Chrysler's famous 426 Hemi was offered in only a handful of drag-strip specials during 1965, but was made a regular Satellite option in 1966.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

For 1966, the Belvedere/Satellite received new sheet metal, resulting in a crisp, lithe body that was truly elegant. When equipped with the smaller V-8s of 273, 318, and 361 cid, they were the best all-around Plymouths in the line. Their crisp, chiseled styling was retained for 1967 with few changes.

Also for 1966, the incredible 425-horsepower Hemi was made available as an option on the Belvedere II and Satellite. The result was the electrifying "Street Hemi," equipped as standard with a heavy-duty suspension and oversize brakes. It was first offered with a four-speed gearbox, later with optional TorqueFlite automatic.

In the light Belvedere package, the Street Hemi could be simultaneously a docile boulevard tourer and a demon at the stop light. With the right tires and axle ratio, and correctly tuned, it was one of the quickest production cars available.

Right off the floor it was ready for drag-race competition in A/Stock or AA/Stock classes, and along with Dodge's Coronet it was allowed to run on NASCAR's shorter circuits-with predictable results.

David Pearson won the 1966 NASCAR championship with a Coronet; Richard Petty won in 1967 with a Belvedere. These were the major breakups of Ford's otherwise tight stranglehold on NASCAR between 1965 and 1970.

In 1967, the Hemi option was offered on the new Belvedere GTX, in addition to a 440-cid wedgehead "Super Commando" V-8 with 375 horsepower. The 440 had first been seen in the 1966 Plymouth Fury and other full-size Chrysler products but didn't become a performance engine until the 1967 model run. Even in this form it was not highly stressed.

In late summer 1966, a few factory-backed racing Belvederes carried the letters "GTX" in stock-car competition. The meaning wasn't clear until the "win-you-over" 1967s were announced, with a Satellite GTX at the top of the line.

Offered as a high-performance hardtop or convertible, the GTX looked its part, with a silver and black grille and rear deck panel, simulated hood air intakes, sport striping, and big dual exhausts.

Cars equipped with the powerful engine wore small 426 Hemi badges on their lower front fenders but otherwise gave little warning of what lay within.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The Belvedere I and II lines were continued with the same models, and a stripped Belvedere wagon was introduced with a base price of only $2,579. This proved to be more of a price leader than a serious seller: Only 5,477 were built, and the model was withdrawn in 1968.

Plymouth's racing victories are so numerous as to preclude mention here, but Richard Petty's NASCAR performance is worthy of note. He scored a record 27 triumphs (out of Plymouth's season total of 31), including 10 straight wins, on his way to his second Grand National driving championship. Both the 27 and 10 figures are records that still stand today.

Find specifications for the 1965-1967 Plymouth Belvedere/Satellite and GTX in our final section.

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