1971 Plymouth Satellite
8-cyl. 318cid/230hp 2bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
For 1971, Plymouth redesigned its mid-size line encompassed the Satellite range of 11 models, plus the Road Runner and GTX high performance coupes. Body styles were distinctly different between coupes, sedans and station wagons. The coupes were fuselage style, with a handsome combined grille and loop bumper, while the sedans and wagons had conventional grilles and bumpers.
The base Plymouth Satellite range included a two-door coupe, four-door sedan and four-door wagon. The Plymouth Satellite Custom offered a four-door sedan and six- and nine-passenger station wagons. The Satellite Sebring was a two-door hardtop, as were the Sebring Plus, the Road Runner and the GTX. The Road Runner and GTX shared the hardtop body but not the Satellite name. The Satellite Brougham was an upmarket sedan and there were two Regent station wagons in six- and nine-passenger form. Coupes rode on a 115 inch wheelbase, sedans and wagons were two inches longer.
Engines ranged from the 145 bhp 225 cid slant six to the 230 bhp 318 cid V-8, which was the standard motor. Optional engines included the 335 bhp 383 cid V-8, which was the base engine in the Road Runner, and the 375 bhp 440 cid V-8, which was the base engine in the GTX.
The base Satellite coupe and the Sebring hardtop were jointly the top seller with 46,807 sold, while the Satellite Custom sedan found 30,773 buyers. The most popular station wagon was the base Satellite six-passenger with 7,138 buyers, while the Custom six-passenger wagon found 5,045 buyers. Other wagons attracted between 2,000-3,000 families for each model. A total of 16,253 enthusiasts bought the Sebring Plus and 14,218 bought a Road Runner, but only 2,942 bought a GTX. A 440 engine option was only $232 extra, while the Hemi cost an additional $884. Only 55 Roadrunner buyers stepped up for the Hemi, along with 30 GTX owners, in its last year.
The Satellite Brougham and GTX were discontinued for 1972. A new 400 cubic inch engine replaced the 383, and compression ratios dropped. Power was now calculated with the engine in the car, rather than on a dynamometer and output dropped sharply. The Satellite Sebring hardtop and Custom sedan were top sellers with 34,353 and 34,973 units respectively. The Sebring Plus hardtop also found 21,399 buyers. The base Satellite wagon and both six- and nine-passenger Custom and Regent wagons sold 23,299 units altogether, while Road Runner sales dropped by half, to 7,628 vehicles.
For 1973, bumper regulations kicked in and two-door Satellites were redesigned to look more like the sedans and wagons. The loop front bumper disappeared to be replaced by a conventional bumper and grille, and the rear fenders were smoothed out. Strong front-to-back lower styling lines were also removed. Models remaining included base four-door sedan and two-door coupe, Custom four-door sedan, Satellite Sebring, Sebring Plus and Road Runner hardtops and five station wagons – three six-passenger and two nine-passenger.
Base engines remained the 225 cid six, now down to 110 bhp, and the 150 bhp 318 cid V-8. The 318 V-8 was standard on the Road Runner, but the 260 bhp 400 and the 280 bhp 440 were optional. The biggest seller was the Satellite Sebring coupe at 51,575 units, followed by the Satellite Custom four-door sedan with 46,748 sales and the Sebring Plus hardtop at 43,628. Roadrunner sales rebounded to 19,056 units, while all five station wagons totalled 22,005 sales.
The year 1974 was the last for the Satellite line, which would be restyled and renamed Fury for 1975. There were minor styling changes, and the lineup remained the same, though a 245 bhp 360 cid V-8 option replaced the 400. Sales dropped, with the top seller being the Custom four-door with 45,863 buyers, followed by the Sebring hardtop at 31,980, and the Sebring Plus at 18,480. The Road Runner managed 11,555 sales and optional engines remained the 250 bhp 400 V-8 and 275 bhp 440 V-8. The five station wagons recorded 19,725 sales.