It was late 2017 and Christopher Hausch of Germany decided that it was time to sell his 1968 Dodge Charger to make his lifelong dream come true of owning an original Hemi car. He explains, “My Charger was beautiful. I spent quite a long time restoring it myself and it had a really powerful stroker engine under the hood but it just wasn’t the Hemi car that I always wanted.” After selling his Charger a short time later, Christopher started his hunt for an original Hemi car.
It didn’t take long before he came across a white ’69 Plymouth Hemi Road Runner for sale in the United States at a company called Gateway Classic Cars. “There wasn’t much information or pictures on the listing for the car but I really liked it from the first moment I saw it. Something about it spoke to me,” he says. Christopher reached out to the company and asked a bunch of questions about it, hoping to learn more about the quality and condition of the car. He continues to say, “I asked about the condition of critical B-Body areas such as the trunk floor and rear window area. I also asked about the body stampings to make sure they all matched.”
As it turns out, the company was actually acting as a consignment agent for the owner of the car and realistically, nobody there really knew much about the car; so Christopher found that he didn’t get much for answers to his questions. During his email conversations with the company trying to find out what he could about the Road Runner, the car was removed from the company’s showroom and returned back home to the original seller.
Despite that, Christopher noticed that the Road Runner remained listed online on their website and that the price was actually getting cheaper as the days went by; something relatively unheard of for an original Hemi car. He says, “I checked in on the listing one day and noticed that the price had been reduced quite a lot. It was absolutely mind blowing considering it was an original J-code Hemi Road Runner! The next few nights, I couldn’t sleep. It’s all I could think about. I reached back out the Gateway and told them I wanted to buy it. That’s when they told me that the owner decided that he wanted to keep the car and it wasn’t really for sale anymore.”
Disappointed, Christopher continued on his search and spent the next few days looking for other Hemi Road Runners for sale. While he had found a couple, he just couldn’t get the white one out of his head. He decided to take another swing at it and got a hold of Gateway again. “I sent them an offer and was told no, he wanted to keep the car. After I sent them two further higher offers, they replied saying that the owner had decided to accept my offer and let the car go. I couldn’t believe it! I had just bought an original ’69 Hemi Road Runner! However, I had just bought it sight unseen from half way across the world, didn’t really have much information on it and quite frankly, I probably paid too much for it. I realized that I must have been insane!” he laughs.
Two months later in May of 2018, the Road Runner arrived in Germany at Christopher’s house. This was his first time truly seeing exactly what he bought. Much to his surprise, the car was actually in very good shape and close to how it would have rolled out of the dealership. The Road Runner had no rust, no signs of bondo and all of the body stampings were original and matched perfectly.
Since he lived right in the Bavarian Alps, they had just received a huge snowfall so the Road Runner was put away until the snow disappeared. Christopher got to work replacing all of the hoses and belts for peace of mind along with rebuilding the carburetor. Once the snow disappeared, he started driving it; racking up around 1,600 miles over the 2018 car show season.
Over the next little bit, he spent quite a bit of time researching the Road Runner’s history. He managed to get a hold of one of the previous owners and found out that the car had been featured in a couple of magazines in 2002 and 2003. In the 2003 article, Christopher learned that it was owned by a father and son. They had purchased the car, did a bunch of work to it and took it to numerous car shows as well as the drag strip. He reached out to the pair from that article and they were happy to hear that the car was alive and well with a new life in Germany.
Christopher says, “They told me a lot about the car’s history. It was purchased new in Yreka, California and the original owner must have loved racing taking into consideration the car’s options along with the various race track decals that are still on the car.” It rolled out of the factory on December 19th, 1968 wearing W1 Alpine White paint with a blue bucket and buddy seat interior. The options were pretty basic but included the A32 Super Performance Axle Package, N85 tachometer and the Hemi’s standard N96 Air Grabber. According to Christopher, it’s one of only two white ’69 Hemi Road Runner hardtops known to exist currently.
Around 1974, the timing chain broke and severely damaged the engine. The owner decided that he didn’t want to deal with fixing it or finding a new engine so he stuffed it away in his garage and didn’t touch it after that. At some point in the 1990’s, the Road Runner changed hands and ended up getting a new replacement Mopar Performance crate Hemi in-lieu of the original Hemi. At the end of 2004, the father and son duo decided to sell the car due to some financial problems. After that, the Road Runner was sold a few more times and bounced between different owners before ending up with the fellow that Christopher bought it off of.
After driving it for the 2018 car show season, Christopher realized that the car had a few problems that he wanted to get taken care of, such as an oil leak. He decided to pull the engine and transmission and have them sent out for rebuilds. He shares, “I sent the engine to a very good friend of mine, Peter Schöfer. Peter was a professional German drag racer who owned “Peter Schöfer Racing”. He rebuilt the engine and did an absolutely fantastic job. Sadly, my Hemi was the last engine he rebuilt as he lost his courageous battle against cancer earlier this year. I will always have a special connection to my Hemi knowing that he built it.”
In the spring of 2019, the Road Runner was back on the road and drove better than ever. That August, Christopher took it to a drag racing event at a local Airport and ran a 12.8 second quarter mile with very little tuning done. Since then, he continues to drive it, take it racing and just overall enjoying every minute of driving it!