Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where I highlight fascinating cars I found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.
New Orleans certainly was a good time, with great food and great music. There sure were a lot of cars found around the quarter, but it's time get back to New York and get down to business (even if this car was secretly shot on Long Island instead of the city proper but shhhhh).
But this is Jalopnik, we can't be all about business, can we? Of course not, and that's why I love the Plymouth Road Runner. Muscle cars are loud and cartoony, and the Road Runner was never afraid of being the loudest or the cartooniest, and it was certainly never afraid to laugh at itself.
This model in particular is an early 1970s second-generation model, which came at the peak of the muscle car wars. Many people just remember the oil crisis in 1973 which led to emission controls choking off these V8-powered beasts, but from 1970-1972 engines with over 400 cubic inches of displacement (or 7.0 liters, under the new standards) were not uncommon. I'm not sure which engine was lurking under this specific Road Runner, but in the second generation the engines started at 318 cubic inches (5.2 liters) and went up from there- no inline sixes here!
Just look at that goofy grin on the emblematic bird itself. It perfectly sums up the entire muscle-car era before geopolitics took its toll and made the country fall into an era of seriousness and the industry fall into an era of malaise.
Look how long it stretches from nose to tail as well. Plymouth's official figures put the car's length at almost 17 feet, but it looks longer than an aircraft carrier to me. To give you an idea of the size, the Road Runner is a full two inches longer than a Mercedes S-Class. But that's what made this car great- it was, and still is, absolutely ridiculous.