In 1967, Plymouth’s ad tagline was, “Plymouth is out to win you over this year.” Little did anyone know that the winning-over would extend well beyond 1967.
In Joe Greer’s case, one of them won him over during his high school days in the 1980s.
“I bought a ’67 Belvedere in B5 Blue with a 318, for $75, that needed some work,” he says of the B-Body he bought when he was 16. “I also bought a ’68 Polara four-door that had a very good running 318. I put it in the Belvedere, and drove that for about five years. That’s where I got my start with the Belvederes.” It also helped him stand out from the Blue Oval and Bowtie ponycars that his friends built and drove.
Joe started collecting information about the mid-size ’67 Plymouths, especially the top-of-the-line Belvedere GTX series. Eventually, he spotted one at a burger joint in his hometown of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, whose owner rarely drove it. He asked him if the 440/four-speed/Dana 60 GTX was for sale, but the owner said that it wasn’t.
About a year later, Joe found out that the owner had passed away, but the GTX was still in the same garage where its owner had parked it. He went to look at the car—rarely driven as the owner’s widow couldn’t drive a four-speed—and Joe asked if she was interested in selling it. “She said, ‘Nahhh—I want to hold onto the car,’” Joe recalls, adding that he told her, “If you’re ever looking to sell it, you look me up.”
One year later, she contacted Joe. “She called me and said, ‘I hate to let the car go, but I have to. My pipes are busted in my basement, and I need a thousand dollars.’ I said, ‘What do you want for the car?’ I bought the car for a thousand dollars, and I’ve had it ever since.”
Interior: Legendary’s covers brought the stock GTX seats back to new, and the Cheetah shif
Gauges: The Cheetah SCS stirs the 727, the AutoMeter gauges monitor the Hemi, and the fact
Joe’s upgraded his GTX since then, including an engine change done out of necessity. “Unfortunately, I grenaded the first engine,” he says. “A friend of mine still has that block, which has about a foot-long crack in it, and I can still get it back.”
Joe built another 440, based on a ’69 block to replace it, and it served him well on the street and at nearby Cecil County (Maryland) Dragway, where Joe ran a best of 11.70 seconds on the ¼-mile.
I sold a whole car so I could buy pieces for a Hemi!
By the mid-’90s, Joe had started doing resto work on his GTX, made easier by its previous life in southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, away from the heavy road salt seen around the Great Lakes. He began going to Carlisle, and finding parts for his B-Body.
He’d had his sights on something stronger for the GTX’s engine bay. “I said, ‘One of these days, I’m going to get the money together, and build a Hemi.’” Joe says. After selling a non-Mopar musclecar that he had, he had a bankroll for his engine project. As Joe puts it, “I sold that whole car so I could buy pieces for a Hemi!”
Five years later, that Hemi is still there—along with plenty of wedding-day memories for Joe and his wife, Vickie. “The GTX made up a good part of our wedding video—going to the church in the car, me wearing a white tuxedo and she’s wearing her white gown,” Joe remembers. “We basically had a hot rod wedding, with a lot of (other) hot rods there.” He adds that, of the 600 pictures and dozen videos made of the ceremony and wedding dance that followed, some about 40-percent of those images include the GTX!
By the way, with the Hemi, Joe’s GTX now has an 11.20-second pass as its best 1/4-mile run (so far).
Joe also owns a pair of sharp “Swept-Wing” Dodge Custom Royal Lancers from the late ’50s, and has this advice if you’re looking for a project Mopar that’s like one you dreamed about long ago. “You’ve got to make sure it’s the real deal, and make sure it has good quarter- panels,” he says.
But, if you find one that has solid quarters like Joe’s, it’ll likely win you over the way that a B5 Blue Belvie did to Joe years ago.
1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX hardtop
Owned by: Joe Greer, Oxford, Pennsylvania
|Engine: When a 440 Magnum won’t do, install a Hemi. Joe’s is a 528-incher built by Jess Miller Machine Shop in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with an Eagle steel stroker crank and H-beam rods, Ross 10.25:1 pistons, a Comp Cams hydraulic flat-tappet camshaft, fully ported and polished Mopar aluminum heads with Mopar valves and Comp valve springs and retainers, a full MSD ignition system, topped by an Indy Cylinder Head single-plane intake, and a Holley 950 Pro Series four-barrel. TTI headers flow into 3-inch exhaust with a Dr. Gas X-pipe and Hooker “Aero Chamber” mufflers.
|Transmission: Frank Lupo in Newark, Delaware, built the 727 with a Cheetah shift kit and shifter, TurboAction reverse manual valve body, and a Dynamic 91⁄2-inch 3,800-to-4,200 stall converter.
|Rear: Dana 60 with Moser axles and aluminum cover, and 4.10 Richmond Gear rear gears.
|Suspension: (Front) Tubular upper control arms, longitudinal torsion bars, sway bar and QA1 adjustable shocks (Rear) CalTrac split-monoleaf springs and traction bars and QA1 adjustable shocks.
|Brakes: Hemi-worthy stopping power, thanks to a full Wilwood disc brake system with drilled and slotted rotors.
|Wheels/Tires: Factory five-spoke Magnum 500 wheels (14x6-inch front, 15x7-inch rear) wear BFG Radial TAs (215/70R14 front, 275/60R15 rear).
|Paint/Body: Original all-steel ’67 B-Body hardtop unibody was prepped and painted (in two-stage PPG Black) by Larry McKnight at Larry’s Auto Body in Jennersville, Pennsylvania. AAR Fiberglass’ RO23-style Super Stock hood replaced the original steel one.
|Interior: Joe called on Legendary for the seat covers and door panels, then installed them himself.