1973 Plymouth Road Runner
8-cyl. 318cid/170hp 2bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The year 1973 saw a rebound in the U.S. auto industry with production rising 9.5 percent over 1972. Plymouth increased sales a surprising 21.2 percent, but the division remained in the sixth spot. The mid-sized Satellite two-doors, including the Road Runner were extensively redesigned to be shorter and wider. Front bumpers had to meet 5 mph impact regulations.
Gone was the polarizing fuselage style with its loop front bumper and horizontally layered styling. It was replaced by a blockier shape, with downwards curving style line, two-level grille and horizontal twin headlight pods. The 1973 Plymouth Road Runner had a broad power bulge on the hood, but not much power under it. Broad curving side stripes echoed the Starsky & Hutch Ford Gran Torino. Base price for the Road Runner was $3,115.
A four-barrel 318 cid V-8 was the Road Runner’s base engine. Also available was the 235 bhp, 340 cid V-8 ($85), the 260 bhp, 400 cid V-8 ($186) and 280 bhp 440 cid V-8 ($153). The last high-performance engine, the 440 cid “Six-Pack” V-8 was gone.
Popular options leaned towards luxury and convenience and included air conditioning ($369), electric sunroof ($171), power disc brakes ($65), vinyl roof ($101), and AM/FM stereo tape ($363). A 3-speed manual gearbox was standard, with optional 4-speed manual (except with the 440) or automatic transmission for about $220. Quarter-mile times were in the 16 second range, and the muscle car boom was over.
Plymouth offered 24 mostly metallic colors, and seven interior shades. The colors and codes were Silver Frost (A5), Blue Sky (B1), Basin Street Blue (B3), True Blue (B5), Regal Blue (B9), Rally Red (E5), Mist Green (F1), Amber Sherwood (F3), Sherwood Green (F7), Forest Green (F8), Autumn Bronze (K6), Sahara Beige (L4), Coral Turquoise (Q5), Mojave Tan (T6), Chestnut (T8), Hemi Orange (V2), Spinnaker White (W1), Formal Black (X9), Lemon Twist (Y1), Sunflower Yellow (Y2), Honey Gold (Y3), Golden Haze (Y6), Tahitian Gold (Y9), and Medium Light Argent (not coded). Interior colors included Bright Blue, Dark Green, Honey Gold, Black, White, Bronze and Parchment. Vinyl roofs tended to be White, Black, Dark Green, Neutral or Tan.
Plymouth sold 746,821 units in 1973 and remained in sixth position in U.S. sales, with 7.69 percent of the market.