My neighborhood was packed with Road Runners back in the early 1970s, in no small part because we had one of the top-selling Chrysler-Plymouth dealerships in Indiana a few blocks from my house.
The wild fruity colors of the late 1960s and early ‘70s lit up the dealer’s lot, and us pre-teens and teens loved circling the lot on our bikes picking out what we just “knew” we’d own, once that $1.50-an-hour bus boy job came through down at the Chuckwagon restaurant. They were sweet dreams to be sure.
Those long-hooded Road Runners and even more luxurious GTX hardtops were calling our names. We still can’t afford a real one, but a metal 1/18 scale model from Auto World is easier to swing. Plus, you can corral a lot of scale horsepower without breaking the bank as the American Muscle lineup’s models usually check-in at less than $100.
Plymouth’s Road Runner was a stripped-down model known for its muscle, not its plush interior. It rode on Chrysler’s B platform that was the underpinnings of its midsize models, the Belvedere and Satellite. Styling included a recessed grille and headlights in a rather slim projecting hose. Its windshield was steeply raked too and power came from a 340 cu.in. or 383 cu.in. V8, although two 7.0-liter Hemi V8s also were available.
The GTX was more refined inside with leather seats and wood finished dash. Plus, its 385-horsepower 440 Six Barrel engine took a backseat to few V8s at the time, reportedly churning out a quarter mile in less than 14 seconds while exceeding 100 mph. Muscle was big, even if it was about to fade as the Oil Crisis loomed a few years down the highway.
But 1971 was the last year GTX was a stand-alone model, by 1972 it was merely an option package on Road Runner, with that model name running through 1980. By 1975 the Road Runner had become a boxy ol’ thing that looked like a Buick or some other run-of-the-mill GM midsize car. So long styling!
This eye-catching yellow screamer though reflects one of the finest surviving GTX models out there, formerly part of the noted Tim Wellborn collection and often featured in muscle car mags. Like most American Muscle line cars from Auto World, this GTX features steerable front wheels, opening doors, hood and trunk and a well-detailed V8 and accurate interior.
Outside there’s the matte black top that resembles vinyl, along with a big black spoiler on the trunk lid and thin black pinstripes on either side running from bumper to bumper and up over the wheel wells, accentuating the car’s long lean lines.
There’s a GTX decal on both sides behind the doors and in front of the rear wheel wells, plus a GTX logo on the hood. Inside the hood scallops is a 440/6 label too, showing off the car’s power. The chrome hood pins hint at that too. By 1971 there also were amber fender reflectors front and rear, these being symmetrical in design with three rectangles for each.
Inside, this model features a luxurious white leather look for the seats and door panels, with a brown trim line that matches the fake wood paneling on the dash, which is black. There’s a giant pistol-grip shifter on the wide console, also with a wood look on top.
The steering wheel is a three-spoke sport wheel with metal look spokes and black ring. While the dash is well detailed with accurate looking gauges that have good depth to them, unlike some models that simply look like a sticker plunked on a flat plastic dash.
Also, note that Auto World cars feature detailed undercarriages, this one having dual exhausts and accurate looking front and rear suspensions too. Tires are treaded Goodyear blackwalls and wheels are beautiful chromed customs sport wheels. There’s even a spare tire in the monster trunk.
This car has a sporty stance and in this lemon twist color will stand out in any display case. All this at a reasonable price, and with a metal body, just like the real deal. This GTX is a winner!
Vital Stats: 1971 Plymouth GTX
Maker: Auto World
Stock No.: AMM1186/06