Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Junkyard find: 1974 Plymouth Road Runner; Hazzard's Daisy Duke, where are you?


Daisy Duke’s 1974 Plymouth Road Runner in a junkyard? I did a double take 
MPC produced a 1/25 scale model
of Daisy Duke's 1974 Road Runner.
the moment I laid eyes on this Blaze Yellow (paint code KY5) Mopar in a rural Oneonta, Alabama junkyard. It looked exactly like the Plymouth Road Runner that Daisy Duke drove during parts of the first two seasons of “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV series. That show was an adolescent boy’s dream, Feb. 1979 to Feb. 1985, with 147 episodes filled with car chases, a high-flying, orange 1969 Dodge Charger and leggy Daisy Duke in her cut-off blue jean shorts. The first episode of “Hazzard” guaranteed that Daisy, played by Catherine Bach, wouldn’t be overlooked. It featured Daisy Duke's most memorable scene as a roadside damsel in distress. Wearing a red bikini and standing beside her yellow Road Runner, Daisy was a distraction that could not be missed. 


Plymouth built 9,656 Road Runners in 1974.

Rare birds
  Plymouth Road Runners are rare finds at the junkyard. Thirty years ago finding a parts car ‘Beeper,’ Mopar slang for a Road Runner, may have been the case as well. Rumor has it that Warner Brothers had trouble finding replacement ’73-’74 Road Runner parts when Daisy’s car was inevitably damaged during filming of the weekly, Hazzard County dirt racing and demolition show, way back in 1979-’80. In order to keep up with the show’s production schedule, a 1971 Plymouth Satellite Sebring, painted yellow with a black ’73-’74 Road Runner stripe, served fill-in duty as Daisy’s car. Producers thought they could fool “Hazzard” viewers, but saavy gearheads could easily spot the ’71 Satellite. They have a wrap-around front bumper that surrounds the headlights. The imitation ‘Road Runner’ Satellite was used in several episodes during season 1 and 2 of “The Duke of Hazzard.”


Plymouth reportedly paid $50,000 for the Road Runner
naming rights, use of the cartoon bird and “Beep-Beep” horn.

Daisy Duke arrives at The Boar's Nest in her Plymouth Road Runner.

Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

Plymouth Road Runner meets the end of the road
  Oddly enough, Daisy’s ’74 Road Runner met it’s demise at the hands of Bo and Luke Duke. It was an accident of course. The brakes failed and Daisy’s Mopar sailed off a cliff just after Bo and Luke jumped out safely. Some insiders think that the TV show’s producers killed the Road Runner because they didn’t want the bright yellow Mopar to detract from the star car of the show, “The General Lee.” Warner Brothers worked out a deal for Daisy to drive a 1980 Jeep CJ-7 Golden Eagle Edition with the nickname “Dixie” painted on each side of the hood. Daisy's white Jeep quickly became a “Hazzard” fan favorite. The Jeep, unlike the Road Runner, didn’t have doors to block viewers from seeing Daisy’s long, tanned legs. Maybe killing the Road Runner was a good idea?

  If you see a rare car at the junkyard send photos and info to junkyardlife, email junkyardbull@gmail.com

Worn Road Runner decal on the top of the header panel.
On the original decal the speedy bird is holding a white racing helmet.

Body rash from straightening too many curves like the Duke boys.

Here is a breakdown according to moparnuts.com and moparmuscle.com:

1974 Plymouth Road Runner total production: 9,656

318 V8 2 BBL: 6,453
---
3-speed manual: 772
---
4-speed manual: 212
--- automatic: 5,421
360
V8 4 BBL: 1,688
--- 4-speed manual: 347
--- automatic: 1,350
400
V8 4 BBL: 1,110
--- 4-speed manual: 280
--- automatic: 830
440
V8 4 BBL: 386
--- automatic: 386

(FYI: The numbers don't add up)


More from this junkyard to come
  This Mopar find was discovered in a junkyard with two unusual occupants. Horses! Grazing on the tall grass, that was growing between the rows of 200-plus cars, were the junkyard owner’s pets. You really have to watch where you step at this place. I will post more on this junkyard. Check back with junkyardlife soon.    


1973-1974 Road Runners featured a reflective strobe stripe
across the roof, which continued down the body side. 

1973-’74 Plymouth Road Runners and Dodge Chargers were equipped with large rubber bumperettes to meet safety requirements.


Plymouth spent $10,000 developing the Road Runner’s signature “Beep-Beep” horn.

This ’74 Plymouth Road Runner has no drive train, interior or J54 power-bulge hood.

Luke, Daisy, Bo and their cars were the stars of “The Dukes of Hazzard.” 
Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

  If you see a rare car at the junkyard or in a yard, send photos and info to junkyardlife, email junkyardbull@gmail.com