Plymouth had a lot on its plate going into 1968. The redesigned Barracuda was being prepped for Hemi Super Stock action. The street scene would see a new economy musclecar the company had named tongue-in-cheek ‘Road Runner,’ after the popular cartoon, and the car that had debuted in 1967 under the moniker GTX would continue to be the bread-and-butter ‘midsize sports car’ in the line up.
The GTX, unlike the taxicab proclivities of the Road Runner, was a fairly luxurious car in the day. Many options were part of the model, as were two engines, the 426 Hemi and the 440 Super Commando, both quite larger than the biggest engines from GM in their muscular offerings. The 440 was also larger than the new Ford 428 FE-series mill.
So, it was in October of 1967 that a Tennessee-based radio DJ named Jim Buchanan, who was the regular announcer at Larry Carrier’s Bristol International Dragway, decided that a new GTX would be the way to go. The dealership in the town of Erwin, Travelers Chrysler- Plymouth, had a few cars on hand, but Jim decided he’d order a special one. He already knew manager Jim Ramsey from the race track, and was drawn toward the GTX’s clean redesign for the new model year. He had also witnessed that the latest Mopars were making mincemeat out of the Chevrolets at Thunder Valley.
He did opt for the 440, which was a better street choice than the Hemi. The Super Commando featured a revised cylinder head casting with better flowing ports (for the 1968 model year, they were changed from the tight quench chamber design that had debuted in 1967 to give the car better emissions results), a forged crank and rods, and a single Carter AVS on top of a cast intake. With a static compression ratio of 10.10, created through the piston design, it was a jumper off the line since, as Plymouth’s advertising was apt to point out, the Super Commando was indeed the biggest GT engine in the world.