Hello again, and welcome to another addition of My Search For American Muscle! I’m back with another interesting story of how I am shopping for a classic muscle car and why I probably will never own one! Time to kick some more tires – virtually this time.
In the last episode I wrote about my admiration for the GM A body cars (Malibu/Chevelle, Skylark/GS, LeMans/GTO, Cutlass/442) and chose for my first look-see a 1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 convertible. This bad boy was local and looked great on the internet, but wasn’t quite what I wanted when I went to see it. In retrospect, maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe that car would have been just fine for me. Maybe I should have bought it. I could be out in the garage polishing the fenders right now and worrying about a shovel falling on it. I guess I will never know, as the car was sold and off the seller’s website within a week. The seller said that he bought and sold them quickly. That ain’t no lie. Oh well, it’s gone. You can read about the 442 in Part I here: My Search For American Muscle – Part I
PART II – The 1967 Plymouth GTX
Although I really do like the GM cars from the muscle car era, I don’t limit myself to just GM. I can admire something about all of the offerings from the Big Three, as they all took a turn dominating the muscle car era. When I was a kid the first car I remember my parents buying new was an 1972 Plymouth Sport Fury Suburban station wagon. I was playing with my friends “down the street” as I always referred to it back then, and was on my way home on my Schwinn for dinner and saw that we had company. But it wasn’t company; my dad had purchased a new station wagon that afternoon. I can remember pretty vividly pedaling down the path to my house and seeing it for the first time. Pretty exciting stuff.
If you are not familiar with 70’s station wagons, they were huge and fun to play in as a kid. Three rows of seats, with the back seat facing backward so you could make faces at the driver of the car behind you, which we did constantly.
We drove that Plymouth everywhere, I think we even drove it to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado on vacation one year as well. It wasn’t long before Dad acquired another Plymouth. I believe it was a ’66 or ’67 Satellite/Belvedere or possibly a Fury sedan, I don’t really remember the details well. I do remember that it was white with a light blue interior. Dad did some welding work on a sign that Mr. Skiniotis was having him build for a used car lot they were starting in town, and I think he bartered with them to get the Plymouth. The details are kind of fuzzy after 45 plus years, but it was a cool car and Plymouth was definitely leaving an imprint on my youth.
THE PLYMOUTH/DODGE B BODY
Okay, so now you know that I do have a liking for Plymouth and particularly what were called B bodies. The B bodies included many cars from Plymouth and Dodge, but the really cool B bodies were those produced between 1968 through 1970, and they were lead by the likes of the Charger (think Dukes of Hazzard’s General Lee), Coronet R/T, Belvedere GTX, and the super cool Road Runner. The engine offerings for these cars were 383 and 440 cubic inch monsters, but the big dog was the Hemi. As popular as the Hemi was then, they are insanely popular now. A 1968 Charger with a Hemi engine could cost you at least six figures. That’s way out of my price range. But due to the popularity of those ’68 through ’70 cars, the non-Hemi cars are up there in price as well. Turns out, I like some of the less popular models as well, and I tend to buck the trends and fads somewhat. I like to be different, and the 1967 Plymouth GTX kind of stands out for me. At a car show full of Camaros, Chevelles and Mustangs, I bet a ’67 GTX would definitely stand out. In 1968 the designs of the cars were starting to look more to the future, with redesigns part of most of the Big Three car company offerings. That made them immediately popular. The ’67 model was really the last of the ’60s era car designs in my humble opinion. The ’67 GTX has very sharp lines, looks like a box on wheels, whereas the ’68s started taking on that “Coke” bottle design with curves. That being said, I love the look of the ’67, and they are much cheaper than the second generation of B bodies.
The first ’67 GTX that I found was being sold by a classic car dealer in Tennessee. It was another red car (the 442 was red as well) and a four speed too. It looked great and I watched it for a few weeks. Then it was gone. They sold it. So with the 442, I felt I needed to hurry up and seal the deal, only to learn to slow my roll, and then find out another car I was keen on was no longer on the market and I missed out on it.
So I kept looking and stumbled on to a beauty, another ’67 GTX, this one a convertible. I stopped looking at other ads. This one was the one for sure. Take a look:
This one is a Super Commando big block, a rag top, and in a not very common but super cool color! I’m ready to hit buy. But it’s in the LA California area, and although it’s about at the max cost that I want to spend, I’m sure shipping isn’t cheap either.
We were in Pasadena for the Tournament of Roses parade and I wanted to go see the car, but we just couldn’t find the time to look at it with the busy schedule we had. I contacted the dealer’s salesman and tried to get the lowdown on the car. He said that it was all original and super clean (aren’t they all), and that it was a car originally from New Mexico, spent some time in Arizona before a complete restoration about 5 years ago, and then bought by him and brought to Cali. I asked if there was any video of it driving and he said he could provide some of it running, but not driving (hmmm…), and would send me some pictures of the underside of the car (still waiting…). I was really considering buying it sight unseen, but decided to wait to see the video and extra photos. One downside to the car is no power assist on the brakes, but I can probably live with that. Adding a vacuum booster is a possibility as well, and they’re pretty cheap.
I got a little impatient waiting on the extra photos I requested and decided to see if the internet could provide some background into the car. I found a lot of related listings that were just cross posted ads relating back to the dealer. But then I Googled the VIN.
It seems this car wasn’t just a New Mexico/Arizona/California dry climate car like the salesman believed. (For the record, I don’t doubt that he didn’t know more than he passed along to me.) This car has spent time in Virginia and Florida, as well as being sent across the Barrett-Jackson auction block a few times, selling in Las Vegas, Nevada for $57,200 in 2009; Scottsdale, Arizona for $44,000 in 2012; and in Palm Springs, Florida for $28,050 (no reserve) in 2013! There were two more listings that I found from Fort Lauderdale, Florida listing it for $40,000 and $44,000. I also found a video of the car for sale from Fort Lauderdale for $58,900 from 2013. Video of the GTX
Something weird is going on with those prices. Also, the car seemed to have two restorations, one that gives it a look that it sports today, and another to replace the under hood insulation and to remove the two white stripes on the car.
So it’s got a history, big deal. Cars that are more than 50 years old are bound to have a history. It doesn’t really deter me from this car, but it does add a little bit of intrigue to it.
I’m thinking of hiring a classic car appraiser from the LA area to go take a look at it for me. It might cost me $400 bucks for the service, but at least I would know more about the condition and drivability of the car. Something to think about. I’m no longer in any big rush. Maybe I’ll look at the GM A bodies again.
It’s kind of funny how I vacillate between “got to have it now” and “I had better wait.” Lots of thoughts keep popping into my head about making a classic car purchase. I worry that it won’t hold value, which is somewhat silly because the trend seems to constantly be going up. I also worry about breaking it doing something silly. There aren’t many parts available for the ’67 GTX like there are for later models. And I also sometimes think that it is a dumb move to spend so much money on a 50 year old car when there are lots of other things to spend that money on that can give me just as much joy. It’s just that those cars are special. And I want one.