Road Runner dream roars back to life for local

By David Fleet
Groveland Twp.— Jim Nichols still considers himself fortunate.
His father, Perry Nichols, a long time employee at Dodge Truck Assembly, gave his son Jim a Plymouth Satellite after graduating from Waterford High School in 1971.
“The car was great but I wanted the Plymouth Road Runner,” said Jim, now 69 years old and a township resident. “The Satellite was a family car, I wanted the muscle that’s a Road Runner.”
Jim went on to work in the paint shop at Pontiac GMC Truck & Coach where he retired in 2002.
So in 2015, the dream of owning a Road Runner came true, when Jim purchased the classic Plymouth in dire need of repair.
“There was a lot of rust,” recalled Nichols. “The 1969 Road Runner was what I wanted, but it needed a lot of work.”
The Plymouth Road Runner was a mid-size performance car built in the United States between 1968 and 1980. One of the original muscle cars with family car roots, the Road Runner remains a classic collectible today.
The factory 383 cubic inch V8 came with a Carter carburetor, and was changed to a Edelbrock four barrel.
“Although I had to purchase a rebuilt 383 MoPar, I kept the engine stock but not original,” said Nichols.
The sticker price on the Road Runner was $2,800 which included dual exhaust, Hurst Four Speed transmission, factory air condition, AM Radio, 4 wheel drum brakes (changed to disk front brakes).
A paint shop veteran, Nichols replaced the original ivy green color to its luster.
“Consider gas was about 38 cents per gallon in 1970, the Road Runner only gets about 12 miles per gallon,” he said. “While not economical, it’s fun to drive and get plenty of looks.”
The six year project was completed in 2019 and will be on display at the 70th annual Detroit Autorama in Detroit, Feb. 24-26.

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