In the early 1960s, the automotive world witnessed the emergence of early muscle cars, providing accessible performance for enthusiasts. However, luxury automakers like Oldsmobile, Buick, and Mercury soon joined the fray. In response, Chrysler introduced the Dodge Charger and Plymouth GTX.
The Charger made its debut in 1966, featuring a sleek fastback design and a well-appointed interior. On the other hand, the GTX arrived a year later, but unlike the Charger, it was primarily a more refined version of the two-door Belvedere.
In its inaugural year, the Plymouth GTX sold approximately 12,000 units and earned the nickname “the gentleman’s muscle car.” Sales for the GTX improved in 1968, with over 17,000 units delivered. However, sales declined significantly each subsequent year until the nameplate was retired at the end of the 1971 model year.
Despite its relatively short production run and lower popularity compared to its more affordable counterpart, the Road Runner, the Plymouth GTX has become one of the most iconic Mopar vehicles. It’s also quite rare, with around 55,000 units sold over five model years, including just 1,526 HEMI-equipped versions.
The rarity factor increases when considering the convertible variant. Convertibles were not in high demand during that era, and Plymouth discontinued this body style after the 1969 model year. Only 73 convertible GTXs were sold from 1967 to 1969, including nine units sold in Canada. The featured convertible is one of those rare examples.
Spotted at the Holley MoParty event in Bowling Green, Kentucky, this GTX is not just any HEMI-powered GTX. It’s one of the first 1968-model-year GTXs produced in September 1967. Additionally, it’s one of only 40 HEMI-equipped convertible GTXs sold in 1968, with just 36 going to US customers. Furthermore, it features an automatic transmission, making it one of only 24 GTXs with this drivetrain configuration.
What sets this particular HEMI GTX apart is its history. It began as a test vehicle for various magazines, starting with Car Craft Magazine and later appearing in Car Life Magazine and Popular Hot Rodding for drag testing. After completing its promotional tour, the GTX served as the pace car for the Riverside Grand Prix, driven by 1957 Indy 500 winner Sam Hanks.
Having accumulated too many miles to be sold as new, the GTX was eventually offered as a used car by Prince Chrysler Plymouth of Inglewood, California, in June 1968. It was owned and driven by its first owner until the 1970s, after which it was parked for several years until the current owner acquired it in 1986.
Fast forward to 2023, and the Mopar has undergone a meticulous restoration to its original specifications, including the restoration of its pace car livery. Its distinctive gold color, combined with its unique options and drivetrain, makes this 1968 HEMI GTX a one-of-a-kind gem among muscle cars.