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1971 Plymouth Road Runner - The Parts Runner

This guy makes his own air-grabber kits. See one on his '71 Road Runner daily driver.

Photography by Geoff Stunkard

Tech Notes
What: '71 Road Runner
Owner: Dale and Linda Mathews
Hometown: Lenoir, North Carolina, where NASCAR and moonshine go hand-in-hand.

Engine: The 383 in this car was in pieces when it was purchased, and Dale put it back together during the late-'90s restoration. The most recent change was an upgrade from the original 8.5:1 TRW replacement slugs to a set of forged 10.5 Ross pistons.

Heads: The heads on the car are from Edelbrock, and use a combination of Comp Cams and Crane parts to move the valvetrain. Though stock port-wise, they benefited from occasional CC contributor Steve Dulcich's blueprinting.

Camshaft: During the aforementioned engine story, Steve also selected the Comp Cams Extreme Energy hydraulic cam with 230/236 degrees of duration and 0.488/0.491 lift.

Induction: The present layout under the Air Grabber air cleaner is an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake and 800-cfm Performer Series carb.

Exhaust: A TTI custom header feeds into 3-inch pipes and out 3-inch tips. You'd need 500 inches to even begin working this one hard.

Transmission: Geared to stock specs and with column shift, the 727 is a rebuild by Dwight Arrowood, though a change in shift governors is coming. The 10-inch TCI converter stalls at about 3,500 rpm.

Rearend: Still pretty stock, Dale has gone from 3.23 to 3.73, but a little more gear could easily be added since the car uses the third-member banjo-style 831/44 rear.

Suspension: KYB gas shocks are in all four corners, but the rest came down the assembly line, except for standard replacement.

Brakes: The Road Runner retains the factory front-disc and rear-drum brakes.

Wheels/Tires: It's a nice combination of 235/R60-15 front, 255/R60-15 rear mounted on 15x7 Rallye road wheels.

Body: The car's vinyl top and scalloped performance hood gave way to a factory strobe stripe and Air Grabber replica built by Dale. The DuPont GW3 Snow White paint was applied by Ken Blewis in Dale's garage.

Interior: The factory blue is courtesy of Legendary, with the only aftermarket add-ons is an Auto Meter tach for drag racing.

Performance: It runs 8.4 at 85 mph in the eighth-mile, and after carb and hood changes, the latest roller-dyno test pegged rear-wheel at 365 horses and 425 lb-ft of torque.

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