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Dirks 69 RoadRunner



69 Road Runner
69 Road Runner

New customer Dirk brought us this car over 1000 miles one way to have us see if we could help him update his 69 Road Runner that he has had for nearly 30 years.  He bought it back in the late 70s as a used F8 green 383 4speed car, that was just a used car at the time. Over a period of nearly 3 decades, it has had different big blocks and several rear ends, been repainted once, and mainly drag raced. Nothing has been cut and it has always had the full interior without a roll cage. Its set up for a big block and a manual trans and has a Dana 60 with 411 gears. Manual steering, manual drum brakes, yet equipped with a 3 speaker dash, am/8 track radio and a factory tach. A very solid car that, if there is rust under the repaint, there isn't much. The whole car is in very good shape and needs nothing done to the normal places they usually rust. Floors, frames, trunk, rockers-- all like new. Just a couple chisel holes in the trunk to repair, that some kid put in it to run air shock lines. Interior will only need new carpet. Ran just before he pulled the engine and trans and brought it to us.

This car will be repainted, and the customer is supplying us with a 500" 440 built by Dave Brun at Mid America Racing in Washington Iowa. This 700+ horsepower big block will be coupled to a Keisler 5 speed with hydraulic clutch, and a TTI 3" exhaust with X pipe.

Follow us for more details and updated pictures along the way.


We completely stripped the car of the front and back glass, quarter windows, interior, dash assembly, K frame and suspension, all wiring, trim and weatherstripping. The casters under the front provide a clear area to be able to restore the engine compartment. Only thing left on the car is the rear end.

It had been hit in the left quarter and repaired so long ago that it was brazed on (before wire welders were common). There were some issues that were surfacing in that area, so a new full quarter was put on. Center section of the trunk floor was replaced from the battery being relocated to the trunk area. Other than those 2 places, only minor patchwork was needed.


While the body is off to the body shop, we blasted and painted the K frame and all the control arms and such. Everything was painted chassis black,  poly graphite bushings and  new ball joints were installed. This makes it so much easier to install all the new suspension outside of the car and provides a suitable place to start rigging the engine and trans. We would rather fit pulleys, plug wires and install the trans out of the car rather than under it or over the freshly painted fenders.

Engine was delivered to us by the builder, Dave Brun at Mid America Racing Engines (Washington, Iowa 319-653-6282). Its a 440 block with a 4.350 bore, 4.150 stroke, making it a 493 cubic inch motor. Indy EZ-1 heads with upgraded springs and retainers, H beam rods, SRP forged pistons, Comp Cams solid roller cam, 1.6 roller rockers, Edelbrock super victor intake with a 1050 Dominator. Ignition is all MSD. We installed a set of TTI coated polished headers with the ceramic heat barrier coating inside that will hook to a 3" mandrel bent exhaust system with an X pipe, Dynomax mufflers and full tailpipes. Mid America does all of the machine work in-house, from crank grinding to balancing to porting. They have their own flow bench and dyno, and know how to use them. This engine dynoed 681 horsepower at 6900rpm and produced 615 ft lb of torque at 5300rpm. Everything was calibrated and set on the dyno, and we aren't touching a thing.

Transmission is a Keisler TKO500 with a  .68 overdrive 5th gear. It was modified at Keisler to withstand the additional horsepower and torque of this engine combination, and to be able to shift it at a higher RPM. This set up with a 4.11 rear gear and 275/60-15 tires in the back will make it launch in first like it has a 5.05 rear gear, and cruise at 2300 rpms at 70 mph (with a 4 speed and these gears it used to cruise at over 3500 rpm at 70). Just for fun, IN THEORY, if the car has enough horsepower to overcome the aerodynamic drag of the body, at 6900rpm it should run 206 mph. Zero to 150 would be the most logical speed range of this car without danger to equipment or animals.

With the body back from paint, and the engine/trans/suspension ready, we start assembling pieces. The dash has been cleaned and all the wiring checked. MSD 6AL has been mounted in the glovebox and the wiring run. This was a very nice untouched dash assembly with all the wiring looking like it was 5 years old at the most. I wouldn't be surprised if the radio works. Before the dash is installed, the hydraulic clutch is installed in the firewall and hooked to the clutch pedal, and the reservoir is hung by the brake master cylinder in the engine compartment. Much easier without a dash and steering column in the way. We have found that the TTI headers with the thermal barrier coating transfer so much additional heat into the lead pipes, we needed to add extra insulation directly above where the pipes run under the car. We installed a layer of heat and noise insulation from firewall to package tray, the full length of the car.  Next, in goes the dash all in one piece. Then the heater core, windshield, back glass and quarter windows. From there the rest of the soft trim goes in (carpet, door panels, seats, weatherstrips).

On the engine, the plug wires have been cut and fitted, and bolted to the K frame. The billet flywheel and 11 inch clutch have been installed, and the transmission with hydraulic slave cylinder is bolted up. Transmission crossmember is in place and the whloe works is wheeled up under the body. The K frame attaches and locates everything in the front and the trans crossmsmber slides right in place with 4 bolts also. Raise it all back up and attach the upper control arms and slide in the torsion bars. Bolt on wheels and its back to a roller.


Next, we start in on the bottom of the car. Its a non-undercoat car so there wont be anything done to the bottom but undercoat the repaired area of the trunk which is hidden by the gas tank. We are upgrading the fuel system from the original 5/16" to 8AN braided hose with a Holley black pump. The tank is a Hot Rod City Garage hand fabricated aluminum tank that has been 'deepened' 2" increasing its capacity to 24 gallons. We are also adding a Hellwig adjustable rear sway bar to the rear end. As soon as the drive shaft gets here from Keisler, the rest of the 3" TTI exhaust goes on.

Forward wiring harnesses in the engine compartment gets checked for abrasions and age, then get any additional wiring added in (electric fan feed) and then re-wrapped. We are installing an aluminum radiator with dual fans mounted in a custom shroud, for extra cooling.