Sunday, 3 November 2019

The Road Runner

Plymouth Road Runner - Wikipedia photo by Bull-Doser


If you've read Solar Rising you'll be familiar with Packy's Road Runner. If you haven't read the book yet, spoilers ahead.

The Plymouth Road Runner was a slightly lesser known 70's muscle car, but in my story it becomes virtually another character. Packy has a knack of accumulating objects to which he then forms attachments with. In the last three books it was his Mac-10 submachine gun, but in this book, it's the Road Runner that captures his heart - after Dee, of course.

The Road Runner first appeared in Solar Winter, making only a brief appearance before Rick gifts it to Lou - over Packy's protestations. I had no actual plans to bring the car back into the limelight in Solar Rising, but Packy clearly had different ideas. What follows is more than just a love affair. Packy's Road Runner provides some of the most thrilling, nail biting car chase scenes that I've ever written. In fact, the only ones I've ever written.

I've been writing action scenes for a long time now, inspired by many that I've read, all the way back to my youth. But I don't recall ever having read a detailed car chase scene. I assume it's because such things don't lend themselves to literary description, but then again, that can be said for any scene involving action. I don't know what readers think about it (yet), but I enjoyed writing it a lot. If you like old-school car chases - before they got theatrical and a little too fantastical (looking at you, Fast and Furious) - then you'll enjoy this one possibly as much as I did.

But what was the Road Runner, and where did it get its name?

The Plymouth Road Runner first came out in 1968, as a cheaper alternative to the more famous cars like the Mustang and Challenger. Stripped to its basics and retaining only raw power, with few options available apart from speed, it was built as a back-to-basics muscle car. Its name derives from the Warner Brothers Road Runner cartoons, and Plymouth paid for the rights to use the name, logo and even designed a 'meep meep' horn to emulate the cartoon character.


By 1972 it had gained a few luxuries like air conditioning and power steering, but it also acquired a great fuselage-style body and a hefty range of V8 engines. The one used in the story is - of course - the biggest available, at over 400 hp. I think you can see from this video exactly why Packy fell in love with it. I know I would have.



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