The Remarkable Restoration of a 1971 Plymouth GTX – A Rare Gem Concealing a Nasty Surprise Under the Hood

Introduced in 1966, the Plymouth GTX topped the Belvedere line as the company’s range-topping muscle car.

This 1971 Plymouth GTX Is a Fully Restored Rarity With a Nasty Surprise Under the Hood - autoevolution

A more upscale-trimmed vehicle, the GTX remained in production until 1971, when Mopar discontinued the mighty 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) HEMI V8 and began phasing out its high-performance big-block engines.

A rather short-lived nameplate compared to both the Road Runner and the Belvedere, the GTX is also somewhat rare today regardless of the model year and drivetrain configuration. That’s because most muscle car enthusiasts opted to go with the more affordable Road Runner or Belvedere back in the day. In all, Plymouth sold only 44,178 GTXs over five model years.

1968 was the nameplate’s most successful year, with almost 18,000 examples shipped. Sales dropped to 14,902 units in 1969 and to only 7,748 cars in 1970. With insurance prices going high and the oil crisis knocking at the door, 1971 saw Plymouth move only 2,703 units. The Bahama Yellow example you see here is one of those cars.

Recently repainted to a factory-new shine, this GTX doesn’t have a HEMI V8 to brag about, a feat that would make it a one-of-30 gem. It’s not a Six Pack car either, which was sold in only 135 examples. But that’s not to say it’s not a rare classic.

Because even though Plymouth shipped 2,538 cars with the four-barrel version of the 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) RB V8, only 327 were ordered with the four-speed manual. Yup, this GTX comes with three pedals and a pistol-grip shifter. Yay for row-your-own fun!

Granted, the Bahama Yellow paint (also offered as Butterscotch on Dodge cars) probably narrows it down to less than 20 units, but I won’t go there. This Mopar is rare enough as it is without talking colors and options. And it wouldn’t make much of a difference anyway because this GTX no longer packs its numbers-matching engine. It still rocks a 440 V8, but the factory unit is long gone.

I know nothing beats a golden-era Mopar with an all-original drivetrain, but this GTX is no slouch. In fact, the RB-based 440 that lurks under the hood now packs more punch than the stock unit. That’s because it got a few upgrades, including Hooker Competition headers, a larger radiator, and a higher-performance carburetor.

There are no specific figures to run by, but the owner describes the engine as a “really strong 440.” And it sounds pretty mean as well. My bet is on at least 450 horsepower, which would be a healthy upgrade over the 375-horsepower rating for a stock four-barrel 440 RB.

But the most amazing thing about this GTX is the way it looks on the outside. There’s something really cool about that one-year fuselage-style design and loop-type front bumper. Not to mention the aggressively raked windshield. And I’m more than surprised as to how good it can look in Bahama Yellow, a color I’ve never been very fond of.

All told, this GTX is proof that you don’t need Plum Crazy paint and a HEMI V8 to be cool.

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