• Jan 31st 2008 at 7:03AM
  • 23

A performance wagon might sound like a relatively new concept, but this bad boy was tearing up the streets with kids and pets in the back seat long before the Audi RS6 Avant and BMW M5 Touring existed. The story goes that a Chicago man with five children purchased a Plymouth Satellite wagon out of necessity, but craved more performance. When the Road Runner 440 Six Pack was introduced, the man called up Mr. Norm's Grand Spaulding Dodge and asked if it was possible to shoehorn the motor into his wagon. They were indeed up to the task, and the GTX 440 Six Pack Wagon was born.

The car eventually found its way to California, where it was converted to a 4-speed and fitted with bucket seats from a GTX. It was ultimately retired and sat in a back yard for nearly a decade, but Larry Weiner of Performance West discovered it and restored it to its former glory. Follow the jump for the full details on the restoration, and check out the gallery of high resolution photos below.

[Source: Performance West Group]


Rumor has it that in 1968, a long time Mopar enthusiast named Herb purchased a new Plymouth Satellite station wagon. Living in suburban Chicago with his wife and five children, a wagon was the vehicle of necessity, rather than choice. But Herb had never lost his enthusiasm for the red hot performance cars he owned in his youth, and he continued to lust for a vehicle with the kind of power that he had once enjoyed.

In 1969, with the release of the Road Runner 440 Six Pack, Herb could stand it no longer. According to the story, Herb called Mr. Norm's Grand Spaulding Dodge, the Mecca for ultimate performance Mopars and asked if there was any way that his nearly new Plymouth could be enhanced with the same 440 Six Pack that made the just released A12 Road Runner and Superbee such street and strip terrors. Herb was assured that his B-Body wagon was a fraternal twin to the Road Runner and could be fitted with the full complement of parts. In fact, the swap was nothing more than a bolt in and all of the parts for the conversion, including the 440 engine, were in stock. Without hesitation, Herb brought the wagon to Mr. Norm's and a week later took delivery of his Plymouth wagon, one that was quite unlike any other.

After a driving his Six Pack Wagon for about a year, Herb's brother in law from California flew in for a visit. Herb took him for a ride in the wild wagon, and his brother in law fell in love with it. Long story short, he made Herb an offer he couldn't refuse and the wagon headed west on Route 66 to Southern California. Once there, the car was further enhanced with a factory Six Pack lift off hood, something that was not practical in Chicago, converted to a four speed and the interior was upgraded with buckets and a console from a GTX.

Fast forward to today. The Plymouth wagon has been found sitting in a back yard in California, where it has been for nearly a decade. While some of the go fast goodies are missing and the car is somewhat neglected, it's rust free, completely intact, and ready to be restored to its former greatness.

Classic design is one of the hallmarks of the late 1960's Plymouth, and the GTX 440 Six Pack Wagon has been carefully restored to maintain its timeless original appearance. In doing so, we have made only the most subtle visual changes, creating a vehicle that is loaded with "treats." While the uninitiated may overlook some of these nuances, true aficionados will find this "phantom" GTX wagon teeming numerous detail improvements that mark this as a vehicle that is not only true to the era from which it came, but one that incorporates many of the latest improvements, making it as contemporary and relevant today as when it was first built.

A prime example of this philosophy is the paint. While the color is reminiscent of the original "B-5 Blue," the brilliant "B-5 Super Blue" Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes Planet Colors hue is a modern interpretation of the original that takes advantage of the latest in paint technology.

The subtle enhancements continue with the choice of the period correct Six Pack Lift Off Hood that signifies the potent Mopar mill that lurks just beneath it. Other items to look for are the classic GTX dual side accent stripes and emblems. Hurst style chrome wheels by Oasis and Pirelli PZero tires work in concert with the lowered suspension, creating the kind of aggressive appearance that makes this such an interesting vehicle.

The interior mirrors the theme of that runs throughout the Plymouth. One of the highlights are the authentic 1968 GTX bucket seats that have been covered with magnificent Katzkin hand sewn white leather, with stitching that remains true to the original pattern, flanking a stock console that frames a Hurst Competition Plus Shifter. Contrasting with the white leather, B-5 Super Blue covers_all of the interior surfaces, resulting in a harmony of classic inspired textures and colors. Auto Custom Carpets provided the original style loop carpeting in blue, adding continuity to the theme. Adding interest and detail to the interior, a complete GTX dashboard and instrument panel replaces the mundane stock dash and cluster.

The GTX 440 Six Pack Wagon accelerates us back to a time when life may have been less complicated, but was more fun and in some ways, far more exciting than today. We cruised the drive-in, stopping to load up on hamburgers and fries, in a time when we could work off the calories with our sheer exuberance.

True to its name, the Plymouth sports a full on 440 Six Pack engine, with a trio of Holley carbs perched on an Edelbrock aluminum intake manifold. Backing up the engine is a bullet proof Hays Clutch that transmits the power to a genuine A833 4 Speed manual transmission armed with a Hurst Competition Plus Shifter.

The stance of the GTX 440 Six Pack Wagon makes no bones about its purpose. Sitting slightly lower than stock, it still stands tall and imposing compared to today's low slung cars. Period perfect Hurst style wheels complement the vintage appearance of the wagon, complemented by Pirelli PZero ultra high performance radial tires. Enhancing handling are Hotchkis Performance sway bars, heavy duty 440 torsion bars and a completely refreshed suspension system, both front and rear that features Eaton Detroit leaf springs and Edelbrock IAS Performer Shock Absorbers. The appearance is nothing less than you would expect, in addition to offering the kind of smooth ride and great handling essential for modern high speed motoring. And filling up the open areas between the spokes on the wheels are Stainless Steel Brakes Corp. Force-10 Tri Power high performance disc brakes at all four corners that look great and insure safe, sure stops from quarter miles blasts or just canyon carving forays.

The Plymouth GTX 440 Six Pack Wagon is a great example of the incredible performance of the late 1960's big block Mopars. And complementing the ground pounding performance is timeless styling that leaves no question what year and brand of vehicle it is, unlike today's generic, appliance like front wheel drive cars.

The Plymouth GTX 440 Six Pack Wagon is the absolute antithesis of these seemingly nameless, faceless commodity vehicles. The GTX 440 Six Pack Wagon beckons you to pack your bags, fill up a large cooler with your favorite refreshments and get ready to go cruisin' in style.

The 1968 Plymouth GTX 440 Six Pack Wagon is a perfect expression of what a confident, exciting time the 1960's were. It makes no pretense or excuses for what it is. One thing is sure; The GTX 440 Six Pack Wagon isn't politically correct. Rather, it's brash and arrogant, confident and ambitious, like the generation of Americans that inspired it and those that appreciate for what it is today.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago

      I didn't mean to come on so anti-mopar as far as drag racing goes because they did play a big part in that racing in the mid to later 1960's. From 1966 to 1968 they had a lot of wins but they were still beat on occasion and GM still had the most wins and was the one to beat overall in the 1960's especailly with the Catalina's 421SD and Chevy 409 Biscaynes. The mopars that were the most famous were the oval track inspired Dodge Daytona which dominated the Daytona 500, and its sister look-a-little Chyrsler Superbird. There a Superbird that used to hangout in the local parking lots back in the 1980's here in Illinois. They weren't the quickest but were probably the fastest car you could buy based on their road race wins. The GTX, late 60's Charger were also descent looking cars but most others were not good to look at.
      • 7 Years Ago
      What a sweet grocery getter
      • 7 Years Ago
      Kind of neat but ugly. I would rather be seen in an Old's Vista Cruiser like the 1968 one in That 70's Show. The Old's engine options could pretty much match this stock for stock. I believe the 401 was the optional engine in the Oldsmobile. The Mopar 440 Magnum was Chryslers best engine for performance especially in a modified state. The Hemi was not that good and wasn't very reliable and Tim Allen from Home Improvement could confirm that because he was a racer back then.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Oldsmobile didn't have anything that could compete with Chrysler. Chrysler's engines were top notch back in the day, which is why drag cars from Ford and Chevy used Chrysler Hemi based engines. Don't kid yourself. Chrysler was nuts enough to build things like the Hemi Dart or Hemi Cuda, with aluminium body panels and shipped in primer. They were the ballsiest company during the musclecar years. High impact paint. Shaker hoods. Air Grabber Scoops. Road runner horns. Huge decals. Strobe stripes. They were just awesome.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Sounds like you follow your preferences but don't know the racing story. GM dominated both stock and bracket car racing. Ford and GM never used Chrysler engines, are you kidding! Pontiac started the muscle car thing by putting a large engine in a medium sized car called the GTO. Everyone regardless of make preferrence knows that. The Catalina's ruled the early 1960's and had aluminum body panels for racing as well. The 421SD was a monster. They also had shortened wheel bases like Chrysler had for traction. Chrysler did alright in the late 1960's, but overall GM won everything. Arnie "The Farmer Beswick" only lost one race in his 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge. The 440 Magnum was Chrylsers best racing engine and again Tim Allen was there racing and doesn't lie when he says that was their best engine. The Hemi engine cost too much money to make fast and didn't last long. Only Chrysler fans thought they were good looking.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "restored it to its former glory"

      Glory?......oops scuse' me I need to puke!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I've seen this story a few times in print and online, and I smile every time :D
      • 7 Years Ago
      That is quite possibly the sweetest looking car I've seen on Autoblog for a long time...
      • 7 Years Ago

      If you think it looks good in pics, you really should see it in person. I actually saw it twice in the past month. First at the San Diego Auto Show and then again later in January during a local classic car show held here in La Jolla (San Diego coastal area). Effin gorgeous car.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Muscle wagons like this aren't exactly uncommon. Most muscle cars back in the day packages on cars that also offered wagons and people often mixed the two together. I've seen Rambler Rebel wagons, Buick GSX wagons, Pontiac GTO wagons, Chevrolet Chevelle wagons, all of them extremely cool.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Isn't the politically correct term "Crossover"? Many people today find the term 'Wagon' offensive.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Gorgeous car? Do you mean that its restored condition with paint, wheels, etc. was great. I know gorgeous is in the eye of the beholder but this is a homely car like most Chryslers but well done in its present condition.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Worst. Wheel. Choice. Ever.
        • 7 Years Ago
        There is nothing... NOTHING period correct about those wheels.

        Yes, of course chrome was available...

        18" 35-series radials were not. To be period correct, this thing should be on 14" or 15" bias-plies.

        I don't mind going with a big inch wheel if that's what you're into, but it should be one that works with the car. Those look like they belong on a rusted '85 Monte Carlo ghetto-blaster.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Why, because they are chromed? There were chromed Cragars long before the dawning of the era of "Bling". This is a period correct wheel for this car.

        Hot car just the way it is.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Shipey. I stand corrected. Thought those were Cragars until I opened the pictures to fullsize.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd hit it.
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