During Mopar Night at the Garden Grove Car Show, we encountered Lee Tracey’s beautiful 1969 Plymouth Road Runner. This is one incredible Mopar that has quite a story. Let’s dive into the history of this beautiful car, as well as some unique features.
In 1967, Plymouth debuted its “Belvedere GTX”, which was a popular model from the brand. At the time, drag racing was still at its peak, with those who were eager to run the quarter mile. Plymouth got wind of this boyhood dream, and decided to build a car that could top 14 seconds on a drag strip. The result was the new 1968 Road Runner. Yes, this car was named for the famous Warner Brothers cartoon character, known for its signature “Beep Beep!” phrase, entertaining audiences while eluding the many ACME products and devious schemes, only thought up by the cunning Wile E. Coyote, who failed miserably at catching the Road Runner.
Plymouth actually put the famous cartoon character on the doors and rear of the car, after paying $50,000 to Warner Brothers, just so they could use the name “Road Runner”. Even a horn for the car was actually created to emulate the Road Runner’s signature “Beep Beep”, and was dubbed the “Voice of Road Runner”. This was found on all Road Runners, built between 1968, and 1971.
Lee Tracey’s 1969 Road Runner is a resto-mod, but is a real head turner. Early on, Tracey was a drag racer, running Chevy-built cars in the stock class at the now defunct Lions Drag Strip in Wilmington, California. Tracey later became a Mopar enthusiast. Originally, he wanted a Barracuda, but could not find a suitable example within his price range. Instead, he found the 1969 Road Runner you see here. Tracey was able to get the car home, and restore it to how he wanted it. “I originally wanted to paint the car in Hemi Orange, but my wife suggested I keep the same color”.
Tracey went by his wife’s suggestion to keep the Turquoise color, and add the signature black stripes found on the hood and front fenders of this classic Mopar. Chances are, if you go to a show, and see either this car, or any other ’69 Road Runner, there’s a good chance you will see those black stripes. Additionally, some pin-striping was added to the side of Tracey’s Road Runner, as a custom touch.
The interior is somewhat modernized. Gone are the signature bucket seats found on the ’69 Road Runner. A newer Grant GT steering wheel, and column-mounted tachometer were added. A Hurst shifter, with a B&M handle; were installed. Underneath the dashboard is a modern Blaupunkt radio from Germany. Gauges from AutoMeter were installed in the center of the dashboard. These include a water temperature gauge, an oil pressure gauge, and a voltage gauge.
Underneath the hood, is a 493cubic-inch V8, which boasts a whopping 602 horsepower. This engine features an Edelbrock manifold, with a Holley 950 cfm carburetor, hiding under the air cleaner. Headers are from TTI, combined with a Flowmaster exhaust system. Additionally, there are dual cooling fans to prevent this car from overheating.
One of the original items saved, was the “Voice of Road Runner” horn, which actually duplicates the famous “Beep! Beep!” phrase, made by the Warner Brothers cartoon character. Other features include Diamond flat top pistons, a solid roller cam from Comp Cams, roller rockers from Harlen, an electric fuel pump from Holley, a billet flywheel and a dual disc clutch from McLeod Racing.
Underneath, the car has an 8 ¾ Sure Grip differential with a 3:55 rear end, Ferrera springs, and ARP fasteners. The 602 horsepower also puts out 612 ft-lbs of torque. The front tires are Goodyear 15” radials, while the rear tires are Mickey Thompson street slicks. Wheels are modern American Racing Torq-Thrusts, which are the hottest selling wheels used on hot rods, muscle cars, and custom cars. These polished examples deviate from the traditional Torq-Thrust wheels that have the painted centers and spokes, which are commonly found on muscle cars and drag cars.
Lee Tracey is a current member of the Mopar Knights Car Club, which can be seen frequenting the Garden Grove Car Show on a Friday evening, held on Historic Main Street in Garden Grove, California. He can be seen with his 1969 Road Runner at any local show in Southern California. This classic Mopar is a beast, and is a great car!