The ‘Rapid Transit System’ Road Runner
This rather special Plymouth Road Runner Rapid Transit was the Plymouth brand’s star for their release of the 1971 factory models. The new G-series designs rewrote the book on Mopar’s B-body lines and sent Richard Petty on to multiple NASCAR titles. The car featured here was an early ‘what if’ exercise built by one of the top creative minds in the customising business.
At that time, legendary show promoter Bob Larivee was busy working with Plymouth on the Rapid Transit System Caravan travelling road show. This was a tour that took everything from standard factory models to the Don Prudhomme Hot Wheels Cuda funny car for static displays around the US. With the new body release coming, Chuck Miller was given the task of executing a show concept. Miller had already established himself in Detroit as a major player with the first Hurst Olds and the Monogram Red Baron Street Rod in his portfolio. His company, Styline Custom, built this car for Chrysler Corporation in 1970.
Among Miller’s styling changes were a custom-molded front end that extended the car’s overall length by more than 6 inches, with a built-in roll pan (rear bumper panel), the hand-formed steel mesh grille and covered headlamps. The hand-formed rear roll pan now concealed red, green and amber tail lenses, while still maintaining the factory cues on the body design itself.
The work went further, as ram-air induction scoops were added to paired indentations on the bonnet. A molded rear spoiler was formed and blended into the boot lid. The paint chosen was an orange candy-over-pearl blend with white pearl added along the sheet metal’s lower break-line. The crowning details were the ‘chicken heads,’ the three-dimensional vacuum-formed translucent custom Road Runner heads that serve as side lights on all four corners. Custom black pan wheel covers completed its appearance of coyote-avoiding stealth.
Kept simple mechanically, under the hood is a 383 V8 engine with the dual-snorkel air cleaner backed by an automatic transmission. Likewise, the interior was kept in standard form with Road Runner bucket seats, Rally3 dash and an AM radio.
Back in the day, the RTS Road Runner was featured in numerous publications, as Chrysler created a portfolio of studio photographs of the finished model. Today it remains the only example ever constructed, totally original and with less that 2,000 miles on the clock. Unique on almost every level – origin, modification, preservation and current condition – this is the ‘Chicken Head’ Rapid Transit System Road Runner.
Mecum Auctions will be offering this very special car at their upcoming Indy auction between the 14-19th May. For more information on this and other vehicles at the sale, click on the link below. Photos: © Courtesy of Mecum Auctions.