1970 Plymouth GTX Raced for 51 Years Still Rocks Original Limelight Paint, Mystery V8

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Having original paint on a 50-year-old car is definitely a deal-breaker if you're into pristine paint jobs. However, it's a plus on the classic car collectors' market, especially if the said vehicle is rare. But have you ever seen a classic still wearing its factory paint after more than 50 years of racing?
It may sound hard to believe, given that drag racing often results in crashes, but this 1970 Plymouth GTX is still finished in the FJ5 Limelight paint it got from the factory in 1969. Despite the fact that the owner has been racing this Mopar since 1973. That's a whopping 51 years as of 2024!

I guess it's safe to say he was lucky enough to avoid significant damage at the drag strip, but that's not the only fantastic thing about this GTX. It's also a rare and very early 1970 rig. According to the owner, it's the third 1970 GTX ever built and the first Mopar finished in Limelight, which Chrysler offered for the 1970 model year.

Moreover, it's one of only 478 GTXs finished in this hue. For reference, Plymouth sold 7,748 units in any color in 1970. And it's not just the bright green paint that soldiered on like a champ for more than five decades. The white stripes and the black vinyl top are also in great shape.

And even though it has seen extensive time at the drag strip, this GTX also retains its original glass and trim. Most of the interior is still there, but the drivetrain has been altered for quarter-mile duty. In fact, the owner purchased this GTX without the original engine and transmission because this GTX was stolen and stripped before it was recovered.

"Mopar John," as this guy is known at the drag strip, bought the GTX in March 1970. The car was only a few months old and had just 8,000 miles (12,875 km) on the odometer, so we could say it's pretty much a one-owner rig.

Called "Bitter Lime," this GTX is quite the fast rig. Now tipping the scales at less than 2,900 pounds (1,315 kg) versus nearly 3,800 pounds (1,724 kg) stock, the Mopar covers the quarter-mile in less than ten seconds. The video documents two 9.6-second runs at about 138 mph (222 kph). That's as quick as a modern Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and more than five seconds faster than a stock 1970 HEMI GTX.

What makes this Plymouth so quick? Well, that's a bit of a mystery. A "426 Linda" decal on the passenger door could suggest the presence of an old-school HEMI under the hood. However, our host points out it's a tribute to John's wife, who was born on April 26.

My research unearthed a forum post where John says he's running a "non numbers 0.30 over 1970 iron block." I could be a 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) RB since they're not very rare. However, the post dates back to 2016, and he may have changed the layout since then. But whatever this Mopar is relying on for oomph, this GTX is a sight to behold. Check it out in the video below.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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