Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Junkyard find: 1972 Plymouth Road Runner

Lemon Twist 1972 Road Runner sold for scrap price to junkyard. Brian B., a hotrodder from Foley, Alabama, sent junkyardlife photos of this fresh find at Barry’s U Pull It junkyard in Mobile, Alabama. There’s no doubt that Brian quickly noticed this Road Runner’s eye-searing, yellow paint and unmistakable strobe roof stripes. Any would-be-junkyard-junkie knows this car is a valued relic from Mopar’s muscle car past. How this shabby, one-of-7,628 B-Body Road Runners built in 1972 landed in this parts pulling purgatory is anybody’s guess.

Scrappin' for dollars
Most cars that land in ‘pull-your-own-parts’ lots are hauled in and sold for scrap prices. These type yards make a few bucks by charging admission and selling a few parts to do-it-yourselfers. Their inventory is constantly changing because most of the cars are sent to the scrapper in about 60 days. Some yards set aside an area for older vehicles to keep them out of the scrapping rotation until space is needed. 1972 model year and older vehicles appear to be the normal dividing point. Sorry, 1973 Dodge Chargers, its the crusher for you.

1972 Plymouth Road Runner 340-V8 engine gets yanked home for $163-plus a $40 core charge at this pull-your-own junkyard.

Plymouth built 7,628 Road Runners for the 1972 model year.

Plucking Mopar power
Brian, a regular at south Alabama junkyards, caught a glimpse of the Road Runner’s 340 cu.-inch V8 as it hung above the engine bay. “Someone was pulling the motor when I took the pictures but they weren’t around,” said Brian. The orange engine block, bolted to a TorqueFlight 727 transmission, was plucked using ‘U Pull Its’ enormous engine hoist on wheels. “I’m not well versed in Mopar, but it looked like a small block,” said Brian. The trim tag on the Road Runner’s fender revealed that a 340 cu. inch V8. engine was originally installed in the car at Chrysler’s St. Louis, Missouri plant.

For less than $300 the 340-cu. inch engine and 727 transmission now have a new home. That's a nice profit for the junkyard and a good find for a Mopar gearhead.

Original engine?
This battered, junkyard Road Runner doesn’t appear to have its factory engine. The small block 340-V8s, painted orange in 1970-’71 and changed to blue in 1972, were an option on the Road Runner which came standard with a 383-V8 engine. The 340 engine originally had a beefy block, big mains, forged-steel crank, forged pistons and heavy duty connecting rods. The heads on the 340 also had big valves until 1972 when performance was zapped across the board throughout the muscle car spectrum. Compression on the Road Runners 340 engine dropped to 8.5:1 as the intake valves shrank from 2.02 to 1.88. A cast iron crankshaft also replaced the forged steel unit mid-year. 

Save the planet, don't crush classic cars
You can recycle your aluminum cans, paper, plastic and glass but don't toss classic cars to the junk man. Try craigslist, ebay or your local newspaper to sell your decaying, four-wheeled friends. All their rare, usable parts will not be saved before they are crushed. You may even make more money along the way to making a car nut happy.

The Mopar fender tag reveals many options equipped on this '72 Road Runner.

By the numbers 
The fender tag reveals that this 1972 Plymouth Road Runner was built on 5/9/1972. Here are some highlights according to a tag decoder:

Code  Description
E55  340-V8 4-barrel
D34  TorqueFlite automatic transmission
  R = Plymouth Road Runner 
  M = medium
  23 = 2 door hardtop

  H = 340 V8 (240 hp net) 1-4bbl
  2 = 1972
  G = St. Louis, Missouri
195945  Sequence number
FY1  Lemon Twist paint

  D = Deluxe
  6 = Vinyl bucket seats
  X9 = Black
509  Build date 5 / 09 / 1972
B41  Front Disc Brakes
B51  Power Brakes
C56  Bucket Seats
G11  Tinted Glass all
U21  8.25 X 15 Black side wall tires
N23  Electronic Ignition
N42  Chrome Dual Exhaust Tips
M42  Front End Molding
R11  Music Master Radio AM

– Jody Potter,

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

I have a 1972 Plymouth satellite in south Alabama looking for parts.