1970 Plymouth Belvedere
8-cyl. 383cid/290hp 2bbl
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At the height of the muscle car era, the Belvedere line was Chrysler’s intermediate-size offering, and included the Plymouth Satellite, Sport Satellite, GTX, and Road Runner, which were all sub-models of the basic Belvedere. What resulted was one of the most complicated model and option lists of an era known for complicated option lists.<\p>
To set the stage for this line of powerful mid-size cars, the 1968 NASCAR Grand National championship went to Richard Petty in a Belvedere, and the cars were popular with police forces nationwide for their rugged design and available engine options. The legendary NASCAR racing homologation model "Superbird" Road Runner was added for 1970, with just 1,920 cars built -- one for every two dealerships in America.<\p>
Belvedere-badged cars were the base models of this line, available as a 4-door sedan or a 6-passenger station wagon, and as a 2-door coupe. Satellites and Sport Satellites added a 2-door convertible and 9-passenger wagon, and Road Runners added a 2-door hardtop coupe to the mix. The top-of-the-line GTX muscle car offered only the hardtop and convertible. These body styles persisted throughout this era.<\p>
Available engines ranged from the 273-cid V-8 at 190 hp through the 318-cid engine at 230 hp, to several versions of the 383-cid engine from 290 to 335 hp, up to the 426-cid engine at 425 hp. In 1969, a 225-cid inline "Slant 6" engine at 145 hp was introduced for the Satellite series. Also, the GTX was upgraded to a 440-cid V-8 at 375 hp in 1969.<\p>
For the final year of the Belvedere line in 1970, a total of eight engine options were available, from the basic 225 Slant 6 to the dual-four-barrel "Street Hemi" 440 V-8 at 425 hp.<\p>
A 3-speed manual transmission was standard on most of the Belvedere lineup, with an automatic or 4-speed floor-shift manual available as options. The 4-speed manual was standard on Road Runner and GTX models. High-performance V-8 engines were available only with the automatic or heavy-duty 4-speed manual.<\p>
As with all muscle cars, collectors will want to closely inspect the cars for provenance. Faked-up Belvederes and Satellites are common. Savvy buyers will know, for example, that high-horsepower cars could not be ordered with 3-speed transmission, cruise control, air conditioning, or any trailer package. Looking to the future, the Sport Satellites were considered the top of the line apart from the muscle cars, and produced in limited numbers. These may become collectible in their own right as time goes on.<\p>