Featured Muscle Cars
1967 Plymouth Hemi Belvedere GTX
by Patrick Smith
The new Chrysler Corporation Hemi stood the automotive world on its ear when it debuted at Daytona in 1964. Plymouth roared to success with Richard Petty taking first place and Paul Goldsmith grabbing second in hemi powered intermediates. They were fast cars setting new qualifying records of 174.418 and 174.910 miles per hour at Daytona.
Suddenly, Pontiac’s and Ford’s days were numbered. Had NASCAR’s head of operations, Bill France, not banned the hemi from racing in 1965, the elephant engine would have run roughshod over the other players. NASCAR banned the hemi on the grounds that it wasn’t a mass production car available to the public.
Chrysler reacted swiftly. They released a street hemi in the 1966 Belvedere, Satellite and Dodge Charger lines and campaigned the elephant engine in USAC and NHRA events to demonstrate that it was fully capable of endurance and speed trials. Plymouth released an upscale Belvedere package called GTX in 1967 to market the new Super Commando 440 big block. The hemi was the only other mill available. Just 720 buyers took that route in 1967 making a hemi GTX a valuable ride today.
What you got was an executive style hot rod finished tastefully with discreet hood and trunk stripes, twin scoops, chromed 5 spoke mags with red line tires, luxurious bucket seats and transmission console. Even when muscle cars developed gaudy stripes and day glo 42 colours, the GTX remained refined. Just 2500 GTXs were sold the first year, so finding one today is a challenge. This handsome metallic green hardtop with black stripes was sold new in Montreal, Quebec to Ray Dupuis. It was a well equipped car with 727 Torqueflite automatic, radio, tinted glass, console with tach, pedal dress up group, power disc brakes and luxury steering wheel. The car changed hands during the 1970s going to another fervent enthusiast who’d loved the car since new. Ray sold it to his neighbor Andy when he was done with it. The engine is numbers matching and has been rebuilt to 588 cubic inches as a stroker by Doug McCallum. Naturally, it sports a different camshaft and uses 3-inch exhaust pipes with headers.
The GTX ended up at a dealership in Quebec, where current owner, Danny De Pierre, saw it and decided it was time to consummate his life long itch to own a Mopar. Now in his 50s, Danny recalled the high performance era when high octane gas was available and filling up a tank didn’t even burn up a ten dollar bill. Danny’s owned a number of factory hot rods and is passionate about Corvettes in particular. He remembered how fast the Mopars were and had planned to get a 426. Somehow, time passed and the opportunity never seemed to come along until now. Danny probably remembered a classic Creedence Clearwater Revival song when he saw the GTX in the showroom. He realized he was waiting for “someday” when a hemi car made sense. Tom Fogerty knows that “someday never comes,” and you have to make your dreams come true. Danny did and he’s a happy man.
courtesy of www.mcnmagazine.com
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