1971 Plymouth GTX

Hardtop Coupe
GTO Fighter
The GTX was introduced as Plymouth's first fully packaged musclecar and was designed to compete with the Pontiac GTO. In the GTX's favor was America's largest V8 engine, all standard. The 440 became a trademark for the GTX, serving it well on the street and on the strip. Through 1971, the GTX was a respected muscle car that was able to hold its own against many heavy-hitters; if there was any room for doubt, the Hemi could always be specified. From 1972-1974, the GTX became an option package on the less expensive Road Runner, which was also powered by the trademark 440.

This 1971 edition represents the first year for the 3rd-generation GTX, which had a brand-new modern coupe body and was available in a range of colors and stripe packages to satisfy any kid or mature adult. While production was down due to the diminished musclecar market, it was perhaps the greatest GTX ever. The standard 440 4-barrel V8 engine was complemented with the same lineup as 1970, the 440 6-barrel and the 426 Hemi.

Available painted rubber bumpers and front-and-rear spoilers made the GTX among the raciest-looking cars of 1971, but only 2,942 were built. Far fewer of them came with the pistol-gripped 4-speed 440 4-barrel. This vehicle also has the unique gunmetal gray interior color.
Hardtop Coupe
In 1971, the writing was on the wall for the American Muscle Car as we knew it. With increasingly high fuel prices and government regulations regarding emissions and insurance, the availability of massively overpowered automobiles, aka 'Muscle Cars' was quickly diminishing.

Dodge and Plymouth however, were among the last hold-outs. The B-Body Plymouth Roadrunners and GTX's would benefit from a complete redesign to the all-new fuselage styling that would mark the end of an era. Of course, being the final year for the famed 426 Hemi and the higher compression 440 engine offerings, any 1971 GTX is a rare sight.

This GTX is among the rarest of the breed. With a long list of factory options, this wild Sassy Grass Green example is powered by a 370 horsepower 440 4-barrel engine backed by a pistol-grip shifted 4-speed manual transmission. What really makes it rare is the factory installed sunroof. A mere 32 GTX's left the factory with this option, which listed for a lofty $484.65.

Found in a Des Moines, Iowa salvage yard in 1993, it was largely intact, minus the engine. Although in rough shape with severely faded paint, it suffered from only minor rust in the lower quarter panels. The current owner, a huge fan of this particular body style, knew it deserved to be returned to its former glory. An extensive full restoration was undertaken in 2009 and after several years, it emerged as a prime example of an era gone by.
In 1967 Plymouth introduced the GTX as an optional package on the Belvedere model line. The GTX was a two-door vehicle that could be purchased in either convertible or hardtop configuration. It had all the performance options pre-installed and packaged in a stylish vehicle design. The excellent handling was courteous of the leaf springs, modified shocks, ball joins, and torsion bars. Under the hood was a 440 cubic-inch eight-cylinder engine, dubbed the Super Cammando 440, producing an astonishing 375 horsepower. A 426 cubic-inch Hemi engine was optional, and boosted horsepower to 425. It cost just a little over $540 for the Hemi engine and only 720 buyers purchased this option. The three-speed automatic transmission was standard but a four-speed manual could be purchased to replace the automatic gearbox.

Plymouth offered a Super Stock R023 version that included the Hemi engine and intended for the drag strip racing circuit. To reduce weight, all non-essential items were removed including the heater, radio, and carpet. Only 55 examples were produced. The 440 was a tunable engine, still able to be driven on the street, and was not plagued with the same tire-spin that the Hemi endured.

In 1968 the GTX was modified both aesthetically and mechanically. The taillights and grill were revised and a new hood design was used in place of the former design. In the front were disc brakes. The suspension was modified, the tires became wider, and it now featured a limited slip differential. It shared many of the same mechanics as the Plymouth Road Runner, an economical, performance machine. The TorqueFlite automatic gearbox was standard but could be replaced with a four-speed manual at no-cost. Only 450 GTX's were ordered with the Hemi option, costing the $564 over the base $3355 price.

For 1969, the GTX was modified only slightly with most of the changes to the grill and taillights. The big news was the Hurst shifter, Air Grabber option, and various rear axles. There were now three engine options. The 440 cubic-inch engines single four-barrel carburetor was replaced with a three two-barrel carburetor resulting in 390 horsepower. It was dubbed the 440+6 and cost just $120 over the base 440 cubic-inch engine that produced 375 horsepower. Only 209 buyers shelled out the $700 for the Hemi engine. This was the final year the convertible option was offered.

In 1970 the GTX was restyled and given a hood scoop that did nothing but add to the aggressive look of the car. A bulge in the hood completed the look of the vehicle. The 440 cubic-inch 8-cylinder engine was standard. The 440+6 and 426 Hemi were optional. The 440+6 was a popular option with 768 buyers opting for the performance increase. Only 72 buyers purchased the Hemi. Sales were slow for the GTX in 1970 with only 7,748 examples being produced. The Road Runner was partially responsible. It was a lost cost alternative that was faster than the GTX. Plymouth decided to produce the GTX in 1971 but it was the final year. The styling was updated, its lines were curvy and it sat atop a shortened wheelbase. To improve the handling, the GTX received a wider track. The Air Grabber was optional. The 440 cubic-inch engine was standard, now producing five less horsepower than the private year. 30 examples of the Hemi was ordered. The 440+6, still available, produced 390 horsepower. With only 2,942 examples sold, Plymouth decided to make the GTX as an option on the Road Runner for 1972.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2007
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