Winged Warriors/National B-Body Owners Association
Special Feature Car - Merrill Crosbie

Introduction by Sue George
Remaining text and photos by Merrill Crosbie

This month's feature car is the beautiful RoadRunner owned and restored by Merrill Crosbie of Ogden, Utah. This RoadRunner was lucky to have found a good home where it would be so appreciated. Here is Merill's story:

"I bought a brand new 1972 RoadRunner when I was 16 years old. My mother was a widow that did not drive, so when I was old enough to drive, she let me pick out the 'family' car. I ordered a low option Basin Street Blue 400 RoadRunner in March of 1972. In May, 1972, I got a letter from Plymouth saying I had ordered my car too late in the model year for a 1972, so they were building me a 1973. They included publicity photos of the 1973 model. I was heartbroken.

There was just something about that B-bumper that got my blood flowing, and so I had to have the 1972 model. I went back to my dealer and he did a search for me. They found a new 1972, white with black buckets, a 340 slapstick car with air grabber, and hood and deck stripes in Idaho. Since I was obviously a desperate 16 year old, I am sure I didn't get a good deal, but I loved that car.

I drove that car for nine years. It took me away to college and every memory I have of my youth is in that car. Then I foolishly traded it off. I regretted it from the moment I did it. I can remember looking in the rear view mirror at it as I drove off in my new car, and feeling I was doing the wrong thing.

Move ahead to 1996. I am now in my mid-life crisis. I wanted my car back. I had a friend who worked for the State Police and he did a VIN search in all 50 states for my old car. It was only registered in Utah for 2 years after I traded it off, then it disappeared. But, there is still hope to find it because no salvage title has ever been issued. So, it is either a trailer queen or rusting away in somebody's yard. I would love to get that car back. I have attached an old fuzzy picture of it (shown below)--the only one I have--if anyone ever sees this car, I WANT IT BACK! The side stripes were dealer installed and make it easy to spot, assuming they are still there.

I had to give up the search for my old RoadRunner, so I set out on a quest for another one. I searched the Internet and bought old-car trader magazines. I found a couple of candidates across the country and in Canada, but I would always call a dealership near the car and ask them to evaluate it for me. I decided against several cars until I found this one in Alabama. It was a two-fender-tag car that was originally black with a white strobe stripe, 400 automatic, with black bucket seat interior. It was now red with a black strobe stripe and a 440 from a police interceptor. It had red crushed velvet seat covers that made me wretch, but I could see it was complete, rust-free and had potential to be everything I wanted.

The deal was made and I flew from Utah to Alabama to pick up the car. The owner assured me that there was less then 4,000 miles on the engine and it would make the trip, but he didn't mention that it would be bucking and snorting the whole way! The car wouldn't go over 55 mph without vibrating off the road. The engine was strong but an exhaust leak forced the windows down even during the most driving rain! I drove home on Route 66 and stopped to see Elvis and 'The Thing" along the way. In Blue Water, NM I spied an old Satellite of similar year that was decomposing in somebody's yard. I stopped and looked at it and the landowner spied me. We struck up a conversation and I told him I was taking this RoadRunner home to restore it. He offered to let me take any parts off this old car in his yard that I wanted. So, I spent an extra day on the way home dismantling this old car and loading it in my trunk. Good thing these things have huge trunks. As I was leaving, the guy informed me that the car wasn't his! Somebody had just abandoned it there. I kind of turned gray, but didn't ask any more questions and drove as quickly out of New Mexico as I could!

This car made it home, but not without dramatics. The alternator fried, and the rear brakes ceased to function 200 miles from home. But, we forged ahead and like a noble steed, it delivered me home before it laid down and died.

Everything but the engine and transmission had to be completely rebuilt. The vibrations were traced to suspension and driveshaft...the universal joint turned to dust when it was removed. The engine and transmission were then and remain strong. I seriously thought when I bought it, I would be painting it white, finding an air grabber and recreating my first love. But, as you can see, things evolved.

This car spoke to me on the trip home and as I was doing the restoration, it became its own car, rather than a duplicate of a previous one. The air grabber never happened in favor of refurbishing the factory air important concession to mid-life comfort. The color was to be white right up until the day it was painted. That day I saw my first blue Viper GTS with white stripes and instantly this old Bird was destined to have vibrant plumage.

This car is one of 117 with power windows and one of 7 (!) with the sill moulding...that chrome strip that runs between the wheel wells. That was apparently not a popular option.

My RoadRunner has provided me with many miles of great fun since then. It has driven across country with the Hot Rod Power Tour, attended all-Mopar shows in California, and has won many awards at local shows and cruises. I just wish there was a Mopar presence in Utah. I have never, ever seen another B-Bumper Roadrunner at any local show (and very few at national shows). There seems to be an abundance of every other make, but Mopars are hard to find here. I do get a lot of attention as a result, though. My RoadRunner also had 30 seconds of fame on Motor Week a year ago, and was the featured owner's car on the website in December, 2001".

Click On A Photo To View The Full-Size Version

[1972 RoadRunner]
[1972 RoadRunner]
[1972 RoadRunner]
[1972 RoadRunner]
[1972 RoadRunner]
[1972 RoadRunner]
[Have You
Seen This Car?]
[1972 RoadRunner]
And His 1972 RoadRunner]


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