With sleek, NASCAR-optimized styling, the 1971-1974 Plymouth Satellite, Road Runner, and their Charger and Super Bee Dodge siblings ushered in the final years of mid-size muscle from Chrysler Corporation. In particular, the mischievous Plymouth Road Runner continued for 1973 with 318ci and 340ci small-block V8 engines and two big-blocks displacing 400ci and 440ci. Three- and four-speed manual transmissions, plus Chrysler’s virtually bulletproof Torqueflite automatic were available on the Road Runner, as well as performance axle ratios, heavy-duty underpinnings and bold graphics, plus newly standard front disc brakes, proof positive that Plymouth was still in the performance business. Interestingly, despite tightening anti-performance regulations, the Road Runner was a far better seller than the year before, with 19,056 examples produced for 1973 versus just 7,628 in 1972.
Retaining the original and rare 400ci big-block engine rated at 260 SAE Net horsepower (more like 325 or so horses under the prior system) plus the original paint and interior, this 1973 Plymouth Road Runner is a very compelling find for collectors and enthusiasts alike. Other highlights include factory-installed air conditioning, power brakes, and power steering, plus Chrysler’s famed Torqueflite automatic transmission. Documents include an owners’ manual and other paperwork, and the signature of NASCAR champion “King” Richard Petty – for which the color was colloquially named – graces the car.
While down a bit on power than in prior model years, the 1973 Road Runner was still a serious performer with plenty of muscle car-era mojo to spare. This writer still vividly recalls the “fuselage-body” Mopars as a car-crazy young lad during the early 1970s and I also clearly recall they were plenty potent. My much older cousin bought an orange 400ci/Torqueflite car new, and it was soon totaled in a late-night accident. Fortunately this incredibly original example never shared that fate! These cars have a strong following and carry significant values, albeit not those of the vaunted Hemi and Six-Pack cars before them. Hagerty’s current Price Guide values a 400ci Road Runner from 1973 from $15k for a #4 condition “driver” with some blemishes to $21,800 for a good #3 car, $34,400 for an excellent #2 car example, up to $48,100 for a #1 concours-worthy Road Runner. The rarer 440ci cars carry a significant price bump, but there’s something so right about all Road Runners from the 1971-1974 generation with any power combo. Well-equipped and highly original, this 400ci Road Runner represents fair market at the asking price and the seller is open to offers. In our opinion, it provides an ideal entry point into true muscle car ownership that anyone at Cars and Coffee is going to respect.