When talking about rare Mopars, we usually think about HEMI-powered muscle cars from the golden era. And that makes sense because Chrysler didn’t build all that many Gen-2 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V8 mills.
Introduced in race-spec form in 1964, the HEMI did not make it into production cars until the 1966 model year. It remained on the assembly line until the end of 1971 and most experts agree that Mopar put together about 10,904 of them. It may sound like a lot at first glance, but that’s fewer than 1,900 units per year on average.
In addition to that, we need to keep in mind that these engines were split between a long list of Dodge and Plymouth models. Specifically, it was offered in 12 different nameplates. In short, none of these cars were built in more than a few hundred a year, while some left the factory with HEMI engines in only a handful of units.
Convertibles are particularly rare and, as a result, also excruciatingly expensive nowadays. The 1971 Plymouth HEMI ‘Cuda Convertible, for instance, of which only 12 were built, is usually auctioned off for millions of dollars. In 2021, a rare export version failed to change hands despite a high bid of… wait for it… $4.8 million.
But does this mean that you need to spend big on a HEMI-powered Mopar to get a rare muscle car from the golden era?
Not really, to be honest. Unless you want a really rare, one-of-fewer-than-20 gem, there are other drivetrain configurations to consider. For instance, the 1968 Plymouth GTX Convertible is rare regardless of engine and transmission. That’s because the company shipped only 917 units that year.
Yes, the HEMI variant is arguably the rarest at only 36 units built, but the 440-equipped version is tough to ignore at just 881 examples made.
And that number becomes even smaller if we split them based on their gearboxes. That’s because only 375 got the four-speed manual and only 506 were fitted with the three-speed automatic.
The GTX you see here is one of those 506 two-pedal cars. Yes, it’s not quite as scarce as other muscle cars from the era, but the optional A/C and the Light Metallic Green paint send it into fewer-than-100 territory.
But more importantly, it’s one of the very few of its kind that made it into 2023 looking really sharp. Yup, this Mopar was professionally restored and it’s ready to tackle any Concours d’Elegance out there.
And if you still feel like scoffing at the absence of a 426 HEMI, the 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) RB V8 that powers this baby is a worthy alternative.
Not only because it’s plenty powerful at 375 horsepower and 480 pound-feet (651 Nm) of torque, but it also sounds quite vicious under full throttle. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Hit the play button below to find out for yourself.