When it first appeared in 1968, the Roadrunner proved to be a very influential and important muscle car. It introduced a new trend of inexpensive, fun cars. It was also a strong seller affecting the whole segment. The entire idea behind the Roadrunner was simple. Present a low-priced but powerful model to attract people with a limited budget for performance (via Hagerty).
The most appealing thing about the Roadrunner was the fact that Plymouth used the cartoon character of a roadrunner from the popular Willie E. Coyote cartoon. Chrysler paid $60,000 for the rights to use the name and design, and everybody thought the company was crazy for doing so. The sales proved everybody wrong and the Roadrunner was the first muscle car with crazy graphics and the car that started the trend. The Roadrunner had a bench seat, no luxury options, and manual steering, but it came with the powerful 383 V8 as the base engine, and buyers could also opt for the 440 or the mythical Hemi 426.