WINGED WARRIORS/NATIONAL B-BODY OWNERS ASSOCIATION
SPECIAL FEATURE CAR
DOUG AND SHARON WILLIAMS' 1970 ROADRUNNER
This is the story of how we got lucky to own the most heavily optioned RoadRunner I have seen. My wife and I had been going to car shows and, of course, the Monster Mopar Weekend since we met. We were told by our friend every year that if we would just buy one, we wouldn't have to walk around so much. Admittedly pretty dumb on what we were looking at, we started to search for our dream car. We knew we wanted a B-body from 1968 to 1970. We looked at a lot of cars and determined that there were a lot of 1969s but not very many 1970s. We really wanted a GTX and thought we would be good in the $5,000 to $8,000 range. After going and looking at stuff in that price range, we decided we'd better step up and bite the bullet and aim to spend $10,000 to $12,000. I bought every magazine, book or for-sale publication I knew of since I didn't surf the net at the time. I bought a Hemmings and found a 1970 RoadRunner in Canada, 1,392 miles away, of all places.
After conversations, exchanging pictures and applying for a loan, we decided to buy the car. It was a two option car: engine heater and rear speaker. That's it. Bench seat, no power, 4-speed, TorRed and all original.
I asked my neighbor if he wanted to take a road trip. He said sure and asked where to. When I told him to Canada, he laughed and said why not. I didn't even own a vehicle that I would trust to go there and back; much less tow a car back. I talked to my best friend and talked him into using his Suburban. I had planned on getting a car dolly at the border. I picked up a 20-piece box of chicken, some soda and water and headed for Canada. My neighbor once told me that he loved to drive. I, on the other hand, hated to. I drove five hours just past Kansas City and then he took over. He drove the rest of the way to the hotel which was two hours from the meeting place. We got there twelve hours earlier than I had anticipated. I tried to call the man who I was purchasing the car from and tell him, but every call would not go through because the line was busy. I was so excited to be there but then mad because I could not get through to him.
We went to sleep (yeah, right) that night and woke up the next morning and called. Finally got through and he said his son was on the computer, tying up the line. I told him I was here and wanted to meet him as soon as possible. We ate breakfast and headed towards Whitetails, Montana. We stopped at the rental place for a dolly. The man I was buying the car from said he would set it up one way to St Louis. I told the man who I was and he said that he was expecting me. He did the paperwork and said, "That will be $725.00. I gasped and said that I only wanted it one way. He said, "That's the price." After everything going on, I was floored. I never checked on the price, figuring on $350 or $400. I was only getting a dolly, not a trailer!
I thought about it and since we were about twelve hours early, we decided to go looking and buy a trailer. We went into town on a Saturday morning and talked to people. It was the opening day of duck or goose hunting and everyone was out hunting. We found a farm implement company and I worked out a deal for a car hauler/trailer. I had no idea if I got a good deal or got ripped off. All I knew was if I took a $700 loss on it I would still be even. We headed to the border, got half-way there and I looked at my buddy and said that we don't have any chains or straps to tie the car down. We got lucky and pulled into a town that had a small hardware store and bought chain and turnbuckles. Onward to the border.
We pulled up, and much to my surprise, the car is there and he has already done the paperwork at the border. I looked at the car and gasped. It was filthy dirty and looked nothing like the pictures. I looked at the current owner and asked if this was the same car. He said, "Yeah, I didn't have time to clean it up. You are early." After I drove ALL that way, I decided to look at it and drove it down the road about 5 miles and back. I hadn't driven a stick in 15 years. I went back to the border and didn't know what to do. It was all there, just DIRTY, DIRTY, DIRTY. I was able to haggle the price down, which presented a problem on the paperwork he had done. We had to go back to the border shack and redo the paperwork. They did not seem to believe him at first. We got it worked out and down the road we went.
We no sooner had gone 15 miles from the border when, out of the corner of my eye two miles off to the right, I saw what appeared to be a 1970 RoadRunner coming towards us. At a four-way stop 1,300 miles from home, having just bought what I thought at the time was my dream car, appears this gorgeous Hemi Orange, white painted top, bucket seat RoadRunner. We headed on into town. Needless to say, he followed us and stopped in town and we talked about the cars. He says, "Hell, I would have sold you this one for that price!" I was feeling about two inches tall at this point. I took a picture of his car, got his name and number and said, "You never know, I might call you and come back and get it."
We headed back to St Louis, with my neighbor driving. The ride back was miserable. I was having buyer's remorse, not knowing what my wife was going to say about the car I just bought us, knowing I could have had the other car for the same money. Then it starts to rain. As I looked back at the car through the rear windows of the Suburban, the car started to take on a new personality. It started to shine! I said to my buddy, "It does look better wet." He drove about five hours then stopped for gas and the car did look better. I started to feel better and things were a little bit easier to deal with the rest of the trip. My buddy drove the whole way home, straight through. I felt bad that I couldn't stay awake.
We made the trip home on Sunday morning and pulled in the front yard, and my wife came out and did not say a word. I said, "The more it rains, the better it's looking." I could not wait to clean it. I power-washed that car for three hours with gravel coming out of the wheel lips and underside. I waxed it and my wife cleaned the interior and the car looked just like the picture again. Wow! We were pleased. The photos below show us at the Canada/U.S. border with the RoadRunner, and at home giving it a thorough cleaning.
After showing it and driving it for a couple of years, I realized that we bought the car for us to enjoy and my wife never drove it because it was a stick. I offered to show her and teach her, but she was very reluctant to try. Well, by now I have the internet. I know what is correct on my car and what isn't. I think I am a Mopar Guru. I actually had a numbers matching, all original 383, unrestored RoadRunner.
Well, one day comes that I am surfing the net. I am on a website for car demos, new and old. This site would demo a car and make a little movie with the car and then would evaluate the car. Pretty cool. I read an article on this Hummer and at the end the editor says, ".....and by the way, all of you out there know of my RoadRunner. I have finally decided to sell it. I don't drive it anymore, that much, and it's just sitting around gathering dust. The price is a firm $XXXX."
I had no idea what his car was or anything. I just, out of the blue, sent him an e-mail stating that I had one and was looking for something with an automatic. Much to my surprise, he sent me a lot of nice pictures (here we go again) of a LOADED RoadRunner. Same color exterior and interior. This car had everything but the kitchen sink. I asked where he was located. He said Sarasota, Florida. Wow, another 1,100 mile road trip. I immediately said I would take it. I did not have the money, but I knew I could sell my car for the same money. I told him of my situation, that I could send him a deposit and that if I did not sell my car within a month I would back down. He said no problem, that no down payment was necessary and to keep him informed of my progress of selling our car. Needless to say, I was so excited, e-mailing him back and forth. He sent me the movie that he did on the car with a 360 degree interior movie which you could stop and zoom in and out and look at everything. How cool is that?! It was a non-numbers matching car, but was a date-coded block, restored California car, done seven years before, back to STOCK. Weeks went by and I still had my car. A lot of calls, but no one came to see it or drive it. Finally, someone drove it and left, and said, "I will call you. I think I want it." Two more weeks and he did call and buy it.
Meanwhile, I had very many e-mails with the gentleman in Florida. The car was mine. All I had to do is come and get it. Well, I had the trailer and surprisingly enough my buddy still had the Suburban and with a new transmission. I reluctantly asked him again to use the car. He said, "I don't care. It's just a vehicle." So this time my wife went with me to pick this one up.
I had a lot better feeling on this trip. Felt better about the fact I had more documentation and good quality pictures and the movie. We drove down and when we got there, we called him and went straight to his house. He opened his doors and arms like he had known us all of his life. That's the way Mopar people are. After the tour of the house and the RoadRunner room, with all of his RoadRunner toys, his wife said, "Dear, I think they want to see the car!" "Oh yeah," he said and took us out to the garage. There it was. Just as promised. Getting a little crowded around the car. You could tell he had not used it much lately. He started it up and we took it for a cruise. It was a done deal. We loaded it up and said our goodbyes and thanks and we were on our way home. We had no problems on the ride home. Stopped to sleep...yeah, right. The car of my dreams on a trailer in a town I knew nothing about. I slept with one eye open for about six hours and we were on our way home. And yes, I did all of the driving. We have been showing the car for four years now. We have made some changes to the car: 15" Rallyes, new door panels, headliner, vinyl top, reproduction battery, correct wing, new exhaust, re-chromed front bumper, electronic ignition and lots of TLC under the hood. But the car was done correct to begin with. I was able to get the name of the person who restored the car and it was the gentleman's first full restoration. I talk to him about once a year. As you can see, the car is holding up well. It's been done about 12 years now and shows some signs of wear, but overall shows well.
The car (shown in the photos above) is a 383, TorRed, white vinyl top, white bucket interior, it has a console, automatic transmission, cruise control, power windows, steering and brakes. Some of the other items are AM-FM radio, 6-way driver's seat, pedal dress-up, tinted windows, noise reduction package. Rear defrost was added on at the time of restoration. It is the only item not on the build sheet.
Oh yeah, did I mention I
have the build sheet? We totally enjoy this car. We show it and drive it every
weekend here in the Show-Me State. It gets driven as long as it's not over four
hours away. Then yes, it's a trailer queen. And by the way, maybe you are
wondering if my wife enjoys driving this one? Well, not yet. It's only been four
years. One day...
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