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1969 Plymouth Road Runner 440 Six Barrel A12

In this edition of Muscle Car Milestones, the 1969 Plymouth Road Runner 440 Six Barrel A12 is the star. The Road Runner 440 Six Barrel A12 was introduced mid-year as an alternative to those that wanted more power than the 383, but didn’t want to pay the Hemi premium. It’s also no secret the 1969 Plymouth Road Runner 440 Six Barrel A12 was created to rack up victories at the drag strip. Let’s see what makes the 1969 Plymouth Road Runner 440 Six Barrel A12 one of the classic muscle car era’s most formidable factory racers.

Available as a coupe (RM21M) and hardtop (RM23M), the Road Runner 440 Six Barrel A12 came with an abundance of standard equipment. A lift-off fiberglass hood with four-pin hood latches, 15×6-inch stamped steel wheels, and Goodyear Polyglas Red Streak tires grab your attention. This racer also featured an “Air Grabber” air cleaner, extra-heavy-duty “Hemi” suspension, and heavy-duty 11-inch drum brakes.

Under the hood lurked an M-code 440 cubic-inch V8 rated at 390 horsepower and 490 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine featured three Holley 2300 two-barrel carburetors, an aluminum Edelbrock intake manifold, and a forged-steel crankshaft. This powerplant also included heavy-duty valve springs, a dual-breaker distributor, and 10.5:1 compression ratio. Cooling this beast comes courtesy of a heavy-duty 26-inch radiator. Transmission choices included an A833 four-speed manual or a TorqueFlite 727 three-speed automatic.

Under regular driving, the center 350-cfm two-barrel carburetor fed fuel to the engine. However, once the driver dumped the accelerator, the two 500-cfm two-barrels would also kick in, exposing this car’s full potential.

Super Stock & Drag Illustrated magazine put the 1969 Plymouth Road Runner 440 Six Barrel A12 to the test for the June 1969 issue. Famed drag racer Ronnie Sox put the car through its paces with several runs at Cecil County Dragway in Rising Sun, Maryland. After several runs down the track, Ronnie’s best time was a 12.91 second quarter mile run at 111.8 miles per hour. The magazine complimented the 440 Six Barrel by stating “The 440-6 BBL is undoubtedly one of the finest engineering accomplishments in the recent history of Chrysler Corporation as regards race cars, and should certainly be one of the most popular models for “our” market the Corporation has built yet”.

Hemmings states that Plymouth built 615 Road Runner A12 coupes. 388 were equipped with a four-speed manual and 227 with an automatic. Hemmings also discovered that Plymouth built 797 Road Runner A12 hardtops. 422 of these received a four-speed manual and 375 with an automatic.

1969 had a slew of one hit wonders like “In the Year 2525” by Zager & Evans and “Smile a Little Smile for Me” by The Flying Machine from this psychedelic era come to mind. The 1969 Plymouth Road Runner 440 Six Pack A12 also proved to be a one hit wonder as Plymouth pulled the plug on the racer by year’s end. Today, the 1969 Plymouth Road Runner 440 Six Pack A12 is still revered by Mopar aficionados, thanks to its rare numbers and blazing performance.

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