Out of this World: Plymouth Satellite GTX

The Plymouth GTX remained consistently powerful as it evolved visually from a boxy Belvedere to a curvy Coke-bottle classic. 

“The Gentleman’s Muscle Car” 

1967 Plymouth GTX - carsforsale.com
1967 Plymouth GTX - carsforsale.com

The middle 1960s was a time of rapid change politically, socially, and automotively. The advent of the muscle car with the debuts of the Pontiac GTO and smash-hit Ford Mustang drastically changed the landscape as carmakers scrambled for their share of an emerging youth market. Plymouth got a jump on the pony car segment with the Barracuda in 1964 but lacked a larger mid-size car to compete with the GTO. That is until the 1967 model year when Plymouth introduced the Satellite GTX.

The Plymouth Satellite GTX was a new performance version of the Belvedere (part of Chrysler’s cadre of B-body mid-size cars) and pitched as the “gentleman’s muscle car.” Sold in two-door hardtop or convertible body styles, the Satellite GTX featured a more refined, mature interior to complement its burly V8 engines. Though it failed to outlast the muscle car era, the GTX earned a top stop among the greatest muscle cars of all time, often besting its contemporary rivals from stoplight to stoplight.

’67 Plymouth Satellite GTX 

1967 Plymouth GTX - carsforsale.com
1967 Plymouth GTX - carsforsale.com

The GTX’s run, spanning from the 1967 through 1971 model years, is bookended by two distinct versions. The 1967 car was very much a tarted-up Belvedere with a V8 under the hood. The 1971 car was part of Chrysler’s B-body redesign that gave the GTX its sleekest body design. The 1968-70 GTX was its most visually conventional version. Indeed, from the debut of the less expensive and ultimately more popular Roadrunner in 1968, the two cars were nearly indistinguishable.

All this makes the 1967 Satellite GTX unique. It preserved the Belvedere’s conservative, boxy styling while pushing the envelope in terms of creature comforts and horsepower. Plymouth offered two engines for the GTX: standard was the 440 “Super Commando” V8 making 375 horsepower, optional was Chrysler’s now legendary 426 Hemi V8 with 425 horsepower. The former was capable of a zero to sixty sprint of 6.5 seconds while the latter bolted to sixty in just 4.8 seconds. A three-speed automatic transmission or four-speed manual sufficed for transmission options.

The Satellite GTX distinguished itself not just with V8s. It also came with plenty of styling cues to let passersby know they owner of this “gentleman’s muscle car” was an automotive sophisticate. The GTX was offered with racing stripes, unique rear facia, a blacked-out grille, faux hood scoops, a NASCAR-like chrome “pit-stop” gas cap, and a tachometer. All these premium features came with a premium price of $3,200.

The GTX Matures  

1970 Plymouth GTX - carsforsale.com
1970 Plymouth GTX - carsforsale.com

Chrysler’s B-body cars, including the Plymouth GTX, were redesigned for 1968 that incorporated the “Coke bottle” styling so in vogue at the time. As noted above, this was the year that the Roadrunner debuted. Cheaper and no less powerful, the Roadrunner was major internal competition for the GTX. To remain distinctive, the GTX continued to emphasize its semi-lux features like faux wood interior trim, a center console, and bucket seats. The base 440 V8 version was given a new Torque-Flite automatic as its standard transmission.

1969 was a carry-over year for the GTX, with few substantive changes. Its less expensive analogue, the Roadrunner, had a banner second year with approximately 84,000 units sold. The premium priced GTX was able to muster just 15,000 units.

The 1970 Plymouth GTX saw more significant changes. New styling included changes to the grille, a new hood bulge, and subtle faux rear brake intakes. The convertible option was dropped, but a new version of the 440 was on tap with three two-barrel carbs which bumped output to 390 horsepower.

The GTX’s Exit 

1971 Plymouth GTX - carsforsale.com
1971 Plymouth GTX - carsforsale.com

The Plymouth GTX, like other Chrysler B-body cars, was given another major redesign for 1971. New bumpers, a more pronounced grille, curvier side paneling, and a raked windshield gave the GTX its most aggressive look yet. The standard 440 V8 was downrated to 370 horsepower while the 3x2bbl went to 385 horsepower, both to meet new emissions regulations. Despite the new looks, sales of the GTX continued to slump. Fewer than 3,000 units were sold of the 1971 model year and a scant 30 of those optioned with Hemi engines. Pricing had a lot to do with the GTX’s failure. A base MSRP of $3,733 was nearly $1,000 higher than a comparable Dodge Charger and the Hemi powered-GTX was priced at $4,480 (add in skyrocketing insurance costs on performance cars and the GTX really didn’t stand a chance).

The Plymouth GTX was cancelled after that great-looking but abysmally selling 1971 model year. Sadder still, the GTX badging was shifted over to the 440-powered iteration of the Roadrunner, its internal rival. Because of the GTX’s low production numbers, and the Hemi’s hen’s-tooth rarity, well-kept examples of this classic muscle car command a premium today. Most of the 440-equipped cars run between $60,000 and $75,000 but original Hemi-equipped GTXs, like this example, can stray above the $250,000 mark.

From the boxy Satellite GTX to the Coke-bottle classic of 1971, the Plymouth GTX was and remains a muscle car for the Mopar connoisseur, tasteful, powerful, and sophisticated.

Related Reviews Articles

An Elegy for the Elegant ‘80s El Camino

Chevrolet Malibu Generations: Through the Years

The Studebaker Champ Was a Real Lark (Literally)

Tags:
Chris Kaiser

With two decades of writing experience and five years of creating advertising materials for car dealerships across the U.S., Chris Kaiser explores and documents the car world’s latest innovations, unique subcultures, and era-defining classics. Armed with a Master's Degree in English from the University of South Dakota, Chris left an academic career to return to writing full-time. He is passionate about covering all aspects of the continuing evolution of personal transportation, but he specializes in automotive history, industry news, and car buying advice.

  • 1

2 Comments

  1. Steve Wadzinski March 13, 2024

    It literally has a Belvedere Badge above the GTX badge, it is not a Satellite GTX.

    Reply
    1. Carsforsale.com Team March 14, 2024

      Hi Steve thanks for the response, I believe you’re looking at the picture of the 1967 Plymouth Belvedere Satellite GTX, the GTX was a performance package building off the Belvedere Satellite trim, with the GTX getting its own separate badging for 1968 onward.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share
Tweet
Pin