Ever have one of those moments when you find a spectacular classic
that seems too good to be true? The 'coolest of the cool' that's
survived almost five decades of vehicle downsizing trends, fuel
thirsty gearheads and stoplight fisticuffs? Well, you don't have to
worry about getting pinched back to reality this time because this
storied Plymouth Belvedere is a fully restored, fully documented
classic that's believed to be the first 1967 Hemi GTX Convertible
produced! But wait, there's more. Not only is this
magazine-featured drop-top a national award-winning show queen that
presents much nicer than when it rolled off the assembly line, it
also features a great backstory. If you're looking for some tough,
investment grade muscle that's fun to look at, a blast to drive and
ready to hit the show circuit as soon as it rolls out of our
showroom, congratulations, you've found your next classic!
Sergei Dennenbaum was a Russian immigrant who arrived in New York City in 1962. Mechanically inclined from a young age, he eventually found a Chrysler apprenticeship that lead to a year of employment endurance testing the company's latest and greatest products. Now, we all know endurance testing is the sophisticated cousin of drag racing, and it wasn't long until Sergei set in to building a 1963 Plymouth Max Wedge super stocker that would rise to fame as 'The Mad Russian'.
The Plymouth you see here, believed to be the first Hemi-equipped GTX Convertible produced for the 1967 model year, was originally purchased as a fun tow vehicle for The Mad Russian. Thanks to Sergei's contacts at Chrysler, the car was specifically optioned with a functional Belvedere I hood scoop and Holley 4-barrel carburetor. When the drop-top arrived at Manhattan Chrysler/Plymouth in the fall of 1966, it wore a flat Belvedere hood over one-off 4-barrel induction, and, as was common practice, its polished air cleaner and standard dual-quad setup had been loaded in to the trunk. Since the weather was bad, and the car was pretty unique, Sergei allowed the dealer to park it in the showroom for a few weeks of display. During that stint, requisite GTX scoops were bolted up along with showy "426 HEMI" emblems - emblems that, upon Sergei officially taking delivery of the car, were quickly swapped for diminutive 383 badges.
Fast forward to early 1967, when this GTX's custom fresh air hood arrived. Literally a bolt-on piece, the bonnet was coated in correct Gold Metallic pigment, capped with a matching scoop and featured an aluminum plate that funneled wind directly in to the aforementioned Holley. Cool, unique and sporting plenty of power, the car was ready for many seasons of towing The Mad Russian. That said, being a tried and true gearhead, Sergei wasn't about to leave well enough alone. So, he commenced a series of mild modifications that further enhanced the big Plymouth's performance.
Speaking of cool, here's where things go from cool to flat out awesome! At some point, Sergei's mom took a liking to the GTX and, along with Segei, began to drive it pretty regularly. Eventually, Sergei's mom decided to start racing the GTX alongside her son's perennial super stocker. And we're not talking a few fun passes, we're talking consistent 13-second pulls at over 100 MPH! Unfortunately, sometime in late 1969, someone stole the Plymouth's big Holley carburetor while it sat in the pits at Atco Dragway. Disappointed and angry, Sergei installed the factory's dual-quad setup, retired the car to street duty and, in 1970, sold it to a New York City police officer for $1,800.
For the next twenty years, the GTX would remain an odd unicorn of New York folklore. In 1990, refusing to watch the Plymouth deteriorate, a car enthusiast's widow sold it to a well-known MoPar collector. While the original Holley was long gone, the car's original intake, hood and various 'go fast' parts had been preserved and were included with the sale. In 2003, after the collector had researched the car, gathered restoration parts and cleared a few pending projects, Galen Govier was contacted to confirm its status as the first known 1967 Hemi GTX Convertible. In 2009, the Plymouth was moved to Totally Auto in Feasterville, Pennsylvania. And in 2010, that shop began a detailed, rotisserie restoration that would return the car to a factory-correct appearance, all the way down to its correct bumper guards. In 2011, the GTX stormed the muscle car scene by debuting at the Muscle Cars at the Playboy Mansion show, and scoring 994 out of 1,000 points to earn gold certification at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals. And, in the years since, it's attended many top-tier shows and even spent a little time in the Wellborn Musclecar Museum.
Authenticated by a famous 2468330 casting number, this GTX's original, 426 cubic inch Hemi benefitted from an acute rebuild that occurred during the detailed restoration. As Plymouth's top option for power hungry gearheads, Chrysler's legendary elephant block utilized cast iron heads, an oversquare bore, a forged steel crank, forged steel rods, forged aluminum pistons and a hydraulic cam to twist stout 10.25 to 1 compression into a stated 425 horsepower and 490 lb./ft. of torque. All that high performance hardware spins in a familiar Hemi Orange block, which hangs requisite Organisol-coated valve covers over correct, low-restriction exhaust manifolds. Oxygen is supplied by a polished and decaled air cleaner, which rides correct Carter carburetors and a correct aluminum intake. Compression is sparked by Chrysler Electronic Suppression cables, which are snapped onto a correct points distributor. And a correct, 26-inch radiator utilizes pliable hoses and old school squeeze clamps to cool combustion. Thanks to less than 50 miles of road time, the body-matched engine bay is both spotless and accurate. Mechanically, the big mill cruises just as well as when it rolled out of the restoration shop. And naturally, a roster of correct ancillaries includes items like factory decals, a reproduction MoPar battery, a Chrysler washer reservoir and a monochromatic brake booster.
Park this pristine Plymouth on a lift and you'll find a fully sorted undercarriage that's been finished to the same exacting standards as the car's impressive engine bay. Glossy gold 2-stage protects solid, original floors that probably haven't seen much daylight since the car's restoration. Behind the stalwart engine, a correct A727 TorqueFlite twists power to a correct, 8.75-inch axle. That drivetrain rides a factory-spec suspension, which mixes factory power steering with correct power drum brakes. The car's fresh dual exhaust system centers an H-shaped crossover in front of factory replacement mufflers and polished stainless tips. And power scorches the pavement through polished Magnum 500s, which spin G70-14 Firestone Wide Oval Super Sport redlines around chrome hubcaps.
Swing this drop-top's solid doors and you'll find a mostly original interior that's one of the coolest cockpits bolted behind a big block! Billed as the 'Gentleman's Muscle Car', and finished in correct Black vinyl, it brings a real sense of class to a platform with a solemn and brutish nature. Front and center, an original combination of bench and bucket seats hang correct, original headrests over a correct console that's topped by a correct tachometer. In front of those seats, a classy dash frames decidedly retro telemetry above an old school Plymouth Transaudio radio. At the sides of that dash, pliable door panels bridge the gap between fresh carpet and correct topper...for more information please contact the seller.
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