Collector Car Corner – My favorite muscle car: the 1967 Plymouth GTX

Collector Car Corner - My favorite muscle car: the 1967 Plymouth GTXRichard Petty's '67 GTX NASCAR Plymouth.
Collector Car Corner - My favorite muscle car: the 1967 Plymouth GTX

Perhaps one of the most famous muscle cars of 1967 was Plymouth’s “out to win you over” new Belvedere GTX, a mid-size car powered by either a 440 wedge or optional 426 Hemi. Columnist Greg Zyla owned a ’67 GTX, and he tells you that story in the special 1967 GTX column. (Ad compliments of former Plymouth division of Fiat/Chrysler.)

Many readers through the years have asked me which muscle car I owned during the 1960s to early 1970s that was my all-time favorite. The cars I owned included a 1963 Chevy Impala 283 with a T-10 Four Speed, a 1965 GTO convertible tri-power, a 1967 Plymouth GTX and finally a 1968 Camaro SS/RS 396/375.

Being that the GTO was pretty much beat up when I got it and the ’63 Chevy wasn’t really a ‘muscle car’ thanks to the smaller V8, the choice came down to my Plymouth GTX and my Camaro SS/RS 396/375. It’s awful tough choosing, but I have to give the edge to the GTX for overall enjoyment and being pretty much all new. (Yes the Camaro was faster, but it took way more spark plugs to keep it running in low speed stop and go cruising on the boulevards of that great decade.)

Although the 1967 GTX may not have been Plymouth’s first muscle car by any means (I’d give that nod to the 1962 Plymouth Savoy with the 413-inch, 410 horsepower wedge), it does rank near the top of the list as one of MOPAR’s most famous muscle cars of all-time.

Introduced to better compete with the successful Chevelle SS 396, Olds 442, Pontiac GTO, Buick Gran Sport, Mercury Comet Cyclone GT, AMC 390 models, and Ford Fairlane GT/GTA intermediates, Plymouth’s ’67 GTX would change the face of mid-size high performance cars for years to come.

Most of these intermediate muscle cars rode on wheelbases of 115 to 117 inches and the ‘67 GTX was right in the middle with a 116-inch wheelbase, along with sibling ’67 Dodge Coronet R/T. Power came from a 440 inch “Super Commando” 375-horsepower V8 hooked to either a 4-speed manual or the popular TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic.

The only ’67 GTX engine option for $800 more was the “Elephant” 426 Hemi, complete with two four barrels and a de-tuned rating of just 425 horsepower. The street and strip crowd quickly figured that with some smart tuning, a good set of headers, some ignition work, and a low ratio rear (4:10 or 4:56), the Hemi was an easy 11-second quarter-mile car with few if any foes.

The GTX with the wedge 440, however, was the more popular choice thanks to an engine featuring a hydraulic cam and a Carter single four-barrel for induction. Unlike the finicky solid-lifter cam Hemi, which fouled plugs in any type of extended low speed cruising similar to my 396/375 Camaro, the 440 wedge made for easier cruising and easy tuning. Additionally, the same type of bolt on aftermarket parts made a 440 GTX very fast, capable of mid to high 12-second quarter miles with 4:10 gearing.

So popular was the ’67 GTX that Plymouth expanded its muscle car program in 1968 to include the Roadrunner, a stripped down, cheaper version of the better-appointed “Gentleman’s Muscle Car” that the GTX was promoted as in print and TV ads.

Built in St. Louis, Mo., the Plymouth GTX would have a run of just five years, ending in 1971 and suffering declining sales in the face of new government regulations on emissions and the rise in gasoline prices.   

As the proud owner of a ’67 GTX 440 with a TorqueFlite, purchased in 1968 for $2995 with just 1,500 miles on the odometer, I speak from personal experience how beautiful and fast this car was. Few muscle cars of the day had the looks and the get up and go as a mid-size 1967 GTX, which was built on the Plymouth Belvedere assembly line. I’ll forever remember my B5 bright blue 1967 GTX, which did not have a vinyl top thank goodness but did have those cool red line tires.  

And was it fast? My GTX ran 12.90 at 108 at Atco Dragway in New Jersey with just bolt on aftermarket pieces. Granted, my 396/375 horse Camaro ran quicker (12.50’s with slicks, 4:56 rear, headers), but not much else on the street back then in the intermediate lines could touch my GTX.

Sadly, I had to let my GTX go when I received a letter of induction to report to Fort Jackson, SC, so my GTX beauty was gone by November of 1969.

To this day, I still keep have the best of memories of that ’67 GTX. 

(Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and the family of GateHouse Media publications. He welcomes reader questions/comments on collector cars at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, Pa. 18840 or email at greg@gregzyla.com. Check Greg’s website at zylamotorsports.com for more of his work.)

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