BY CODY FACTEAU
Like most 'Gear Head's' out there, we rely on a lot of different sources of information to get our fill of car facts and figures. I mean, we look them up on the Internet, we talk to our buddies about them and we buy car trader-type magazines and dream of owning one of the beauties inside. The other day I got one of my automobile magazine subscriptions and in it was a story on the Plymouth Satellite. I had never heard of the Satellite before and I definitely wanted to know more.
The Plymouth Satellite was introduced in 1965 as the top model in Plymouth's mid-size Belvedere line. The Satellite remained the top of the line model until the 1967 model year, when it became the mid-price model with the GTX taking its slot at the top. The Fury name was moved to Plymouth's mid-sized models for 1975, at which time the Satellite just disappeared.
The Satellite came with a Chrysler B-series OHV V-8 engine, with a variety of displacements available, the most popular being the 383 cu in. 6.3 L, which offered 330 hp at 4,600 rpm. Quarter mile performance was 14.04 at 99.55 mph. And, in 1966, the Satellite was available with a 'Street Hemi' engine had had two 4-barrel carburetors, rated at 425 hp at 5,000 rpm. So, why is it that this car just kinda slipped through the cracks of history?
The Plymouth Satellite was up against some stiff competition when it came out, the Pontiac GTO and the Ford Fairlane. Now, there's a couple of names almost everyone has heard. Price was another factor. The Satellite started at $2,649 with another $514 going for the 383 four-barrel/four-speed combination. A comparable GTO hardtop coupe cost $2,852 and already came with the hot outlaw engine, with a step up to the four-speed costing $188, for a total of $3,040. Pontiac's beefy mount came in $120 cheaper than Mopar's most comparable optioned-up, bargain-division standard bearer, which definitely had a considerable effect on sales: 64,041 GTO's were sold in 1965, with only 23,341 Satellites.
In the short term, Pontiac won. The GTO was cheaper, it sold better, had a better image and it helped transport Pontiac into the third ranked automobile maker. In the long term, it mattered little as both Pontiac and Plymouth have went the way of the dinosaurs. Now, you would think that the rarity of the Satellite might make it a desirable classic car to own, and honestly, I wouldn't mind owning one myself. But, as far as value ... A '65 Satellite with a four-speed 383 retails for about $22,000, with a comparable GTO booking for $58,000. Even in extinction, the Satellite fails to mount a challenge.
With all of that aside, I would still like to root for the underdog Satellite. It's different, it's unique, it's rarely hear of and being different isn't a bad thing, not when it comes to classic muscle cars.
Cody Facteau is a 16-year old homeschooler from East Burke. He enjoys anything to do with cars, particularly the Classics. He loves Le Mans racing, his favorite TV shows are Gearz with Stacey David & Top Gear (BBC), hobbies are Legos and PlayStation. Career goals? What else, cars!