- 375-hp, 440-ci “Super Commando” V8
- Automatic transmission
- Air conditioning and power steering
- Interior features bucket seats, console and radio
|Vehicle:||1967 Plymouth GTX 2-door hard top|
|Number Produced:||12,115 (1967: 11,429 hard top, 686 convertible)|
|Original List Price:||$3,178|
|SCM Valuation:||$32,500 hard top, $34,000 convertible|
|Tune Up Cost:||$300|
|Chassis Number Location:||Plate on driver’s door post|
|Engine Number Location:||Pad located on the right side of the block to the rear of the engine mount|
|Club Info:||WPC Club Inc.|
|Alternatives:||1967 Pontiac GTO, 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396, 1967 Ford Fairlane GT|
This car, Lot 1097, sold for $29,700, including buyer’s premium, on August 30, 2018, at RM Auctions’ fall sale in Auburn, IN. It was sold without reserve.
Take a look at the big chrome gas cap on the side of this ’67 GTX. It was modeled after the types of fuel caps used on race cars at the time and hinted at the racing DNA underneath that red paint. The GTX may have been spawned from the humble Plymouth Belvedere, but somewhere within the Highland Park engineering buildings, the GTX mutated into a very different beast.
A muscle machine
Plymouth’s famed Product Planning Manager, Jack Smith, created the Plymouth Belvedere GTX. Smith wanted a better competitor to the original muscle machine, Pontiac’s GTO. He played with three-letter combinations before deciding on GTX, then had the Plymouth studio create a lean, clean look by stripping the sporty Satellite model of most if its chrome.
“Because of a minimum of exterior decorations,” Car Life magazine wrote, “an aggressive, compactly muscular image emerges. This aspect is heightened by the view from the driver’s bucket seat: Looking down that broad hood, between the window-dressing ‘scoops’ and over the pointed, vertical hood ornament, the driver feels sharply inspired with the brute masculinity of the vehicles.”
That brute force was provided by the 375-horsepower Super Commando 440. For ’67, Chrysler took the already-fine Commando 440 and added better flowing heads and a more aggressive hydraulic cam to create the GTX’s engine, which Car Craft magazine called “a street engine with racing ability without the problems of a finely tuned racing mill.” Car Life saw 0–60 mph in 6.6 seconds, which was actually faster than the race-bred Hemi, all without the expense and nasty temperament of the 426 “Elephant” engine.
The Hemi was available in the GTX, and 115 were built with the $564 option (about $4,320 in today’s dollars), but around town the 440 proved to be the sensible approach to performance. Of course, if speeds got well above normal street velocities, the Hemi was king.
Proof via Petty
Underneath the GTX, the heavy-duty suspension, comprised of progressive-rate torsion bars up front and luddite leaf springs out back, had the reputation of providing exceptional handling and traction to the narrow bias-ply tires of the times, all tied to a stiff, light unibody architecture. Like most Chrysler products of the era, the GTX rode with a reassuring firmness, with above-average cornering and brakes.
But the real proof of the GTX’s genetics was revealed on the NASCAR circuit throughout 1967. Richard Petty earned his second NASCAR Grand National championship in a season never to be equaled — 27 victories out of 48 races, including 10 straight wins.
The GTX started at $3,178, around $250 more than a Pontiac GTO, but because of GM’s restrictions on engine size, the GTX packed that monster 440, something GTO owners with their 400-cubic-inch powerplants could only dream of. The GTO still outsold the GTX by roughly seven to one in 1967, but the GTX set the stage for the runaway success of the Plymouth Road Runner that Jack Smith created just before the launch of the rebodied 1968 models (the GTX continued as an upscale performance machine with standard 440 power). Plus, those 1967 GTX owners could honestly brag that, like a Plymouth magazine advertisement said, the only way to pass Richard Petty’s GTX — or any owner’s GTX — is if it’s on a trailer.
Driver or show car?
Our feature GTX certainly looks the part, with that stripped-down stance like it’s ready to trade paint on the banks of Darlington or Daytona. Inside and out it looks to be well restored, with excellent PP1 “Bright Red” paint and the optional Magnum 500 wheels that so many of these cars had from new. It also has air conditioning — a rare, expensive option in 1967, but perfect for a GTX that is intended for frequent use. But under the hood, the braided hoses, modern chrome pieces and Optima battery tell the world that this is a driver and not a concours trailer queen.
As the former owner of a similar 1967 Satellite convertible, I can tell you these Mopar B-bodies drive well for cars that are a half-century old. But possibly this image of a driver kept the price of this GTX below the current median — the ACC Pocket Price Guide Q3 edition shows a median value of $32,500.
Here’s the conundrum for any seller of ’60s muscle, especially for a car that has little or no provenance: Keep the car stock or “restify” it with upgraded brakes, suspension, tires, and powertrain for a better driving experience? Maybe the best approach is to mildly customize while keeping the factory appearance. Add factory disc brakes and air conditioning to a muscle car that originally had neither, and include modern poly suspension bushings, upgraded shocks and a set of vintage-looking BFGoodrich Redline Radial tires for a more-modern feel.
I’m always concerned when a vehicle sends a mixed message. Is it a show car? Is it a driver? At least with an all-out Pro Street machine, you know what you are getting, although heavily modified cars invariably lose money for a seller. Could something as simple as replacing the valve covers, air cleaner, hoses and battery with reproduction factory pieces have driven the price higher on this GTX? It certainly couldn’t have hurt. The owner would then have a stunning machine that is fun and practical to drive while still being show-worthy at all but the most demanding concours.
As it is, the new owner got a bit of Richard Petty DNA at a discount price. For the money, I’d consider this one well bought.
(Introductory description courtesy of RM Auctions.)