One of the coolest things about old cars are the stories behind them. We firmly believe that every car has a unique story that needs to be told. When it comes to Bob Hintz’s 1971 Plymouth Road Runner, it has a story full of tragedy and triumph. One that could of ended very badly but instead, turned out to be a silver lining.
Bob tells us, “It was Christmas of 2013 and I had a Harley I was trying to get rid of. I really wanted a 1971-1972 Plymouth Road Runner so I decided to take a look on Kijiji. I came across a ’71 Road Runner clone that was located in Calgary, Alberta.” The car rolled off the Windsor, Ontario assembly line in the winter of 1971 as a B5 Blue 1971 Plymouth Satellite Sebring Plus with a 318-2 barrel automatic. The options included a white bucket seat interior, white canopy half vinyl top, power brakes, driver side racing mirror, hood mounted turn signals, wide sill moldings, white longitudinal stripes and a 22″ radiator.
It was sold brand new in Cranbrook, British Columbia and changed hands quite a few times in the Kootenay region of British Columbia before ending up in Calgary with the seller. The seller had purchased the car, painted it and cloned it into a Road Runner with all of the proper Road Runner goodies.
“It was a really nice looking car that suited my needs and wants. I decided to message him as it was the exact car I wanted. It was perfect. I wasn’t all hung up on numbers matching or factory correct; both for the price point and god forbid anything ever happen to it. It didn’t bug me at all that it was a clone, it was great for what I wanted; something I could enjoy and not be afraid to drive,” says Bob.
He continues to say, “The fellow selling it was big into 1971 Road Runners. He used to have a separate storage facility with a bunch of them in it but he lost the lease on it so he had to bring everything home where he had less room. Due to the lack of room, he ended up having to park this car on the street in front of his house so he decided it was best to sell it. I offered to trade him the Harley for it but he messaged back saying no, he wasn’t a Harley guy. I was disappointed but understood. I kept trying to sell the Harley and checked the ad for the car online daily to make sure it was still for sale. Unfortunately after some time, the car disappeared online. I figured it had sold.”
Over the winter, Bob finally got rid of the Harley and was looking at a ’72 in Quebec but it was stored out at some lake in northern Quebec and the seller couldn’t get out there for quite a while. Finally in April, the seller of the ’72 said his friend might be going up there and could probably show it. About a week before booking a plane ticket to Quebec, Bob decided to take a look back on Kijiji and was shocked to see the ’71 he had wanted was back up for sale.
Since he had sold the Harley, Bob had cash in hand so he quickly messaged the seller right away and asked to come look at it. It turns out it was the same guy who had it for sale in the winter. He had been away working and decided to pull it off the market until he got back. The following weekend, Bob and his wife Tamara made the 7 hour trip south from their home in Fort McMurray, Alberta to Calgary to look at the car. Upon looking at it, he decided he needed to have it; however the weather was an iffy factor.
While it was sunny and warm in Calgary, it was still snowing and blowing up in Fort McMurray. Bob offered to give him a deposit for it and come back in a few weeks when the weather got better. The seller said that he was heading down to Mopars at the Strip in Las Vegas the upcoming weekend and if Bob threw a few extra bucks onto the purchase price, he’d pick up a set of chin spoilers that Bob wanted for it, install them and then deliver the car to his house.
“We agreed and kept in touch for the days leading up to the car being delivered to my house. Once it came home, I was very happy. Over the next two years, I drove the car as much as possible. I eventually cleaned up the interior a bit, upgraded the front brakes from drum to disc and installed an 8 3/4 rear end,” says Bob.
On May 1st, 2016, a wildfire began southwest of Fort McMurray. As the fire continued to grow, various communities in the area started getting evacuated. It wasn’t long before Bob and Tamara were evacuated from their home as the fire raged towards their neighborhood. Shortly after, the remainder of Fort McMurray was evacuated, leading to the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta’s history, with upwards of 88,000 people forced from their homes. The fire continued to be an unstoppable force of nature, earning the name “The Beast.”
Sweeping through Fort McMurray, the wildfire destroyed approximately 2,400 homes and buildings. Sadly, Bob and Tamara learned that their home and all of their possessions were lost in the fire. There was a silver lining though. By stroke of luck, because of some pesky electrical problems, Bob had dropped the Road Runner off for repairs at a shop downtown shortly before they were evacuated. Thankfully the area where the shop was remained untouched. “It was good timing. Had I not dropped the car off at that shop for repairs, it wouldn’t be here. It’s the only reason I still have this car. It’s definitely nice to have the car as a silver lining to that whole unfortunate experience.”
With the loss of their house, Bob and Tamara decided they needed a change. They packed up what belongings they had left and moved to the Fraser Valley in British Columbia. The Road Runner was loaded onto a truck and made the trip out shortly after. Since then, Bob and Tamara have continued to enjoy the Road Runner as much as they can.
Under the hood is a 318 small block. It’s been upgraded with 340 heads, a full MSD ignition system, Quick Fuel carburetor, Mopar Performance valve covers and air cleaner and a Champion aluminum radiator to keep it cool. “It’s got enough power for what I need so I have no plans to replace it”, says Bob. For a nice staggered look, it rides on 14″ Rallye wheels wrapped in 215/70R14 BF Goodrich Radial T/As up front and 15″ Rallye wheels wrapped in 255/60R15 BF Goodrich Radial T/As out back.
Bob says, “I’ve actually met two of the past owners of the car thanks to social media. I was on Facebook one day and came across a post from a guy wondering what ever happened to his old car. The picture caught my eye because it was taken out on the street in front of the guy’s house I bought it from. It’s funny because I basically have the exact same photo but with me standing beside it when I bought it. I messaged him and it turns out that he had owned it quite a while back and still had the broadcast sheet for it along with the original owner’s manual and some other paperwork which he happily sent me! You can’t beat that!”