1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX (leading) 1968 Shelby G.T. 500 KR (base). Photos by the writer.
Editor’s notice: This or That is not a comparison report involving two cars, but alternatively a attribute that enables us, in an idyllic environment, to insert a collectible automobile into our desire garage on a regular foundation, but with a catch: We can only select 1 car or truck from this pairing, and it has to be for satisfaction reasons instead than as an financial commitment.
It is time to launch our initial edition of This or That – Summer Series, beginning with a pair of go-fast convertibles: a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX and a 1968 Shelby G.T. 500 KR. We know what you’re wondering currently: How can a GTX compete with a Shelby? 1 is an intermediate just one is a pony. Our featured duo may be nearer than you imagine in spite of the wheelbase and body weight big difference. The GTX has a large-strung 440 the Shelby has the underrated mid-year 428CJ. On the monitor, modern take a look at reports recorded virtually equivalent -60 MPH times. And equally built a visual statement though sitting down in a static state at the regional snack bar throughout date evening. But let us not forget that this is not a heads-up competitiveness or a comparison. So prior to producing a rash choice, in this article are a handful of particulars about each individual car (if you want to read far more than we have offered, each motor vehicles were former subject product in our Hemmings Muscle Devices magazine–just simply click on the inbound links above).
Chrysler Corporation’s solid functionality arm stretched all the way back to 1955 when the mother or father division pulled the wraps off their C-300 (and subsequent 300B) that, in race trim, smashed documents in the two NASCAR and AAA inventory vehicle circuits for two straight yrs. The effort and hard work rapidly flowed into the Dodge and Plymouth divisions, wherever it ongoing with growing achievements. By 1966, when the contemporary “supercar” motion was ramping up to comprehensive track, Plymouth was a important participant with their Belvedere relatives of autos. The unit-body intermediate line, which integrated the leading-of-the-line Satellite, was offered with a buyer’s choice of a 318-, 361- or 383-cu.in. V-8, as nicely as the race-impressed 426 “Street Hemi. Bolstered by a visible redesign, merged revenue soared just earlier 189,000 models, but there was one particular difficulty.
Plymouth’s power-laden Belvederes had been sleepers. Lack of visible overall performance recognition suited the avenue and strip competitiveness scenes just fantastic, but for the youth of the period who desired to stand out in the group, the little “383 Four-Barrel” badges and “426” hood ornament inset did minimal. Merchandise planners should have been having to pay notice, since when the 1967 models ended up declared the all-new Belvedere GTX had been extra to the spouse and children tree.
The GTX carried a starting up cost of $3,418, which presented consumers a great deal of punch. Visible identifiers had been dual fiberglass faux hood scoops smaller, but outstanding “GTX” badges at the suggestion of each individual fender and on the trunklid a racing-design and style, flip-open up chrome gasoline cap a GTX-exclusive blacked-out grille, with a special red, white and blue badge in its heart and a new rear fascia. Also, the forged hood ornament incorporated a 440 or 426 stamp on each and every facet. Fresh, intense system strains changed thin chrome trim on the flanks, and the entire deal could have been topped off with optional twin stripes that ran the duration of the hood and trunklid.
About that hood ornament. As you may well have assumed currently, the GTX – out there in two-doorway hardtop and convertible form only – came with a 440-cu.in. motor as normal machines. As penned in the authentic element,
This was not the very same 365hp 440 provided in Plymouth’s 1966 full-dimension lineup. Engineers gave it a little far more grunt by initial bolting on a new established of cylinder heads that includes larger sized 1.74-inch exhaust valves, and much larger ports. A hotter hydraulic camshaft was also utilized. New cast-iron headers were being bolted into spot and the ingestion manifold throttle bores had been enlarged. Topping that set up was a new Carter AVS 4-barrel and a twin-snorkel air cleaner.
The outcome was an motor rated at 375hp with 480-lbs.ft. of torque. Backing this was the A727 TorqueFlite three-speed computerized as standard tools, or an optional four-velocity manual. Willingness to fork around additional hard cash could have netted an eager buyer the aforementioned optional 426 Hemi, rated at 425hp and 490-lbs.ft. of torque.
Interiors had been fitted with bucket seats and a 150-MPH speedometer, and the extended record of choices integrated everything from electricity entrance disc brakes, to the Sure Grip Differential even 5.50-inch-wide Magnum 500 wheels, to title a handful of. But what of performance? The GTX was a goal-constructed muscle automobile, right after all.
Tipping the scales at around 3,500 kilos – give or just take, dependent on entire body design and style, alternatives and travellers – the GTX had sufficient go-electricity. Vehicle and Driver reported in the November 1966 difficulty that a GTX hardtop, equipped with a 375HP 440, TorqueFlite automated and a last push ratio of 3.23:1, went from -60 MPH in 6. seconds and traveled the quarter-mile in 14.4 seconds at 98 MPH. Regardless of the straight-line capabilities the new B-physique demonstrated, and the flash customers yearned for, just 681 GTX convertibles ended up created.
As to the Shelby, it is no top secret that its creator, Carroll Shelby, cut his enamel in racing the two guiding the wheel and in the layout studio. His ties with the Blue Oval boys propelled the 289 compact-block to highway racing glory in the States and then some, which paved the way for Le Mans fame. The relationship, of course, spawned pit vipers in road trim, which includes the Mustang-based mostly G.T. 350 and 500 types. As the short union of robust wills unfolded, nevertheless, in hindsight it’s simple to see how the 1968 model yr was rather distinctive.
Unbeknownst to informal observers of industry traits and politics, the Shelby/Ford union was starting to visibly crack in the course of the ’68 period. Generation of the Mustang-based serpents had currently been handed to Michigan’s A.O. Smith, and significantly of the primary road-racing pedigree experienced yielded to grand touring qualities. The appeal and mystique of the G.T. 350 and G.T. 500 remained however specifically so when the mid-calendar year G.T. 500 KR – these as our feature auto – was unveiled. The vital to the KR version, as outlined in a Buyer’s Information that appeared here, was the Cobra below the hood,
It was declared that the “base” G.T. 500 would be supplanted by the G.T. 500KR, the previous two letters an acronym for “King of the Highway.” Constructed in the months of May by July of ’68, the foundation for the change was due to the introduction of the 428 Cobra Jet (or CJ) motor. Making use of the exact block and camshaft as the “base” 428, the Cobra Jet featured a forged-iron CJ consumption manifold, CJ cylinder heads (C8OE 6090-N) with much larger 2.09/1.66-inch valves and matching CJ exhaust manifolds, a 735-cfm Holley four-barrel and a completely practical Ram Air induction system. The 10.6:1 compression Cobra Jet also mandated strengthened shock towers. Surprisingly, it was rated for just 335 hp nevertheless, it’s extensively accepted that the engine’s real output in inventory trim was somewhere in the realm of 400 horses.
Considerably of the Shelby G.T. 500’s DNA remained unchaged if not, which includes conventional devices this sort of as the Toploader 4-speed manual and a 108-inch-wheelbase unit-physique chassis was in essence identical as that of a exact-12 months Mustang GT. The only noteworthy Shelby updates to the suspension was the swap to a larger sized .94-inch diameter front anti-roll bar and staggered rear shocks. Visually, the KR only various in rocker panel decal nomenclature, which intended the remaining Shelby overall body alterations remained. This incorporated fiberglass hoods with twin ahead scoops rear air extractors were mounted a new fiberglass nose parts a fiberglass decklid with an integrated spoiler a rear tail panel that now housed sequential lamps higher and reduced side scoops and a blacked-out grille that sported rectangular outboard driving lamps.
Few experienced the prospect to exam the mid-12 months KR, like Warm Rod. Their November 1968 report on the issue – a convertible fitted with the C6 computerized, air conditioning and a closing push ratio of 3.25:1 – produced a quarter-mile time of 14.58 seconds at 98 MPH.
Collectively, 1968 witnessed the best Shelby Mustang output, which integrated 518 G.T. 500KR convertibles (just one of which was despatched to Hertz Lease-A-Car or truck a delicate footnote to the Shelby story that handful of relaxed lovers would be stunned to master).
With all this in thoughts, which of the two would you add to your steady and why?