Plymouth cars in 1968
In 1968, the Plymouth line was easy to remember as A, B, C. That is, A-bodies (Valiant and Barracuda), B-bodies (GTX, Satellite, Road Runner, Belvedere), and C-bodies (Fury, VIP). The various B-bodies didn't get their own specifications on the back of the brochure, as all were essentially versions of the same basic vehicle.
All the Plymouths included front torsion bar suspensions; Chrysler bragged that “Only two other American-built cars outside Chrysler Corporation have it. And they’re priced $1,500 to $3,000 beyond Sport Fury.” (Cars at the time were usually priced between $2,000 and $5,000).
At the top end, the Plymouth VIP included a special grille, dual tail lamps, mini rear tire skirts, and an integrated lower side moulding, along with wheel covers, fender-mounted turn signals, and a recessed side nameplate. The instrument panel was "Safe/Flight," with padding along the top and bottom, and illuminated by small indirect floodlights; all switches were roller or toggle.
The standard interior included vinyl door covers, "rich knit cloth" seats with vinyl trim, and trunk, glove compartment, courtesy, and map lights, along with the time-delay ignition switch light (activated when the door opened) that was to remain with Plymouth until its end. The VIP was offered as a four-door hardtop and two-door "fast top" with optional all-vinyl and all-leather interiors; the front bench seat could be replaced by a split bench with reclining passenger seat. Other options included eight-track, cruise, automatic temperature control air conditioning, and textured vinyl roof covering.
Fury covered several trim levels: Fury I, II, III, Sport Fury, and the separately badged VIP. Sport Fury came with a choice among four V8s, a notchback rear seat with front buckets, dense loop carpeting, a full complement of interior lights, heavy duty suspension, front disc brakes, and a four-speed floor-shift manual or three-speed Torqueflite automatic.
Fury III was the top of the line Fury outside the VIP, with either two or four doors and, like the VIP, rear wheel skirts. The interior was unique to the Fury III, with color keyed carpeting and fabric and vinyl with long front door armrests with bright bases, not to mention standard clock, cigar lighter, rear seat courtesy lamps, dome lamp (on four door sedans), glove box lock, glove box and trunnk lights, padded visors, and optional six-way power front seat. The Fury III also had extra sound insulation. Length was a full 17 3/4 feet.
The Fury I and II were also sold, with a standard slant six, and optional 318 V8. The II essentially added trim and basic features such as directional signals, front and rear seat belts, and instrument panel and visor padding.
Meanwhile, the GTX re-appeared for a second year as the luxury-and-performance king of the Plymouth line, with heavy duty torsion and anti-sway bars, and a standard four-barrel 440 with extra large throttle bores, cast headers, unsilenced air filter, performance cam, and oversized ports and valves — and the 426 Hemi as an option. The interior included simulated walnut grain, front and rear seat belts, carpeting, and such.
The Satellite remained Belvedere's upscale sibling, with the time delay ignition light, optional map and courtesy light, vinyl seats, aluminized muffler and tailpipe, and engines from 225 to V8s. Options included front disc brakes, head restraints, air conditioning, and cruise control.
Sport Satellite added a standard 318 V8 (383 Super Commando and other engines optional), available vinyl roof and convertible with glass back window, standard bucket seats, optional center sport console and optional two-way seat (with fold-down armrest and center cushion), and stereo tape setup in the instrument panel. The Belvedere itself had a standard slant six, and optional V8s.
The Road Runner was the really big news for 1968, with its own specially configured 383 and four-on-the-floor stick-shift or TorqueFlite automatic (and optional 426 Hemi). The 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner was a B-body, but underwent a severe diet to lose weight despite a heavy-duty suspension. To make it both light and cheap, the Roadrunner had few amenities - forget about carpet and sound insulation, for example. Creature comforts gave way to sheer performance and cost considerations. Plymouth provided a bright side to their economical vehicle development: “By giving it the same roof as our hardtops, you get frameless front door glass. And the rear windows tip out.”
|Car Life: 1968 Barracuda||0-60||Quarter Mile|
|225 cid automatic||13.6||19.4 @ 69.8|
|273 V8 automatic||9.2||16.9 @ 85.6|
|340 V8||7.1||14.93 @ 96.6|
For 1967 the Barracuda had been completely redesigned, with unique sheet metal. A coupe and convertible added in 1967 to be basic fastback remained for 1968; but the engine bay was enlarged to accept the 383 CID RB-engine (280 HP). A relatively stock 1968 383 Barracuda ran the quarter in 14.20 @ 100+, using 3.23:1 gears and a 4-speed (Performance for the Chrysler Car Enthusiast, March 1992).
Barracuda remained a modified A-body; the convertible model had a glass rear window, and all models had an optional red plastic wheelhouse liners and rallye cluster. The big news for Eurocar lovers was the Formula 340-S, which could easily do battle with much more expensive German cars; the light new 340 sat in front, with a special cam, four barrel carb, dual breaker ignition, and low-restriction dual exhaust, coupled with a tightly-tuned but not uncomfortable touring suspension. Unlike the 383, the 340 did not preclude air conditioning and power steering.
The less well balanced but still formidable 383-S was still available, too. The Formula S package included 14 inch super wide tires, heavy duty suspension, anti-sway bar and heavy duty shocks, and badging.
Valiant remained essentially unchanged except in appearance, having won the Mobil Economy Run in 1967; the 170 and 225 slant six were modified for better mileage, and more leg room was added in front even though overall length remained the same.
A variety of mid-sized wagons were also sold, with a minimum of 88 cubic feet of cargo area, an optional self-washing window, and engines ranging from 225 slant six to a specially tuned 383.
1968 was one of Chrysler’s best ever years for engines, with the small, light, and powerful 340 providing serious go-power for the Barracuda Formula S - at the time hailed as superior to more-expensive German and Italian touring cars - and a full range of big blocks culminating in the Hemi.
At the low end, the 170 slant six brought good gas mileage and the entry-level 273 V8 moved the Valiant and Barracuda quickly with light weight and a light touch at the gas pump.
|The Little Ones||170 Slant Six||225 Slant Six||273 V8||318 V8||340 V8|
|Horsepower||115 hp at 4400 rpm||145 hp at 4000 rpm||190 hp at 4400 rpm||230 hp at 4400 rpm||275 hp at 5000 rpm|
|Torque, lbs.-ft.||155 at 2400 rpm||215 at 2400 rpm||260 at 2000 rpm||340 at 2400 rpm||340 at 3200 rpm|
|Compression||8.5 to 1||8.4 to 1||9.0 to 1||9.2 to 1||10.5 to 1|
|The Big V8s||Commando 383 V8||Super Commando 383 V8||Super Commando 383 V8||Road Runner 383 V8||440 V8||426 Hemi V8|
|Horsepower||290 hp at 4400 rpm||300 hp at 4200 rpm||330 hp at 5000 rpm||335 hp at 5200 rpm||375 hp at 4600 rpm||425 hp at 5000 rpm|
|Torque, lbs.-ft.||390 at 2800 rpm||400 at 2400 rpm||425 at 3200 rmp||425 at 3400 rmp||480 at 3200 rpm||490 at 4000 rpm|
|Compression||9.2 to 1||10.0 to 1||10.0 to 1||10.0 to 1||10.1 to 1||10.25 to 1|
|Camshaft||Special||Special||Special||High Performance||High Performance||High Performance|
|1968 Specifications||Fury||Belvedere, Satellite||Barracuda||Valiant|
|Head room, front||39.5||38.6||37.4||38.4|
|Head room, rear||37.7||37.4||35.8||37.3|
|Leg room, front||41.8||41.9||41.7||41.7|
|Leg room, rear||37||36.3||30.2||34.5|
|Shoulder room, front||60||58.1||55.4||55.4|
|Shoulder room, rear||60||58.1||55.4||55.4|