s possession when the tour finished. The rumor was that Chuck had absolutely no intent on ever selling it, however he offered the car to Steven after he contacted him about any RTS memorabilia he may have. Steven jumped at the chance to own the car and made it a part of his collection. Today, it remains totally un-restored with only 1,300 miles on the clock!
LOT R255: 1970 Hemi Road Runner RTS Show Car
The second RTS car in Steven’s collection, this 1970 Road Runner just so happens to also be a factory R-Code 426 Hemi car! With a scheduled production date of August 20th, 1969, this very early production Road Runner was sent to Roman’s Chariot Shop in Cleveland, Ohio where it received it’s custom body work modifications and custom paint. These custom modifications included 9-inch square Cibie headlights with a plastic honeycomb grille, a blended rear spoiler, a one-piece tail-lens insert, shaved door handles, custom-painted outside sport mirrors and 4-inch rear wheel flares. The custom paint consists of candy gold and white with black graphics along with an oversize “dust trail” and large Road Runner icon. It did retain it’s stock N96 Air Grabber hood.
Under the hood sits a stock 426 Hemi with a 727 HD Torqueflite automatic transmission and a 4.10 geared Dana 60 rear end. The car is optioned with a black bucket-seat interior, center console, wood-grain dash inserts, Tic-Toc-Tach, 150 MPH speedometer and an AM radio. It rides on Ansen Sprint slotted wheels with special wide-tread Goodyear tires.
Steven and Ed Meyer discovered the car in 1991 after they took a bunch of ads out in local newspapers all over the place searching for the other cars. A friend of the owner made contact with Steven and things progressed from there. The car showed 1,700 miles on the clock and was located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Apparently, the car ended up in the hands of a big-league sports guy who sent the car to a local shop to be made into a race car.
He was eventually cut by his sports team and lost interest in the car. It would eventually be sold to a fellow who worked at a GM plant as an union negotiator, who rarely drove it and kept it stored inside his garage for most of his ownership. Steven quickly verified that it was indeed the RTS car and managed to purchase it. In 2000, it was sent to Ken Hackett for a full restoration.
LOT R258: 1970 Plymouth Duster 340 RTS Show Car
The last RTS show car to join Steven’s collection was this custom 1970 Plymouth Duster 340 built by fabricator Byron Grenfel. The car was displayed for quite a while then sent back to Byron for a complete restyling refresh for 1971. It’s this 1971 configuration that the car still displays. Changes for the 1971 show circuit included the functional brake air intakes in the front valance, custom color-keyed outside mirrors, simulated rear-roof air vents, roof spoiler lip, a flip-open gas cap, a custom upper front-grille filler, custom headlamp enclosures, custom tail lamps.
Everything was then topped off with a crazy psychedelic paint job along with a 340 hood callout and custom striping. It sits on a set of American Racing slotted Dragmaster wheels with color-matched center sections and Goodyear tires.
Since the car was rarely displayed with it’s hood open, the Duster has a stock looking 340-4bbl sitting between the fenders backed by a 4-speed and 3.91 geared 8 3/4 rear end. On the inside, the white bucket seat interior is stock with the exception of some aftermarket gauges and Mod-Top style floor mats. The glove box is signed by builder Byron Grenfel and RTS Show Promotions Manager Bob Larivee.
The Duster changed hands before ending up in an urban Detroit parking facility in 1982 where it sat basically abandoned until a friend of Steven’s came across the car in 1995. Needing to have it, Steven made quiet inquires about the car and it’s owner, trying to purchase it. Six months later, the car sold at a private auction, where Steven happened to be the sole bidder. The car was in worn shape but was now all Steven’s. It even came with a machete, spare bullets and women’s undergarments in the trunk! After extensive research, it was determined that it was indeed both the first and second RTS Duster. In 2000, it was sent to Mopar specialist Roger Gibson for a full restoration back to it’s 1971 configuration.
LOT R257: 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger 340 Concept Car
Another special part of Steven’s collection was this 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger 340 “Concept Car”, built by the Alexander Brothers in Detroit. Commissioned by the Chrysler Corporation, it was built for major auto show use and would be revealed to the public at the 1969 Chicago Auto Show. Being as it was a concept car and not a show car like the RTS cars, these ones were often stuffed away in long term storage or even destroyed after the corporation was done using them so it’s a bit of a miracle that this car survived.
This custom Dart was heavily modified with square Cibie headlamps and a pair of fog lamps wrapped with a custom grille. On the hood sits a custom “faux” air intake and out back is a specially molded rear spoiler and custom tail lamps that almost mimic those found on a ’69 Coronet R/T. The door handles were removed and a flip-top fuel-cap from a Charger was installed. The car was painted candy Maroon Metallic with a black Scat stripe over the rear.
Under the hood sits a stock 340-4bbl engine with a 4-speed transmission. Being as these cars were built for stationary display, the wiper windshields were deleted and items such as the windshield wiper motor and reservoir are non-functioning and simply there for looks. Inside, you’ll find a stock black bucket-seat interior with a factory Hurst shifter. The radio was also deleted. It sits on a set of period-correct Ansen Sprint slotted mags with Goodyear tires.
After Chrysler was finished showing the car, it remained off the radar for many years until Steven was able to track it down and purchase it. He had a full restoration performed on the car using original and NOS parts.
LOT R256: 1969 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S Mod Top
One of the coolest options available on Mopars back in the day was the rare “Mod Top” option. For a number of years, Steven’s collection featured a Y2 Sunfire Yellow 1969 Formula S Barracuda example and an even rarer F8 Green 1970 Hemi ‘Cuda example. The ’70 which happened to be 1 of 1 was sadly stolen from Steven in spring of 2016 and never recovered.
Sold new at Goddard Motors, Inc. in Jennings, Missouri, this Formula S is one of 937 Barracudas produced with a Mod Top in 1969. To make it even rarer, it is a Y13 coded dealer demonstrator along with the fact that it is a real A53 Formula S Package model. Documented with the original window sticker, this Fish also came equipped with a 340-4bbl engine, 727 Torqueflite automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, bumper guards, A/C, A01 Light Group, deluxe Solid State AM/FM radio and variable-speed wipers. It was also optioned with deluxe wheel covers and redline tires.