Monday, January 18, 2016

1970 Plymouth Road Runner 4 Barrel 440 / Photos, Specs

The Plymouth Road Runner was produced from 1968 – 1980. The Road Runner, which was a B-Body Mopar, was based on the same platform as the Belvedere, Satellite, and GTX. Mopar Muscle cars are icons that changed the automotive industry.

1970 Plymouth Road Runner 440
1970 Plymouth Road Runner
Plymouth Road Runner Model History

Although Plymouth already had a performance car in the GTX which competed against the Pontiac GTO, Chrysler Corporation designers decided to go back to the drawing board and reincarnate the original muscle car concept. The concept for the Road Runner was born.

The Road Runner was based on the cartoon, and came complete with a horn that went beep beep! and an ad campaign featuring Wiley Coyote. It cost Plymouth $50,000 for the rights from Warner Brothers to use the Road Runner name. Depending on the model and year, the steering wheel had a little Road Runner, and the air cleaner had a cartoon with the logo "Coyote Duster." The Superbird put a huge, helmeted Roadrunner onto its massive rear spoiler.

During the first model year for the Road Runner about 44,600 models were produced. The story is that more could have been built in 1968 but parts were in short supply due to overly conservative sales projections. Chrysler executives surprisingly predicted sales of only a few thousand.

plymouth muscle cars
For the following year the model line was increased adding a convertible model and a several additional options. Motor Trend magazine named the Road Runner its 1969 "Car of the Year". The Plymouth Road Runner returned for one more go-around in its original body shell in 1970, although sales fell to 41,484, a victim of skyrocketing insurance premiums for performance cars.

The 1970 Road Runners gained a new grille.  The same year, the Road Runner added the Air Grabber hood, which was remote controlled from the passenger compartment. Press a button, and you have a scoop. Press it again, and you have a normal hood.

Plymouth Road Runner Performance

The success of the Road Runner, unexpected by Chrysler, would far outpace the upscale and lower volume GTX. The Road Runner was targeted to a young performance minded buyer. Top speed on these cars, equipped with either a 440 or 426 Hemi engine, was reputed to be over 150 mph as they arrived at the dealer, and over 180 mph with relatively minor modifications; Chrysler itself set a record of over 200 mph.

chrysler 440 engine
440 cubic inch 4 barrel engine
1970 Plymouth Road Runner Specifications 

Three engines were available for the 1968 through 1970 model years. These were the 383  (standard), 426 and 440 cubic inch V-8. Horsepower ranged from 335 to 390.  The race version of these cars were powered with a 426 cubic inch hemi. 

Our featured 1970 Road Runner is equipped with a 440 cubic inch V-8 with a four barrel carburetor and a four speed manual gearbox

The race version of these cars were powered with a 426 hemi.

Standard transmission was a three speed automatic

Front brakes were disc and rear drum.

Front suspension were double wishbones with telescopic shocks. Rear suspension live axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs and telescopic shocks.

Dimensions included a wheelbase of 116.0 inches, overall length of 202.7 inches, height of 53.0 inches, and an average weight of about 3,700 lbs.

You may enjoy the Muscle Car Journal articles on the links below...

1995 Mazda Miata V-8 Conversion 

1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 

1970 Plymouth Road Runner Valuations 

The Plymouth Road Runner is a popular collector car particularly among performance enthusiasts. The Road Runner continued as a Plymouth model and eventually ended up as an option package for the 1978 Volare.

1970 plymouth muscle car
As of this writing the 1970 Plymouth Road Runner is showing a valuation range of about $30,000 to $45,000 for fully restored models with high originality. Convertibles will be priced about $10,000 to $12,000 more.

The highest valued is the 1970 Superbird. This was a highly modified version of the 1970 Road Runner. These models were equipped with a 426 cubic inch Hemi delivering 425 HP. Zero-60 MPH was rated at 5.5 seconds. Current top values from several sources on the Superbird model range from about $90,000 to $130,000 +.

Good books regarding the Plymouth Road Runner models include...1968 Plymouth Road Runner : A History in Photos by Richard Truesdell. Also, Charger, Road Runner and Super Bee by Paul A. Herd and Mike Mueller.

(Article and photos copyright 2016 Muscle Car Journal )

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A 1995 Mazda Miata 5.0 V-8 Conversion / Photos, Specs

The car featured in this article is a 1995 Mazda Miata conversion. The Mazda Miata is not generally looked at as a muscle car but our conversion here sure fits the bill. The Mazda Miata came to the market in 1990 and was a big hit. Some initial buyers who lined up to buy the first of these snazzy little cars actually paid above sticker price. The two seat, lightweight Miata Roadster filled the bill as an affordable sports car.

mazda miata conversion kit
1995 Mazda Miata V-8 Conversion
The first 1990 Miata had a stock 1600cc 4 cylinder engine with a five speed manual or a four speed automatic transmission.

The second generation of the Mazda Miata came out for the 1999 model year. The third generation was seen for 2005 and the fourth comes out for the 2016 model year.

There are not a great many of these Miata V-8 conversions but the ones we have seen look pretty impressive. There are likely a few hundred of these on the road today. What makes our featured 1995 Miata conversion truly unique is it's use of a Ford CCRM (Constant Control Relay Module) computer to operate the fuel pump, fans and A/C. This conversion uses the Ford power steering pump.

The Mazda Miata itself and it's structure works well for a V-8 transplant. The Ford 5.0 V-8 engine in this vehicle meets emission requirements for most states. The Miata Conversion Kits
Miata conversion kits are on the market and most will say that the proper amount of dollars to put aside to perform the conversion well is likely $10,000 and more realistically $12,000.

miata v-8 conversion
Ford 5.0 V-8
While the time involved to perform the conversion might be thought of to be just a few months, six months or so may be more realistic depending on how much time you have to devote to the project. With that being said, If you're extremely proficient with Miatas (like you could drop the motor, transmission, differential, front subframe, and pull the interior/dash / HVAC in a long Saturday) then a month to complete the project is possible.

Monster Miata

Our featured Mazda Miata V-8 was built from the kit offered by Monster Miata. As mentioned above, the structure of the Miata is suited very well for a V-8 transplant. According to Monster Miata...We have converted 100+ Monster Miatas in the past 20 years. It is a passion of ours. Having spoken to many gearheads, the consensus is there needs to be a straight-forward way for the average person with a toolbox to do their own V8 conversion . We're proud to say we have achieved this and produced the "easy to understand" V8 conversion kit

1995 Mazda Miata Specifications / 5.0 V-8 

As mentioned above, the 1995 Mazda Miata featured in this article has a 5.0 Liter Ford V-8 engine. This engine came from a 1995 Ford Mustang rated at 215 HP as it came from the factory.

1995 mazda miata conversion
Custom features include ceramic coasted shorty headers, 3-way cats, wide band bungs, 12 inch resonators and a Hard Dog padded roll bar.

Transmission is a Ford Racing 5 speed.

This car has a custom driveshaft, lightweight wheels from 949 Racing
Suspension has custom higher rate springs and eight-way adjustable shocks.

First generation Miata dimensions included a wheelbase of 89.2 inches, an overall length 155.5 inches, a height of 48.4 inches, a width of 65.9 inches and a curb weight of 2.070 lbs.

You may also be interested in the Muscle Car Journal articles on the links below...

The 1949 Anglia Custom Racer

The 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302

A 1953 Studebaker Street Rod 

ford 5.0 v-8 engine
Miata V-8 conversions on the market as of this writing can be found in a wide price range due mostly to the fact that the conversions themselves differ significantly. We are seeing asking prices of anything from about $17,000 to $30,000.

Those interested in more information regarding Mazda Miata V-8 Conversions might want to take a look at www.v8miata.net. This forum discusses the Miata conversion process and can offer problem solving information. Another site that answers questions and offers Miata conversion kits is..http://www.bossfrog.biz/Miata_V8_Swap.html

A good book regarding Mazda Miata performance includes...Mazda Miata MX-5 Performance Projects by author Keith Tanner. 

(Article and photos copyright 2016 Muscle Car Journal)

Monday, January 4, 2016

1969 Mustang Boss 302 / Specs, Model History, Photos

If you're searching for one of the fastest Ford Mustangs out there, the 1969 Mustang Boss 302 might fit the bill. The 1969 Mustang Boss 302 was a direct result of what Chevrolet was doing with their new Camaro on the race track.

The late 1960's was a time when horsepower was at center stage. The 'Pony Car" era was alive and well. Long hoods and short decks were in style. These were the years just prior to new federal emission and safety standards that would do a lot to rein in horsepower beginning in the early 1970's.

boss 302
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302
Mustang vs. Camaro 

The Chevrolet Camaro was introduced in 1967 as a direct result of the success of the Ford Mustang which came out in mid 1964. In fact, when the first Chevy Camaro rolled off the assembly line, the specs of the car were almost identical to the Mustang.

Interestingly enough, the 69 Ford Mustang Boss 302 was designed by ex-GM employee Larry Shinoda. This was at the time that Ford Motor Company had a new CEO in Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen, former GM CEO and replacement for the departed Lee Iacocca. Knudsen no doubt had designer Shinoda follow him to Ford.

An interesting side note is that the muscle car designed by Larry Shinoda was originally going to be named the Trans Am, however that name was already taken by GM. The "Boss" name, reported by some, was a reference to the new Ford CEO Bunkie Knudsen. Shinoda it was said always referred to Knudsen as the 'boss". Of course, another story contends that during the 1960's the term boss referred to something superior, number one, the best, bad (as in powerful, dominating, outstanding), etc.

The 1968 Chevy Camaro Z/28 was selling fast. In fact, research showed that the likely Camaro volume for the 1969 model year would probably triple the 68 numbers and come in at about 20,000 units. The Chevy Camaro Z/28 was outperforming just about everything on the road including the Ford Mustang. The Camaro was threatening to dethrone the Mustang as the top "pony car" so something had to change with the Mustang. Ford Motor Company decided that it was due time to react and the result was the 1969 Boss 302. The Ford Mustang Boss 302 was a street legal Trans AM racer that was ready to take on all competition.

1969 mustang boss 302
The Boss 302 and 429

The 1969 model year saw the Boss 302 and Boss 429. The Boss 302 was similar in concept to the Camaro Z/28 package. Both of these models were built for the 1969 and 1970 model years. The Boss 302 produced 290 horsepower, and its 429 cube big brother made 375 horses. The Boss 302, which was created to race Chevrolet's Z/28 Camaro on SCCA Trans-Am road courses. The Trans Am series were becoming increasingly popular. The 429 V-8 was built for NASCAR tracks.

The 69 Boss 302 had a trunk top spoiler, front under bumper lip spoiler and distinctive body side striping. Also side scoops and new panel ornaments.

Total production over the two model years was about 8,500 units for the Boss 302 and about 1,360 for the 429.

ford boss 302 engine
Ford Boss 302 engine
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Specifications

The 69 Boss 302 engine was a Ford 302 cubic inch small block V-8 with a thin wall high nickel casting and with specially designed Cleveland style heads. The engine was developed for the Trans AM racing series but was put into the production Boss 302's for the 60 and 70 model years. This engine put out a rated 290 HP.

Some have stated that the real horsepower with this 302 engine was more like 350. The maximum rated speed for this car was 121 MPH.

The 0-60 was rated at 6.7 seconds and the quarter mile at 15.2 seconds

Fuel made it's way to the engine with a Holly 4-barrel carburetor.

Standard gearbox was a 4 speed manual.

Front brakes were power disc with rear being hydraulic drum

Stiff competition suspension was used. Quad headlamps were used for the first time in 1969.

The 1969 Ford Mustang was restyled and was larger. For example, the overall length was 4 inches longer than the 68 model. Dimensions for the 1969 Boss 302 included a 108.0 inch wheelbase..an overall length of 183.6 inches..width of 71.3 inches ..height of 49.2 inches and a curb weight of 3,417 lbs.

See additional Muscle Car Journal articles on the links below... 

The 1969 Ford Torino GT 

Modified 1961 Chevy Impala SS 409

1996 Chevy Camaro SS Z/28

Reference materials for this article and excellent books include...Mustang Boss 302: From Racing Legend to Modern Muscle Car by author Donald Farr...Ford Mustang, America's Pony Car by the editors of Consumer Guide Automotive...The Complete Book of Camaro: Every Model Since 1967 by author David Newhardt.

ford muscle cars
Ford Mustang Boss 302 Valuations

Both the Mustang Boss 302 and 429 have plenty of appeal because of factory racer exclusivity. The Boss 302 offers outstanding performance and road handling and is a milestone car.

Finding one today in originality however can be hard. Production was for two model years only and was very limited.

As of this date, 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302's show valuations in the range of about $40,000 to $90,000. These are for models in very good to immaculate condition. The highest price would be for a vehicle in perfect original condition or perhaps professionally restored in all areas.

(Article and photos copyright 2016 Muscle Car Journal)