Gary had served two tours in Vietnam during the late 1960s. He was a crew chief and a door gunner in a helicopter unit for his entire stint in the war. Truly harrowing and heroic stuff. For those three years, he saved his military pay, hazard pay, and combat pay. Then, a few months prior to his discharge, while at the P.X., he saw this advertisement for the brand new 1970 Plymouth linup of cars.
The ad sells, and re-sells the idea of racing, performance, brute power, optional track equipment, and speed. After all, 1970 was the pinnacle of the muscle era – huge engines in mid-sized cars. Nothing too fancy inside or out, except that drivetrain.
He mentioned to me that he sort of wishes that he wouldn’t have written on the ad, but I think it’s even cooler with his scratching. It’s like looking through a little tiny time machine. He noted the military discount pricing for each model and made a note, “No bucket seats!” Any of the cars pictured here are now worth at least ten times what Gary would have paid.
He ended up ordering the GTX. He specified a 426 Hemi, a 4 speed, and a bench seat. Why a bench seat? Because his wife didn’t like buckets. She probably missed him while he was gone and wanted to sit next to him upon his return.
The car was supposed to be waiting for him at the docks when he returned stateside. Alas, it was not. Some story, some delay, had prevented his reward for all that hard work overseas from greeting him. A three month delay would await him if he decided to go through with the special order. However, they did have another option for him, at a much lower price. The salesman handed him the keys, told him to drive it up and down the docks, then decide. He did, and he was sold, and he saved $1400.
What was the option? A 1970 Datsun 240Z – with bucket seats. He ended up keeping the 240Z for 12 years and putting 140,000 miles on it.
Sure would have been nice to have that Hemi though…
Scott Ith is an Associate Editor with Hooniverse.com, but he also contributes to his own site NeedThatCar.com. Head over there for more hooniganism.