1970 Plymouth GTX

The 1970 Plymouth GTX came in hardtop only, as Plymouth began dropping convertibles along with other makes (in fear of an outright government ban on ragtops that would never happen).

In addition, buyers began turning away from all muscle cars in the face of rising insurance premiums and escalating gas prices. Inflation was also starting to affect vehicle prices, but the GTX hardtop didn't suffer much, rising to $3,535.

1970 Plymouth GTX
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
For 1970, the Plymouth GTX side trim was altered with twin stripes starting at the very front of the car and running into a fake scoop behind the door.

Styling for the 1970 Plymouth GTX was moderately changed, still clean and handsome from any angle, though a concave back panel, dummy side scoops, and a big loop-type grille were noticeable.

So were some wild new "high impact" paint colors: In-Violet, Lime Light, Vitamin C Orange, Tor-Red, Lemon Twist, and Moulin Rouge. Dodge used the same hues, which cost a little extra, but with different names. (For 1971, the choices were: In-Violet, Tor-Red, Curious Yellow, and Sassy Grass Green.)

But dealers now treated the GTX as a kind of luxury Road Runner without the whimsical beep-beep horn. This did nothing for buyer interest, nor sales, which fell sharply to 7,748 for the model year.

"Plymouth Makes It" was the slogan for 1970, and Plymouth made more of the GTX by throwing in the Track Pak and offering a new power option: a 440 Six-Pack with 390 horses from triple two-barrel carbs.

Six-Pack, sometimes also spelled Six-Pac, was actually Dodge's terminology; Plymouth called the engine "440 6-bbl" in ads, but the big decals on the hood read "440+6."

1970 Plymouth GTX
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
This 1970 GTX shows off its black-out grille. Its shape was neatly carried over to the restyled rear end.

Meanwhile, the regular four-barrel wedge still made 375 bhp despite interim emissions tuning, and the 426 Street Hemi -- now with hydraulic valve lifters -- was still around at a nominal 425 bhp, though it now cost $711.

Hemis and the 440+6 were "recommended for sanctioned events" in brochures, which also advised that neither could be ordered with air conditioning, manual transmission, or speed control. One can understand why you wouldn't want the last, but Lord knows it was easy to get arrested in one of these Plymouths, whatever was under the hood.

This period marked Plymouth's greatest competition performance. With the aerodynamic Superbird, evolved from the 1969 Charger Daytona to dominate NASCAR's long tracks, Richard Petty was lured back to Chrysler after his year's stint with Ford.

Another 'Bird driver, Pete Hamilton, beat the field at the 1970 Daytona 500, averaging nearly 150 mph. Superbirds easily won the season's points competition.

NASCAR changed rules the following year to ban the 'Birds, but not before Plymouth won its first NASCAR Manufacturer's Cup -- and likely the only one it ever will win. Petty, with 21 Grand National victories, was NASCAR champion for the third time in his career.

On the next page, we cover the 1971 Plymouth GTX. Read on.

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