As the Detroit automakers started cooking up hotter versions of their intermediate models, (Pontiac’s Tempest GTO, Oldsmobile’s Cutlass 442, Chevrolet’s Malibu Super-Sport and Ford’s Fairlane GT), the GTX arrived on the muscle car scene in 1967 as Plymouth’s serious contender. It was a hot rod version of the square Belvedere - with 426 cubic inch Hemi V-8 power an available option. As others had discovered with their mid-size chassis, Chrysler’s B-Body platform was rich with opportunity to tilt the balance toward high performance.
For 1969 the GTX received minor front and rear cosmetic changes, which included rectangular side markers, and a slightly modified grille and taillight treatment. On the performance side, the GTX was now available with a wider choice of rear axles, a Hurst shifter, and the new “Air Grabber” option, which consisted of dual air intakes in the hood with a dash-controlled shut off. A 440 engine came standard on the GTX with the Hemi available as a $700 option, which was was ordered on just 198 hardtops and only 16 GTX convertibles. The GTX was a swanky muscle car, and Plymouth offered an array of options like chrome filler caps, operational cold air induction hood scoops, racing stripes and more. Prices for the GTX in 1969 started at $3,416 for the hardtop and $3,635 for the convertible, but could reach $5,000 if fully optioned. Because of this much higher cost, relative to the more bare-bones Road Runner model, the GTX is rare today. The cars were incredibly quick and also usually better equipped than most other muscle cars of that time.
Though neutered by the economical and political climate that knee-capped so many muscle car programs in the early 70s, the GTX would survive through 1971 as a distinct model and into 1972 as an option package for the Road Runner. However, most Mopar enthusiasts consider 1969 as the high-water mark for the GTX. The increased number of standard features in concert with an impressively long list of extra-cost options allowed each buyer to order the car however they wanted it. The ’69 model’s styling also added to the appeal, as it was up to date, crisp, and aggressive without screaming paint colors and over-the-top cowl and striping treatments.
This particularly rare black-on-black GTX features the factory-installed Hemi/4-speed combination. Top down, this car is a malevolent street demon ready to conquer anybody silly enough to not see HEMI on the hood, while with the white top up Grandma could take it to church without notice. An understated chrome treatment and the deletion of the factory striping adds to this car's sleeper look. The 425 HP Hemi engine and A833 4-speed were mated to a Dana 60 Sure Grip rear end and reinforced cooling components. The car has a power top, power steering and brakes, and the interior features bucket seats with headrests, Hurst wood-knob shifter, 150 mph speedometer with integrated 8,000 RPM tach, and radio. It was auctioned off by Mecum Auctions at their Kissimmee Auction in 2016.
|---- Specifications ----|
|Engine||7 liter HEMI V8||Weight||--|
|HP/Liter||60.7 hp per liter||1/4 mile||--|
|0-62 mph||--||Top Speed||--|
Hot color was a big part of the late 1960s, but for the midnight ramblers who made cash in stoplight jousts, it was not always ideal to stand out from the crowd. This rare Plymouth is one of only five GTX convertibles (out of 700 total built) that had the 4-speed Hemi combination installed at the factory. Ordered new Black-on-Black, it was likely created for lashing out from the shadows to leave nothing behind but black marks on the pavement, terror to the boulevard wannabes and rumors whispered for weeks afterward.
That said, with the gorgeous white top up, this Hemi car is almost subdued. Light chrome work blends respectfully to the body, and the twin longitudinal stripes were not installed on its sides. The car has tubular turn-signal lights mounted on the front fenders, and appears non-threatening with 15-inch black styled steel wheels with small hubcaps accented by white-striped tires. Still, the real car guys knew those letters GTX well enough, and one glance at the word Hemi on the Air Grabber hood often meant slinking away unnoticed.
As built, this Hemi GTX was made for comfort as well as speed. The 426/425 HP Hemi engine coupled to the A833 4-speed meant a Dana 60 Sure Grip rear and heavy-duty cooling components. The car received the power-top option, bucket seats with headrests, console, Hurst wood-knob shifter, 150 MPH speedometer with integral 8,000 RPM tach and radio. Power steering and brakes round out the driver’s comforts; a heater and defroster complete the package.
Today showing 43,822 on the odometer, this car was given a thorough mechanical and cosmetic refreshing from Restorations by Julius in Chatsworth, California, in 2007. There are a lot of ways to draw attention to oneself. In this case, it is with quiet authority packaged in one of the 1960s rarest muscle-car packages, and the opportunity to own a car like this comes about very infrequently.