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68 Road Runner "The Motovator"

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  • 68 Road Runner "The Motovator"

    Sometime around 1988-9 my Dad traded a set of wheels and tires for a old worn out and beat up 68 Road Runner to use as a family parts car. The car had some letting on the doors and was called "The Motovator". I was 14 years old at the time and wanted to fix that car up but my Dad said no, it's too far gone. It had been hit on the driver side and was missing a fender, hood and front bumper. The inner fenders were cut for fender well headers and someone hacked the tunnel to install a 4 speed. One of the first things I did was take off the fender tag and kept in my dresser drawer for safe keeping. The car only had 2 options when it left the factory. Automatic trans and a 3.55 sure grip rear. Those options meant it then came with a 26 inch radiator.

    Anyway the old "Motovator" was picked clean of every last part imaginable. Some stuff went in my Dad's 69 Super Bee, my brothers '69 Charger, and my first car that I still have today a '69 GTX. It was nothing more than a stripped carcass of it's former glory, sitting on my Grandparents farm.

    Fast forward to 2006. The bug to work on another project bit me. I looked around, but even rusted hulks were way out of my price range. While visiting my Grandparents, I made my way to do my usual routine and pay my respect to the once mighty "Motovator". While looking at the stripped shell all I could think of "how bad could it be?" I found my next project!

  • #2
    The plan for the car was to build a purpose built race car and try and do it on a budget. Over the next few year I bought a couple 4 door Coronets for misc parts, and found deals on fiberglass fenders, bumpers and hood. Picking up items as I could find them at a can't pass up deal. I bought a pair of 1/4 panel skins and got them on right away. Once I started on the car though it became apparent the almost 20 years of sitting outside had really taken a toll on the poor car. The rockets were shot the floor was thin in areas and the rear frame rails were no good. So the plans of using my ladder bar setup from my GTX was tossed out, and the plan switched to a full back half 4 link car.


    • #3
      While in the past I had a local install a roll bar in my GTX. He was the one guy I like using for chassis work as he did very nice work at a reasonable rate. He decided it was time to hang up his welding helmet, and I was out of luck.

      So I bought a tube bender... I knew exactly how I wanted the cage to look and thought what better way to learn a new skill?


      • #4
        As time went on the ambition to work on the car was lacking. I just didn't have it in me. My plan was and always has been to repaint the car in the factory EE1 Dark Blue, but I went back and forth about lettering it up again as I never took pictures of the car before stripping the paint on the doors. If I couldn't do it right I didn't want to do it at all. Then a couple years ago I put up a post on the Minesota Dragways page on Facebook asking if anyone remembered the car or possibly had and pictures of it. It was another long shot as I had been asking for years on various web forums without any luck. One morning I woke up to find this picture posted to that request.

        I almost had a heart attack. A local named Paul Walker sent me this. As a young kid he used to go to the local tracks and take TONS of pictures of the cars back in the late 70's. This picture was a game changer for me. I had never saw the car in good condition. Now to possibly find out WHO owned it back then.


        • #5
          Hellinor- 2005 Mustang GT-Bolt ons, in need of a turbo

          War Wagon- 1966 Bel Air Wagon-355 Crate motor, 700r4, flies pretty good for a brick...


          • #6
            With a new found motivation, it was time to really get going on the car again, and really make the car what I had visioned. The chassis will be a legal NHRA Super Stocker if I ever want to go that route. Some of the work I did in the past just wasn't up to what I liked and knew I could do now, so out came the plasma cutter. I replaced the rocker panels, floor pans, and inner fender wells with new AMD parts. The front frame rail had been damaged in the past and with a HUGE donation by HEMI Joel, I replaced the driver side frame rail and most of the core support out of a 66 Belvedere Joel had cut up for his RO23 project.


            • #7
              nice... looking forward to watching this


              • #8
                Cool story. Looking forward to the next update.
                Chris - HRPT Long Haul 03, 04, 05, 13, 14, 15,16 & 18
                74 Nova Project
                66 Mustang GT Project

                92 Camaro RS Convertible Project
                79 Chevy Truck Project
                1956 Cadillac Project


                • #9
                  As a Ford guy,it's great to see another MOPAR! Welcome to BS.
                  Overdrive is overrated


                  • #10
                    About a year after getting the picture of the car from Paul I heard a coworker had lived in the area the Motovator was possibly from. I asked him about it but he had never heard of it but would ask around. A few days later he gave me a name. Someone remembered the car! I did a internet search of the name and got a possible lead. No phone number but a address. I scribbled a message on a piece of paper with my phone number and like a castaway sending a message in a bottle I hoped for the best. 2 or 3 days later I got a voice mail with a guy saying YES he used to own that Road Runner! I called him back later that night with a list of questions. I could hardly believe it. We talked for about a hour about the car and he asked what my plans were for it. I told him I wanted to paint the car just like it was when he owned it. "By chance do you have any pictures of the car"? I asked. "Looking at one right now" he had a few more in storage and said he would find them and get them to me. A few months passed and my phone rang again. Bruce had located the pictures and wanted to deliver them to me. He now lives almost 70 miles from me. I told him I would come to him. "NOPE. I want to see the car" he said. A few weeks later he made the drive and these are the pictures I received.


                    • #11
                      With new detailed pictures of the lettering I can now for sure have the car looking like it did back in the late 70's. Here are a few more pictures as it sits. Still a long way to go, but I have 98 percent of the parts to finish the car.



                      • #12
                        Holy mother of awesome....I mighta just pee'd a little....
                        If you can leave two black stripes from the exit of one corner to the braking zone of the next, you have enough horsepower. - Mark Donohue


                        • #13
                          Updates on this might be a while. I do not have a heated garage and every November 1st I put my tools down for the winter and find something else to do. Good thing my buddy HEMI Joel lives near by and has a heated shop, and plenty of projects. Be patient, more will come.
                          Last edited by JERICOGTX; November 3, 2015, 11:06 AM.


                          • #14
                            Dude - Get some heat!!! It's one of the best moves I've made in my various shops over the years and now is REQUIRED. This shop has a big ol' hanging heater (Reznor) and it really kicks butt. I found it in Craig's List and was pretty cheap with low hours. Also cool that you get to hang out with Joel - wish I lived closer (except we have better weather). I'd love to be a shop slave on his Deusenberg.

                            The RR is great! I've had a '68 and 2 '70's over the years and loved them all. The second '70 was a great rust-free Oklahoma car but I ran out of steam on the project and sold it. One of those regrets we all have. Glad that you're bringing this one back.



                            • #15
                              the whole Motorvator story is awesome, and you did a great job writing it up. That is going to be one fast and well built car when it is done, and it is so cool that you found the old owner and got the pictures so you can replicate the paint. It has been fun hearing the updates as the story unfolded. Now everyone on Bangshift gets to see it!

                              Here is the donor car in the process:

                              In 1 day it went from a 2 door hardtop to a home made convertible, to a pile of rubble. But some must be sacrificed so that others can live.

                              Dan, we don't want Jeff to get heat in his shop, I need his help!
                              Last edited by Hemi Joel; November 3, 2015, 12:42 PM.