If you told Jean Hagan that she was driving a man's car, she would probably laugh, mash her foot to the floor, and leave two strips of Red Line tire marks down the pavement. But, technically, you would be right. You see, Plymouth promoted the Belvedere GTX as the Gentleman's muscle car. Sort of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde mentality: You can go to work and be a proper citizen, but then enjoy a dose of the potent serum that is a 375-horse 440 wrapped in crisp, stunning bodywork. It turns out that its great looks and performance don't just appeal to men, however.
Much like Mr. Hyde's internal conflict of whether to take the serum again, it's highly addictive, and begins to take control. Jean's first encounter with this potent combination came when she was only 14 years old. "My brother, Jerry, picked me up so I could see his new apartment and he was driving his roommate's '67 GTX," she says. "It was a red with black stripes convertible and I was instantly hooked and had to own one." Jerry dipped into the throttle a little and gave Jean a taste of what the Plymouth could do.
Eight years after this first encounter, she was visiting a friend, and a friend of the friend, Brian, stopped by to show off his new demonstrator car they just received at the dealership. "It was a Honda, and I commented on how it was a nice car but it didn't beat my favorite car," she recalls. "He asked me what that was, and I told him it was a '67 Plymouth GTX, and I thought he was going to pass out!"
Brian was thoroughly impressed, and asked her out on a date. The two dated for several weeks before they went to go look at a black Hemi GTX that Brian had purchased. After that, Jean really wanted to get one of her own, and the two began the hunt. They came across this '67 that was in fairly good condition in January 1985. The paint was faded, the air conditioning was missing, but the interior was good. Sure, the carpet was a little faded and the headliner had moth damage, but it ran. It wasn't too far away from home, so they went to meet with the owner. "We negotiated a price and I drove it home." Since it was the heart of winter, Jean wasn't able to enjoy it too much, but she did get a license plate that said "HER GTX," to avoid any confusion.
In 1988, Brian and Jean were married and her dad drove her to the church in the GTX. Jean filled us in that "as several years and many car shows passed, my GTX was now hauling some precious cargo, my two sons."
Well, the years went by and the GTX seemed to be holding up well, but one day in May 2001 she took the car out for a quick spin around the block to get ready for a car show. She hit the brakes and the pedal went straight to the floor. Not good! She limped the B-Body home and called Brian, upset about what happened. When he came home, he assessed the damage and, sure enough, the brakes were shot. He turned to Jean and said "Merry Christmas!" This meant it was time for a full restoration to be performed on the GTX.
That night, Brian began to disassemble the car. Jean couldn't believe that after 16 years of owning the GTX, it was finally going to receive the restoration it always deserved. Once the car was in pieces, the first thing to be sent out was the engine. It was handed off to Bob's Machine Shop in Bristol, Connecticut. Next was the body, which was stripped down to shell form before it was trailered to Ron's Auto Madness in Bristol. "We were told that the ETA for the restoration was about one year, give or take a few months," she recalls.
Next on the agenda was to get the shopping taken care of. Since this was to be a complete restoration, if a part couldn't be fully restored, it was replaced with the correct reproduction piece from YearOne. "Every day seemed like Christmas as box upon box was delivered, filled with shiny chrome, clips, hoses, wheels, seat covers, and cushions. The remaining chrome items were then sent to Baron and Young Metal Finishing in Bristol for replating.