In 1972 Plymouth introduced another classic muscle car that many people name as one of their all-time favorites: The 72 RoadRunner. Unfortunately for the performance crowd, in 1972 newly introduced emission regulations cut the development of new and more powerful engines short and left Plymouth with engines that were less powerful. Thus the 1972 model was almost identical to the 1971 model, with a few minor changes in the exterior.
Plymouth delivered the 1972 model with a new grille and matching tail lights, as well as new side marker lights. Critics often times mention that the 1971 side marker lights looked much better in comparison and that the 1972 lights were just another Chrysler generic without unique character. The 1972 RoadRunner was also delivered with optional bumper guards that featured rubber strip around the grille and the tail lights. The biggest difference was introduced in the suspension, rear axle ratios and tires sizes. The engines were modified as to achieve a drop in compression ratio to meet emissions guidelines. For the 1972 production year a 280 hp engine marked the heart of the newly introduced GTX package that replaced the Plymouth GTX. The legendary Hemi engine was discontinued for the 1972 model year.
In general the 1972 model year was the low for many manufacturers of muscle cars around the country. The issues that the country face due to the oil crisis, new emission laws and the connected economic down turn was experienced very harshly by the car manufacturers. Muscle cars were often viewed as a luxury for fun or as a toy, but in bad times many people decided to save their money instead of investing in a car that most people were not even able to fill with gas without paying through the teeth.. The increase in insurance premiums due to a surcharge for muscle cars was also a very important factor for the relatively bad sales numbers of the 72 RoadRunner.
The situation has changed nowadays luckily, as the 1972 RoadRunner is a very popular car for many enthusiasts. Despite the lower power output and speed many collectors favor this unique car due to its historic value and presence in the 1970s.