1969 Plymouth GTX Track Pak A33 4 speed 440 Restoration Blog

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1969 Plymouth GTX Restoration Completed October 2023 (But really are they ever done?)

  • Real 440 4 speed manual trans A33 Trac Pack car.
  • Full rotisserie body and paint and mechanical restoration (every nut and bolt, every system has been restored and or replaced
    • Metal work included full 1/4s and NOS front fenders. Repainted factory B5 Blue with B7 interior per fender tag
      • New vinyl top
      • Re chrome bumpers 
    • Steering system, restored including the steering box.
      • Lower control arms rebuilt and finished in correct cosmoline paint
    • Engine rebuild including dyno(see pics) Date code correct HP engine for 1969 R/T (1968 build date)
    • Manual trans 4 speed rebuilt (vin number matches VIN on car
      • Rebuilt replaced all clutch and manual trans linkages/bushings
    • Dana 60- rebuilt and set up. Green bearings at each end
    • Dash gauge clusters with correct 150M speedo, and switches professional restored (added tachometer)
    • New interior, headliner, seat upholstery and carpet
    • Gardner Exhaust system (exact Chrysler bends and markings)
    • Windshield wiper 3 speed motor professional rebuilt and refinished
    • Converted car to front disc brakes (for safety)
    • GlenRay exact date code Chrysler radiator

 

 

 

 

Thank you for visiting and following another jakesgeneralstore.com restoration.  This is the um’teenth Mopar restoration for yours truly. The challenge with this build is that it is being done without a nice big shop. link here.  Here is a build that is being done in a typical 3 car garage, while always keeping the daily drivers and other classics in the garage. Space management is an issue and the accomplished goal of downsizing to a retirement home, while good in theory, offers considerable challenges for car guys doing restorations. The paint and body is most certainly being outsourced. Choosing a good bodyshop to use, if you can find one, is one of the up-front tasks performed in the planning phase as discussed in my blog post Managing Your Restoration.  Disassembly, small parts restoration, and most system restoration is taking place in my small garage. It is a challenge but it is working. Please check back often for monthly updates below in the Captain’s Log. 

After the AAR Cuda build I said I was done restoring cars. Well the bug bit again on a walk around the lake with my wife. This ’69 GTX was sunk into the earth along a line of trees. Within a few days, and after coercing owner to sell, the car was on my trailer. 

 

1969 Plymouth GTX, A true Track Pak A33 – Dana 60 is present, and the numbers matching 4 spd manual trans is present as well. Interior floors are solid but will need trunk floor and 1/4s. The right side floor support (see pic is rotten). Frame rails look solid. Other rust is typical areas around vinyl top and under battery tray. The car does have power steering and a center console. B5 Blue and B7 Blue guts.

Progress Timeline- Captains Log

October 2023
306 miles on the odometer. Mostly trouble free. Experienced a charging system issue with a faulty solid state external alternator regulator. Drives excellent down the road! Very pleased. 

September 2023
72 shakedown miles on the odometer after an alignment. August was spent chasing and solving electrical issues both under the dash and in the engine compartment. Three wiper switches later and the wipers finally work. Oh, and the wiper shafts themselves turned out to be ceased, They came out and a good set installed (they are way up under the dash). 

I did add the N96 Fresh air option to this car and I believe the V21 black hood treatment. These items were not on the fender tag. I had collected two sets of fresh air venting and air cleaner base plate combos over the years. Finally sorting these out and figuring out what I had was a very learned experience. Turns out I had a Dodge Ram Charger under hod vent set and the Plymouth Air Grabber vent set. The air cleaner base I had was for a 383 and would not work on my 440.
The punch list is long and seems to be fluid with things falling off the list and new items added. This will make for a good ‘putzing’ list for this winter when the rest of the world is watching NFL. Onward-Jake 

July Part 2 2023
Big day today. The GTX ran and moved under its own power today. Just up and down the driveway. Still no brakes. The car has been off the roan not running since 1985. The 440 had not run since 1981. Recall that the car ran with the 383 engine that was in it for a few years. More odds and ends to do. Still fighting with the brake fluid. No firm or stiff pedal yet. A different proportioning valve is on the bench awaiting install. My hand hump vacuum unit seems to just be sucking air, as it should, but not bringing brake fluid back to the rear brakes. Going to do some dishes and house cleaning in an attempt to coax the wife out to the garage to pump the brake pedal and bleed the brakes the old fashion way.  Onward!

July Part 1 2023
The exact correct exhaust system from Gardner Exhaust arrived in June. The system is now up in place awaiting the exact correct exhaust tips. At that time the system can be clamped together using the exact, correct exhaust clamps. The Z bar, manual trans assy. had to be removed and disassembled for the exhaust system to be able to clear, and go up to the exhaust manifolds. Things look and fit good. Very impressed with the system from Gardner Exhaust. A real first class operation from product quality, to packaging. Did some interior piece painting (B7) and also finally restored an original air cleaner base plate and lid.

April 2023
Part 2: It’s 3:AM on Sunday April 16th and while my body says stay in bed because it hurts to move, I am up revising parts lists needed for the build and taking something for the pain, that is for sure to get worse as the day goes on.  Yesterday was an extremely productive day on the GTX, thanks to my pals for coming over to help.  Car guys would rather spend a day in the shop working on a car than a tropical beach vacation any day. Yesterday was that day for us. The second Sat. in a month we were able to connect, mainly due to in-climate weather here in Minnesota, that prohibited any of us from doing spring yard work, to be together and work on a car. 

A reminder to the reader that this build is being done in a typical 3 car garage with no hoist, or even a bench vice. Work is done with the car on jack stands, with floor jacks. Lots of up and down on and off the concrete. I am convinced the concrete in my garage is harder than anyone else’s. Yesterday was all underside work. Rear brakes, E brake cables, hooking up the clutch Zbar and installing the Jesus clips. Adjusting the clutch pedal and installing the kick ass 4 speed gear shifter. The only comfortable work was laying down inside the car to work under the dash, hooking up some wiring and installing the massive clutch assister spring on the clutch pedal assembly. Work where one can easily loose a finger if not careful. 
Disc brake conversions are easiest when buying a complete kit with all of the parts ready to go. I am not that smart. I had to use existing disc brake parts and brackets that were from a stock Mopar, but unsure of what they were from. Many hours over the past year getting this conversion to work. Bottom line is due to a steering interference issue with the calipers and the front sway bar, the entire front end needed to come back out of the car and get swapped from side to side, placing the calipers to the rear of the spindles. While this was done, the freshly painted cosmoline lower control arms were rebuilt. All ground pounding bull work but mission accomplished, complete with a pot of chilly and great camaraderie with my pals. Priceless time, but today paying the price in body pain. 
I finally made the decision on a wheel and tire combo. While I was hoping to find a set of W21 Kelsey Hayes recall wheels as seen in the pic far below, it seems that even aftermarket wheels are non existent, so I decided on a set of Magnum 500s with Cooper Cobras. 15×8 on the back on 255s and 15x7s on the front with 235s.

 

Part 1: A Lot of progress recently on the GTX. Sometimes getting re-organized and refocused on a project is the best progress. Making a list of needed parts and subsequent sourcing of said parts has started. Parts have started to arrive. A decision was make on a wheel and tire combo. Since the Kelsey Hayes W23 recall wheels, (even previous sold aftermarket wheels), are not available, For now the GTX will wear a set of Magnum 500s wheels with Cooper Cobra tires. The exhaust system is ordered. This was a big purchase and a big deal. Again I will use a Gardner Exhaust system with the correct H pipe, hangers, mufflers, pipe size, pipe bends, (even the one side bend for the torsion bar), and clamps. Details on this system here
A lot of progress has been made under the hood, Fan, Fan clutch, alternator and cooling hoses are on. Started installing some electrical and ignition components. I think the issue with the brake calipers used for the disc brake conversion has been figured out. Thanks to some help on the B Bodies Only forum, another enthusiast had a similar steering interference issue and provided a solution. 
On Saturday April 1st, the guys came over to help with the GTX.  My wife put out a nice spread for breakfast and lunch in the garage. The was after we all cleared 8″ of heavy we snow from our houses. I will take a day of working on an old muscle car with my buds over a warm tropical vacation on a beach any time.

March 2023
Wrapped up the seat upholstery project. This was actually a major project within a project. A perfect mid-winter project in the garage. There was a 10 month, prepaid wait for the actual blue upholstery covers. Once the covers arrived I was ready with the sandblasted seat tracks. Stretching the covers over the new foam is always challenging. Installing the new foam on the seat frames gives the seats a full look. The old foam on both front sears was actually missing. Again I am thankful the new pre moulded foam is available. Assembling the foam with the muslin provided and following the directions on how to cut the strips is critical. Legendary did a nice job with a video on how to cut the strips and assemble the foam. I did use a white kitchen trash back over the foam to help slip the covers down over the front seat backs. The industrial high heat gun is also critical to stretch the front seat backs down.

Seats  
Foam  $      345.00
side covers  $      117.00
headrests  $      395.00
front covers  $      517.00
rear covers  $      357.00
total  $   1,731.00

February 2023
Tore down the interior front buckets and rear bench seat. Many new parts will be needed to restore the front buckets. Thankful most parts are reproduced. Examples include blue headrests and even the plastic front bucket side hinge plastic covers, in blue. The dark blue medium carpet arrived. Seat covers have been shipped are are due to arrive any day. Finished installing the front headlight bezels and front headlamp wiring. Did you know that a headlight bezel for the 68-69 GTX and Sport Satellite are different than a Road Runner? Well then are. The inner flange that meets the grille is 1 1/2 inches shorter for the GTX/SS. 

I actually thought of my old pal Dan today as I ran out of “bends”. I remember Dan used to say, “ I only have X number of bends per day.” I think the number was 20 bends, then he was out of commission. Man I felt the same today crawling in and out and around the GTX. A guy finds himself planning trips in and out of the car. Like ensuring ya bring every darn tool you are gonna need to eliminate the need to get back, up (slowly), and get out of the car, get the item and then get back in. Getting in is sometimes as hard as getting out!.

January 2023
Dash is installed. All glass is now installed and interior pieces are slowly getting installed. Waiting on seat covers, Carpet has arrived and door cards are on. Door handles and stainless side trim unique to the GTX model are installed. 

July 2022
The cover stayed on the GTX all winter in the garage. Recently work started on assembling the dash. Unpacking the gauges (speedo and light switch panel), that have been insanely, professionally restored was better than ANY Christmas morning I remember as a kid. What a thrill. The dash frame itself needed some wet-sanding as a bit too much clear coat was applied to the color base. 

This past spring I placed the soft goods order, interior door cards and seat upholstery, Those are not expected to arrive until February 2023. And, they take your money up front. 

Light cleaning on the parts was done at the time of disassembly, bagging and tagging, but now the deep detail cleaning on parts is happening, which is extremely enjoyable to see the contrast. 

November 2021

The GTX is now officially a roller. The front suspension, including the disc brake conversion using A body calipers is complete, sort of. I still think the calipers will hit the top bolt head and rubber insulator on the front sway bar, which will hinder steering. I will need to address this. I had a build day with my close pals. My wife made a nice lunch and other friends stopped by to see the car. This comradery is what I enjoy most about the hobby. 

After realizing I needed some additional parts and the correct brake pads, I was able to get the GTX on the ground. 

The limited space challenge of working in my the three car garage, while keeping my wife’s vehicle inside should get easier. Announced first here to the public is that I have sold my ’70 AAR Cuda. A restoration completed in 2016 that took four years. I acquired that car in the Turkey Barn cars I found back in 2004. The sale of this car should free up the far third stall, which will allow BOTH daily drivers to be inside. 

I hope to drastically slow the progress of the GTX and recover from the outlay of $$$ in 2021 for paint and body. I do have enough parts such to keep myself plenty busy over the winter. All dash gauges are back from being restored. I also have the dash wiring harness. I hope to build out the dash over the winter and get that installed. Other items I hope to get accomplished are the installation of the steering column, pedals, and the installation of the front and rear glass, and the body side moulding. I sent the deck lid back to the paint and body shop to address some issues. 

September 2021

Installed the driveline: Engine, Trans and the Dana 60/Springs etc. The car is now sitting on rear tires. For the engine trans install I lifted up the front of the car with an engine hoist. Rolling the engine and trans under the car, then lowered the car onto the engine/trans. The engine landed right where is should and the height of the cart put the frame rails and K-Frame within 2 inches. The k frame bolts actually reached in the frame rails and started. No big shop, no big car hoist, just ground pounding floor jacks and jack stands. It took me a day of recovery in between the Dana 60 install and the engine install. I had to reload my daily “bend” allotment. 

August 2021

The GTX is now home from the body shop. 942 hours were spent on the following scope of work at the body shop. 

  • Final disassembly of the car including, k-frame, dash, steering components and all glass
  • Epoxy sealer applied to the car after I hauled the car to have it blasted. Once blasted I returned the car to the body shop
  • Metal work and any necessary fabrication- replacement of full 1/4 panels, trunk floor, rear crossmember.
  • Body straightening, body panel alignment
  • Apply Exterior B5 blue paint and interior B7 paint per fender tag. 
  • Black hood and lower body paint treatment
  • Vinyl top and headliner installed. 
  • Final wet-sand, buff
  • reinstallation of side glass, side markers and rear bumper. 
  • Prepare and paint the rear decklid finish panel and the tail light bezels (Potmetal)

Assembly will now commence over the next year. 

July 2021

Exterior paint is complete and vinyl top is installed. Final wet sanding and buffing will happen throughout the rest of the month. 

 

  

June 2021

Exterior paint is all that remains. Should see car back at the end of June. The B7 blue interior pieces are completed, dash, steering column, inside of upper doors and rear upper panels. 

While the car is away at the bodyman’s place, I am building out engine and trans on k-frame and will lower car onto the assembly. I have not installed a drivetrain this way before. 

April 2021 Body work update-paint work started. underside color/clear, most jam work complete

February 2021 Body work update- Metal work complete, blocking sanding underway. 

December 2020- Body work continues offsite. The cold air has hit Minnesota in addition to being locked down due to a worldwide pandemic, and a tyrannic left wing liberal Governor/former social studies teacher, that must miss his authoritative hallway and lunch room duty, where he gets to tell people what to do.  

I am working on cleaning and inspecting bolts, washers, clips and brackets that were “bagged and tagged”, as part of the disassembly process. I have an Eastwood tumbler that I have had for 10 years or so. I dug the unit out again and fired it up.  This is what is meant when you hear the phrase, “nut and bolt restoration”. Literally each nut and bolt is restored. 

 

November 2020- The dash assembly is a restoration project in and of itself. Each piece gets removed. All wiring will be replaced (safety issue).

Gauges and clusters- The woodgrain or lucite will get professional restored with the correct 1969 finish. There is a difference in the lucite grain and appearance from ’67’68’69 and ’70.  All white lettering will be re-done along with the instrument cluster itself will get calibrated including the tachometer. The speedo in the ’69 GTX is a 150 MPH speedo. Cost here will be around $2,700 to get professionally restored. 

October 2020- extensive metal work has started on the body, which is on a rotisserie. AMD sheet metal was about $3,500. The shop that is doing the work is making excellent progress. 

 

August 13th, 2020- Dana 60 rear end rebuild- $2,991

The coveted Dana 60 rear end is back from being professionally rebuilt and properly set up. A new Dana locker and Moser axles along with green bearings were installed in the stock rear end housing.  The professional set up in a rear end here is what the big deal is.

What I find interesting about Mopar using a Dana 60 in their muscle cars is that the Dana 60 was built for Mopar’s truck division. Mopar muscle car engines produced so much torque and horsepower that the Dana 60 truck rear end was adapted to go under the muscle cars. It was sure to not detonate. Yes it was big and heavy but remember unlike the heavy Chevys of the same era, Mopar did not put a full frame under their cars. Mopars were unibodies. This rebuilt rear end, using the latest technology, i.e. the new Dana locker green bearings are examples in utilizing today’s top technology on the insides but retaining the correct restoration look on the outside. Imagine having an adjustable wheel/axle bearing blow out after restoring your ride and sending ball bearings all over the highway. No thanks. 

June 24th, 2020- Car is back from media and sand blasting. $1,700

An interesting discovery was made. Owner upgrade trailer-tow package?  It appears the rear upper shock absorber bracket, directly above the rear end, has been replaced and upgraded with a very stout 3/8″ piece of channel angle iron. Moreover, note the 3/8″ flat strap that wraps around the frame rail. The car also had an extremely heavy duty trailer hitch that included vertical 10″ bolts that went through the frame rails up through the trunk floor and into the trunk.  One can safely deduce that a previous owner used his “Gentlemen’s Muscle Car” for a bit of family vacationing pulling a big camper? Or, maybe used to pull his  Mopar drag car to the track on a trailer? After all the car did have a factory truck rear end, Dana 60 with 3:54 gears, a big block 440 and a 4 speed. Stopping was a different concern as the car did not have power brakes and had all drum brakes

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June 10, 2020-Reengaged on the project stripping parts off of the car and prepping for blasting. 

 

April 2020

Stainless and long lead pot metal items needing refinishing has been sent out. est $2,600

 

2016 the motor rebuild and dyno testing/ break-in is complete. All in cost for machine work, carb, correct Dist. , stock exhaust manifolds etc. $7,346.98

’69 HP Motor rebuilt and was on dyno in the fall of 2016. 374HP- stock rebuild on a virgin block. NOM to car- came out of ’69 Coronet R/T. WS23L9G148774 

 

Plymouth’s GTX, also lovingly coined as the gentlemen’s muscle car, hit the car scene in 1967 as a hot rod version of the Plymouth Belvedere. The mid-sized luxury performance muscle car came with a Super Commando 440-cid V8, or a Hemi V8 as an option. The 440 engine, capable of zero to 60 mph acceleration in 6.8 seconds, a quarter-mile time of 14.6 seconds, and a top speed of 121 mph, boasted 375-horsepower from the factory. Those numbers, especially impressive considering the era, were achieved with an automatic transmission, not the optional four-speed.

By the 1968 model year, Plymouth released the more affordable Road Runner, which put the GTX in the position of being the brand’s luxury hot rod. The muscle car’s curvier lines commanded attention that year, and in 1969, the GTX received a facelift with a new grille and headlights.

According to PlymouthGTX.net, of the 14,902 hardtop examples of the 1969 Plymouth GTX produced, 13,866 were equipped with the 440 V8, and just 4,004 of the 440 models were paired with a four-speed transmission. This mostly original 1969 Plymouth GTX is one of the 4,004 four-speed muscle cars made.

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