The 71 RoadRunner marked the first production year of the second generation of the Plymouth RoadRunner. The car’s design was completely changed as the company as a whole was exploring new ways of designing its cars. The car was based on a new platform called the “B-body”. In 1971 the Plymouth released only a 2-door coupe version of the RoadRunner, as the convertible version was completely stopped.
As with all muscle cars, the engines that were offered for the 1971 Plymouth RoadRunner are probably the most interesting for many enthusiasts. The 1971 Plymouth RoadRunner was available with 6 different engines, the smallest being a 5.2L V-8 and the largest being the very legendary 7.2L V-8. The transmissions offered were the 4-speed manual transmission and, for additional cost, the 3-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission.
Nowadays many people argue that 1971 RoadRunner was not a very desirable car due to its design and b-body platform. The problem that often times was mentioned when it came to the cars bodies was that they looked too old and reminded many people of their grandmother’s car. Chrysler was very aware of new design trends in the future and thus started to design their cars accordingly and in later years, their efforts were rewarded. In the beginning though most people disliked the designs immensely.
The fact that Plymouth did not sell many of the 1971 RoadRunner was largely due to two developments that were completely out of the manufacturer’s hand: The first oil crisis that hit in 1971 and the ever-increasing surcharge on insurance policies that made a muscle car a very expensive car to own. Rising oil prices and rising insurance premiums hindered many sales and hit the muscle car scene pretty hard.
Chrysler and Plymouth came up with a gig to use the developments to their advantage and started an advertisement campaign that showed an actor dressed as an insurance salesperson stating that a only standard people pay the standard premium for their standard cars, implying that the 1971 RoadRunner was for people who wanted to be extraordinary. Unfortunately many people decided that money as more important and thus the 1971 RoadRunner was not able to repeat the economic success previous models had.
Despite all the misery that the 71 RoadRunner had to go through in its prime, many collectors and muscle car enthusiasts are searching for the car today to rebuild them or look for a rare RoadRunner in excellent condition.