Plymouth Roadrunner (1968 to 1974)
When it first appeared in 1968, the Roadrunner proved to be a very influential and essential muscle car. Not only did it introduce the new trend of inexpensive and fun vehicles, but it was also a strong seller. This affected the entire performance segment. The idea behind the Roadrunner was simple. Present a low-priced but powerful model and attract people with a limited budget but a strong need for performance. 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 utilize the name and design and most thought the company was crazy for doing so (via MSI).
The sales results proved everybody wrong and the Roadrunner was the first muscle car with crazy graphics, starting a 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. Buyers could also opt for the 440 or the mythical Hemi 426. In 1969, the Roadrunner got a convertible option for those buyers who wanted an open-air driving feel but most Roadrunners were two-door hard tops. For just over $3,000, you could be the proud owner of a Roadrunner in 1970. However, if you wanted a few options and the Hemi engine, the price quickly rose to over $4,000.