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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Classic Car Stories - My buddy's '68 Plymouth 440 GTX

The "gentleman's" muscle car!

Classic Car Stories: Back while we were still in high school, my friend Ross’s brother bought a brand new 1968 Plymouth GTX. He was several years older than us, had a decent job and could afford to buy a new car. It was a great looking dark “Race Green” color with the hood scoops and racing stripe along the side. It had the 375 HP 440 cubic inch motor in it with a Torqueflite automatic transmission. Both Ross and I had 1962 Chevy Impalas and we sure were envious of his awesome car.

The Road Runner was a cheaper, bare bones twin, came standard with the 383 motor and outsold the GTX more than two to one.

Several years later, in the early 1970’s, Ross ended up buying that car from his brother. It was still in decent shape and I remember riding around as a passenger in it, listening to the great sound of that big block 440 engine. Ross took great care of his vehicles and didn't care to abuse them and I don’t remember him burning rubber or going all out in it while I was with him.

One night he offered to let me use the car and keep it overnight. The reason I needed it is another story in itself, but I gladly accepted the chance to drive it!

As I took off down the street and made the first turn at a corner, I was astonished at the effort it took to turn the steering wheel! The car had no power steering, which I knew about, but the weight of that big cast iron 440 and automatic on the front end sure made it an arm workout to go around a corner. He had one of those leather wraps around the edge of the steering wheel to enable a better grip on it.

Those big Mopars were built to go fast in a straight line down a quarter mile track, not for a race course. But go in a straight line it could and it was thrilling when I got a chance to “open it up” a couple of times. I didn't go burning rubber with it, as I knew how Ross took care of his cars. The acceleration and sound of that GTX was awesome. But I tell you what, I would have had second thoughts about throwing that car into a corner sideways and being able to come out of it in one piece with that steering.

But I sure would love to get the chance to drive another one. What a blast! You can listen to a GTX running at the YouTube video below, this one having been sold.

Other of my car story posts:
Classic Car Stories:1970 Pontiac GTO - Dick Hands me the Keys!
Classic Car Stories: My Buddy's 1968 Plymouth GTX
Classic Car Stories: My Hemi Chrysler
Classic Car Stories: My 1965 Buick GS400
Classic Car Stories: Mopar Man to Chevrolet
Classic Car Stories: My Second Corvette
Classic Car Stories: My First Corvette
Classic Car Stories: My 1993 Camaro Z28
Classic car Stories: My Three Camaros - One Good, One Bad and One Great!
Classic Car Stories: Mom's 1961 Plymouth Valient

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