The musclecar era was a defining period in American history, an indelibly etched component of an entire generation. It remains a significant cultural footprint of rebellion, rock-n-roll and fast cars with enormous engines designed to propel thousands of pounds of beautifully handcrafted steel at breakneck speeds. The Wellborn Musclecar Museum is devoted to the great American automobiles of the 1960's and 1970's, showcasing classics such as the Charger, the Roadrunner, and the Superbee, as well as the nation's largest Dodge car collection.
1970 Plymouth Roadrunner HEMI – Barn FreshMuscle Car Review Editor (MCR), Drew Hardin awarded Tim Wellborn the Editor's Choice award at Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN) 2012 for his barn-found '70Hemi Roadrunner. Keep an eye out for a full MCR feature coming soon!
About This Car
This 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner HEMI was sold new and lived its entire life in the same locality until joining the collection of the Wellborn Musclecar Museum. Bought in Wichita Falls, Texas it had the same owner since 1973 until being pulled from the open lean-to style barn in July of 2012. Cars like these, though not cosmetically perfect, do lend testimony to how they were enjoyed by the people who were the first to owned, them as well as to the era they hail from. This example as never before been recorded by any registry or 3rd party inspector before being unearthed by Wellborn. It is also believed to be the only '70 Hemi Roadrunner optioned in Limelight, White Vinyl top, and White Interior. I suppose if you can't have air conditioning, the white top and white interior kept the Texas sun from cooking the cabin and burning your thighs.
Showing 46,273 clicks on the odometer, we know a fair number of those miles were spent shuttling to and form the drag strip, then hurtling itself down the 1320. An original 4speed car, it is currently fitted with a 727 Torque-Flight and ratchet style shifter. The original A-833 4speed manual transmission was in the trunk, stored in an old beer box. Other curious details abound, like the GM radio for instance. “Thrush” and “Hays” stickers protect the rear side panel paint on each side. The tell tale spatter pattern etched into the paint around the battery box, makes us grateful for gel-cell batteries today. Found in the glove box was the original owner's fishing license from 1969. Not only do we know his name was N.L. Hamilton, but he was 29, 5 foot 10 inches, weighed 185 pounds, had blue eyes and brown hair. I guess it is true, you can tell a lot about a man by the car he drives.
About 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner HEMI
Chrysler had proven to the world that the HEMI was the king of the drag strip, but stodgy designs left them struggling to translate that to sales success on the street. In 1968 Plymouth was looking to capture more market share with a completely redesigned mid sized car, wrapped in a youth oriented package to rival Pontiac's “Judge”. $50,000 paid to Warner Brothers and the Plymouth Roadrunner was born, complete with the “Voice of the Roadrunner” Meep! Meep! horn sound.
1970 was an interesting year because the entirely new 1971 mid-sized body styles were already in their final phases by the time the '70 model year refresh was due. The problem was that the 1969 model front grill was drastically different than the upcoming '71. The solution? Style the 1970 front end to more closely resemble that of the all new car coming down the pipeline. The result? The 1970 Roadunner styling is the most popular amongst all 1970 Mopar B-Bodies. 1971 Plymouth? Ironically, the among the least.
Class: Muscle Car
Body Style: 2-door Coupe
Curb Weight: 3,475
Wheelbase: 116 inches
Length: 204 inches
Transmission: 4-speed Manual
Engine: 426 Cubic Inches
Power: 425 Horsepower
Top Speed: 140 miles per hour
Exterior Color: Limelight Green, White Vinyl Top
Interior Color: White
Larry Dickson’s’71 GTX comes to the Wellborn CollectionBy Geoff Stunkard
“That guy came back from Vietnam and simply wanted the baddest car he could find, and he kept the car flawless. He didn’t change out the wheels, didn’t really change the suspension, but he know a few racer tricks, and that is what was done to this car. Just some parts and painting the engine black to get rid of heat, and that car has been that way since 1972.”
Tim Wellborn was talking about what has become a big attraction at the Wellborn Musclecar Museum in Alexander City, a 1971 Bahama Yellow GTX that is the highest-priced Hemi car of all the machines built in the supercar era. The car, through a set of interesting circumstances, came to the collection showing just over 49,000 original miles and is unrestored, though modified.
“That GTX is one rare automobile, and most people would want to bring it back to absolute stock. But being here in the museum and seeing so many people coming in and looking at that, they talk about the changes. The owner put the valve covers on it, put the headers on it, all things that could easily be changed back. In truth, hardly anyone left their engine bay stock back then. You wanted to open the hood and show people what it looked like with your changes; it’s not like today where there is a big plastic cover over the engine. Back then, it was just an extension of the car and how you might personalize that car.”
For Larry Dickson, whose service in southeast Asia had been heroic to the point of being awarded some of the nation’s highest honors such as the Purple Heart and multiple Silver Stars, the car might have been the culmination of a dream of owning a Hemi car while he was busy with much more serious business. He had purchased a new 1970 383” Road Runner when he returned, but went looking for a Hemi car to replace that in early 1972. One way or another, he found out about a highly-optioned ’71 GTX in early 1972; this car would be sold to him through Courtesy Chrysler-Plymouth in Davis, with an added destination charge of 57.00 from Bayshore, New York. We do not know if Larry had them find this car for him or if they already had it on their lot. We do know a bit about what he bought, though.
Indeed, any aficionado of American muscle would have been drawn to this machine.Read more
New Barn Finds Exhibit Adds Excitement to Wellborn Museum, Magazine Features Coming (story by Geoff Stunkard)
People think that great cars, even Hemi cars, can’t be found these days. They are certainly not as common as they were once, but Tim Wellborn showed that you can still located rare muscle even now with a great car that was not even known to the hobby prior to 2012. This car will be featured in Mopar Muscle and Musclecar Review magazines in 2013.
“Roger Gibson had heard about this car down in Texas, so I contacted the gentleman who owned it, but I really needed to see some pictures before I’d commit to going to see it. It took several months, and he finally went out and bought a little disposable camera. He sent me that, and as soon as I saw the pictures, we were on our way to Texas!”
The owner, Marcus Hanna of Grovebeck, Texas, had bought the car back in 1972, a real Hemi/four speed Road Runner complete with Dana Super Trak Pak, FJ5 Lime Light paint, and Air Grabber hood. He had done some drag racing with it, and had swapped the stick out for an automatic back in the day. After it had accumulated just 31,000 miles, instead of selling the car when that passion faded, he parked it in a pole barn along with a stash of parts. He had gone on to become a judge in west Texas, and Tim was pretty excited to see this car in those surroundings.
“It has those stickers inside of it, and there are changes that way; the four-speed was swapped out for an automatic to go racing. Some of those things will be repaired, but for the most part, this one will be a time capsule.”
“You won’t ever see that car washed; it has that haze of having sat in a barn and I like that,” he continues. “I am going to get it running and take it to shows, using it to show what a car looks like when it is just found. So, it will bear that patina. It has zero rust, never been wrecked, and only shows a few door dings.”
When the car was safely back in Alexander City, he and Philip Love, one of the coordinators of the day-to-day operations, decided they would use one corner of the museum to display the fresh find. The car originally purchased by Gordon Denzler has already been drawing attention and it was added to this display as well. This 1971 440-6 Challenger R/T with Shaker and long option sheet had been special ordered and purchased in Canada by Mr. Denzler in March 1971; it has a huge amount of paperwork with it (perhaps the most of any Mopar known to have been bought privately) as well as being one of the nicest ’71 R/Ts in unrestored existence. Tim had already planned to keep it that way.Read more