Purchased in May of 2002, this 1969 GTX that I like to call Mean Green The Grinch pulled a sway over me much like Christine did to her owners (go rent the movie Christine if you don't know what I'm talking about). Fortunately, I was already rotten to the core  , so The Grinch's evil Christine-like corrupting influence had no effect on me.  Objectively speaking though, The Grinch is a boat!  Weighing in at 3900lbs, with a 440cu. in. power plant (that's 7.2L for my non-American readers) and bigger than any damn thing I've ever owned, including the '55 Wagon. I even drove a '71 Buick for several years that wasn't this big.



This is actually my first foray into the world of Mopar. My uncle had a Dodge Coronet R/T back in his day and I'd heard an awful lot about the stump pulling power of the 440.  I believe I heard more about 440's growing up than I did the 426 Hemi, but oddly enough, I can't remember ever being around people during my teen years and later that were actually driving Mopar muscle. Not a Roadrunner, no Challengers, not even a Cuda. Of course, I was also a die hard '55 Chevy fan (and anything older) and never really paid any attention to muscle cars anyway.  I think I just like to be different and back then, muscle cars were everywhere!




All of these pictures were taken within days of my taking possession of the car. Unlike other cars I had owned in the past, this one actually required financing... which I'm still paying on and that my friend, was a tough pill to swallow! The steep entry cost into a car that's not even numbers matching was a far cry from all the free cars and sub-$500 cars myself and my dad continually ran across. My goal with this purchase was to buy something that was 85% done and that I'd only have to do a little tinkering on here and there... something that I could drive throughout the summer while I worked on the Wagon.  Unfortunately, I spent the whole summer of '02 and half of '03 working on this one ... another bitter pill to swallow!  But don't blame the car entirely... I could have had everything on it finished within a month or so had it not been for the pall of bad mood clouds that my job cast over me all that summer (everything you can imagine that could go wrong was doing just that!)  



P.S.    Yes, I did check the VIN on the tag, radiator and body to make sure it wasn't a clone.  It may not be "numbers matching" any more but at least it's an honest to God GTX  .  Try this on for size:  RS23L9G236159.  If you happen to run across the broadcast sheet or the tags  for it let me know, but at this point it would mostly be for grins. 


For the non-initiated, the first seven characters tell you an awful lot about what the car used to be and when you're missing the original fender tags and build sheets, it's the only info you'll get on it.  According to the "Dodge and Plymouth Muscle Car Red Book" (a great little fact book, by the way):


R Model Line Plymouth Belvedere
S Price Class "Special"
23 Body Type 2 door hard top
L Engine Code 440c.i. 4 barrel V8 - 375hp
9 Last digit of model year 1969
G Assembly Plant Saint Louis

Other neat little tidbits about this particular year and model line-up:

Production of my model of GTX was 14,385 (there were only 625 convertibles).  In contrast, there were 80,082 hardtop and coupe Roadrunners made (the next model down from the GTX).  If you add up the variants of their base-class siblings, the Belvedere's and Satellites, you get a bit over 100,000. What's sad, is I had my eye on a GTX convertible, but it was in much worse shape and for some reason, I think the '69 looks best as a hard top.  But  you probably already suspected I was a bit weird....

The factory carburetor was supposed to be a Carter AVS4618S or an AVS4640S.  Unfortunately, that's one thing the VIN does give away.  That little "L" in the engine code tells people it never was a hemi car and the one peculiarity about the '69 GTX was it was never offered with a six pack.  Oh well. By the time I'm done with it, none of those codes will matter anyway. 

Base cost in 1969 was $3416.  Projected into 2003 dollars, that comes out to about $32,000 (subject to how you calculate inflationary values).  Maybe if this thing was showroom perfect it might fetch that much or more, but perfect is not a word I'd use on anything I own.

The paint is "EF8" which is "Ivy Green Metallic". I don't have the performance paint option. I had wanted to go with Scorch Red (R6), but this green is growing on me.  And yes, I know my hood inserts are supposed to be body color with a black grating, but I haven't decided yet if I'm going to add the black on the hood..... that and I kind of like the way it looks right now.  So what if it's "wrong"? 


Check out the journal pages if you want to see what all I've had to do to this allegedly "finished" car....

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