Junkyard Find: 1972 Plymouth Satellite Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1972 plymouth satellite sedan

Back when I bought my very first car at age 15, the fastest cars on the island were three early-70s Plymouth Satellites. They had 440s, tunnel-ram intakes with great big carbs perched way over the hoods, wild lumpy cams, unruly glasspack mufflers, and absurd 70s-style “stinkbug stance” jacked-up rears. One of them even had a big “55” with circle-and-slash emblem painted on the diff cover, complete with little spotlights to illuminate this statement at night. Rumor had it that these Satellites ran 10s at Baylands Raceway, but what they were really all about was street racing for cash. These cars were gloriously evil to the young driver of a ’69 Corona, and I’ve wanted a ’71-74 “fuselage” Satellite coupe ever since. Even though this one is a sedan, it still reminds me of the Fastest Cars In Alameda, 1981.

With a stock 318, this car was probably capable of running 17s at the dragstrip. Well, maybe not even that, if it was running at high-altitude Bandimere, where naturally-aspirated cars lose 20% of their horsepower due to lack of oxygen.

Back in the early 1970s, Detroit was very good at building big, cheap sedans with enough luxury to make drivers feel they’d hacked off a nice chunk of the American Dream. The Satellite and its competitors drank gas, but (prior to October, 1973) who cared?

The now-defunct Gates Rubber plant, where Neal Cassady toiled as a teenager, is just a few miles from this Denver self-service yard. Maybe this radiator hose was made there before the plant closed in ’96.

This car has been pretty well used up, but there are still many good parts left on it. I might go back and grab the transmission kickdown linkage for my A100 Hell Project.

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  • Cheyenps Cheyenps on May 06, 2012

    Around here these were used as Sheriff's cars for several years. I remember them for the placement of the parking lamps between the headlights, notable because the change to parking lamps that ran whenever the headlights were on had just taken place. These were the only cars that had the parking lamps located that way and being as the only ones on the road were Sheriff cars it was real easy to spot one in the mirror at night and slow down/hide the whatever.

  • Omnifan Omnifan on May 08, 2012

    I like the speaker in the right front door. Factory?

  • Analoggrotto I refuse to comment until Tassos comments.
  • Kendahl Fifteen years ago, the GTO was on my short list of automotive retirement presents to myself. It was just a bit too big and gas mileage sucked compared to the 6-speed Infiniti G37S coupe I bought after test driving several brands. It's a pity owners of cars that are collectible the day they are bought screw them up with aftermarket modifications they don't need. I'd offer they seller top price less what it would cost to put the car back to stock. (I just traded in the Infiniti, in mechanically excellent and cosmetically very good condition with 78k miles, for a 2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing.)
  • EBFlex This should help Fords quality
  • Analoggrotto By the time any of Hyundai's Japanese competitors were this size and age, they produced iconic vehicles which are now highly desirable and going for good money used. But Hyundai/Kia have nothing to this point that anyone will care about in the future. Those 20k over MSRP Tellurides? Worn out junk sitting at the used car lot, worn beyond their actual age. Hyundai/Kia has not had anything comparable to the significance of CVCC, 240Z, Supra, Celica, AE86, RX-(7), 2000GT, Skyline, GT-R, WRX, Evo, Preludio, CRX, Si, Land Cruiser, NSX etc. All of this in those years where Detroiters and Teutonic prejudiced elitists were openly bashing the Japanese with racist derogatory language. Tiger Woods running off the road in a Genesis didn't open up a moment, and the Genesis Sedan featuring in Inception didn't matter any more than the Lincoln MKS showing up for a moment in Dark Knight. Hyundai/Kia are too busy attempting to re-invent others' history for themselves. But hey, they have to start somewhere and the N74 is very cool looking today in semi rendered pictures. Hyundai/Kia's biggest fans are auto Journalists who for almost 2 decades have been hyping them up to deafening volumes contributing further distrust in any media.
  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.