The musclecar era was known for its loud, brash, in-your-face factory street stompers, and the Chrysler Corporation certainly wasn't afraid to let its ground-pounding representatives visibly announce their intent. Perhaps that's why we're so enamored with sleepers-those unassuming brutes that revealed little about their aggressive potential from the outside, but were ready to bite the heads off of their stoplight competitors anytime the leash was turned loose. Interestingly, during the opening years of the cubic-inch wars, sleepers were the rule rather than the exception they would become by the end of the 1960s. These early platforms still carried a rather conservative profile.
Chrysler fired a big cannon when it released the legendary 425 horsepower 426 cid Street Hemi engine in 1966. By the following year, the handwriting was definitely on the wall: bigger is better-and those companies that failed to catch the wave were destined for a difficult swim. Plymouth realized it had better shake off its family sedan trappings and get into the game. Enter the new 1967 Plymouth GTX.
With the powerful street Hemi already in their camp, and the monstrous 440 Super Commando now available (updated from the previous year with new heads, intake, and exhaust modifications) the time was right for Plymouth to make its move. Like other companies at the time, Plymouth tapped into something already in its fleet. The platform chosen to enter this brave, new world was based on the sporty Belvedere Satellite.
However, to become more than "Daddy's car" on steroids, Plymouth designers applied a bit more spice and came up with a name that reflected the high-performance intent. Chief product-planning manager for Plymouth, Jack Smith, spearheaded that operation, and christened the new road ripper the GTX.
For starters, that sedate hood had to be jazzed up a bit. Twin hood scoops, although nonfunctional, added a slightly menacing touch to the outward appearance. Ditto for the race-style gas cap. Twin racing stripes gracing the hood and decklid came aboard as an option. Inside, the GTX carried the luxurious digs characteristic of the Belvedere Satellite. The real enhancement here was the availability of a 6,000 rpm tachometer mounted to the optional console.
To better manage the awesome performance potential of the standard 440 Super Commando or optional 426 Hemi engines, standard equipment included the police car suspension, with a stouter front anti-sway bar and front torsion bars, staggered rear leaf springs, and hefty 11-inch drum brakes.
Bob Malcom of Peebles, Ohio, owns the debut-year GTX seen here. Bob purchased the car pretty much "as is" at the Chryslers at Carlisle event in 1996. Along with the standard 440 Super Commando engine, this gem comes with such goodies as power steering, power brakes, vinyl bucket seats, and, of course, a convertible top-making it one of 686 GTX convertibles produced that year.
Sure, from outward appearances the '67 GTX may not exude testosterone when compared to the raucous musclecars that soon followed, but Plymouth's debut into the boulevard wars had it where it counted. Like a gentleman fighter-finished on the outside, but with a fire in the belly.