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The Plymouth Fury was an automobile made by the Plymouth division of the Chrysler Corporation from 1956 to 1978. The Fury was introduced as a premium-priced halo model (a production automobile designed to showcase the talents and resources of an automotive company, with the intent to draw consumers into their showrooms).

First generation: 1956-1959

The Fury was sold only as an off-white hardtop coupé with gold anodized aluminum trim in 1956, 1957, and 1958. From 1965 to 1974, Plymouth sales owed a great deal to the Fury's popularity. When Plymouth reintroduced a full-size car in 1965, the Fury was available in four trim levels, dubbed Fury I, Fury II, Fury III and Sport Fury, which were priced to meet Chevrolet's Biscayne, Bel Air, Impala, and Impala SS models, body style for body style.

In 1959 Plymouth introduced the Sport Fury as its top model, and the Fury name was stepped down to replace the Plymouth Belvedere at the top of the regular Plymouth line-up. In doing so, the Fury range now contained sedans and station wagons as well as a hardtop coupe and sedan, while the Sport Fury series had only a 2-door hardtop and convertible.

The Sport Fury was dropped at the end of 1959, but was reintroduced in mid-1962.

Stephen King's Christine

Although the 1958 Plymouth Fury is identified as the car in John Carpenter's adaptation of the Stephen King novel Christine, two other Plymouth models, the Belvedere and the Savoy, were also used to portray the malevolent automobile in the film. Total production for the 1958 Plymouth Fury was a staggeringly low 3,018 - regrettably a few true(and very rare)Fury models were actually destroyed during filming () - But most of the cars that were destroyed were Savoy and Belvedere models dressed to look like the Fury.

Several statements about the car in the book version were factually incorrect for the 1958 Fury, referring to features that were found on the Belvedere model and not on the Fury. Some of these include:
  • "rear doors" (Christine is referred to as a four-door, but the Fury was only available in a two-door model until 1959)
  • the automatic transmission (called a Hydramatic in the book—a GM transmission; Chrysler Corporation transmissions were called TorqueFlite)
  • "gearshift lever" (refers to the transmission shifter; all 1958 Chrysler automobiles with automatic transmissions used push-button drive).

Another slight inaccuracy was shown in the film version of Christine: In the scene where Leigh Cabot chokes on a hamburger, Arnie is locked out of the car and can't help her. The door lock button clearly goes down by itself, yet these cars did not have lock buttons. They required the door handle to be rotated counter-clockwise to lock them.

However, the author did note that Christine was "a special order", which could explain these inconsistencies. Also, since the car is possessed by a supernatural force (the previous owner in the book and an unknown force in the movie) it is possible that the car could do just about anything it (she) wanted. Another possibility to explain the inconsistencies could be the fact that the novel takes place in one of King's universes for the "Dark Tower" multi-verse, in which other objects based on real world items have some details that are inaccurate in comparison.

Second generation: 1960-1964

Suddenly it was 1960, and Chrysler/Plymouth was scrambling to produce cars to please the public, fins suddenly having become passe. The Fury remained Plymouth's sales volume model through the troubled early 1960s, when the full-sized Fury was saddled with odd styling and an intermediate (or mid-sized) platform. The first year a Fury convertible was offered was in 1960.

Also in 1960, Chrysler introduced its Ram Induction system of manifolds, which increased low end and reduced high end torque for drag racing. The Fury also moved to unibody construction for greater rigidity and better cornering. The fins dropped off completely in 1961, after reaching new heights in 1960. The original 318 and 383 were available (not related to the later 318 and 383), along with a 361 and the brand-new Chrysler Slant-Six 6-cylinder engine, producing at 4000 rpm. The 383 produced .

Starting in 1962 and ending in 1969, the Sport Fury was offered as a hardtop coupe or a convertible.

Third generation: 1965-68

Plymouth Sport Fury convertible
In 1965, Plymouth came up with three special Furys: the Fury I, Fury II, and Fury III. The Fury I was marketed to police and taxi fleets, or sold to private customers wanting a basic, no-frills full-sized car, while the Fury II and Fury III were the bread and butter lines. Many Sport Fury models (as well as Fury III models) came loaded with options such as automatic transmission, power steering, white sidewall tires (along with full wheel covers), stereo radios, vinyl tops and air conditioning.

The overall design changed, with the grille losing chrome but gaining two vertical stacked headlights on each side. All new Furys got a new 119" wheelbase (121" for the wagons) - one inch more than before. The 426 "Street Wedge" V8 was introduced, rated at but finally street-legal.

From 1966 to 1969, a luxury version of the Fury, called the Plymouth VIP (marketed as the Very Important Plymouth in 1966) was fielded, in response to the Ford LTD, Chevrolet Caprice, and the Ambassador DPL. These models came with standards such as full wheel covers, vinyl tops, luxuriously upholstered interiors with walnut dashboard and door-panel trim, a thicker grade of carpeting, more sound insulation and full courtesy lighting. In addition to options ordered for the Fury III and Sport Fury models, VIPs were often ordered with such items as automatic transmission, air conditioning, power windows, and power seats.

Fourth generation: 1969-1973

The 1969 models debuted "Fuselage" styling then in vogue at Chrysler. For 1970, the VIP was discontinued, and the Sport Fury range added a four-door hardtop sedan. The Sport Fury added two new hardtop coupes to retain some semblance of a sporty image: the S-23 and the GT. 1970-71 Sport Fury GT models were powered by a 440-cubic-inch engine, which could even be had with the "Six-Pack" option, which consisted of three two-barrel carburetors.

1970 Plymouth Fury III convertible

1972 Fury's sported a large chrome twin-loop bumper design with a small insignia space between the loops and hideaway headlights as standard equipment on the Sport Suburban, and the newly introduced Fury Gran Coupe and Gran Sedan, which eventually would become the Plymouth Gran Fury. Later in the year, hideaway headlights became an option on all models.

For 1973, the front end was redesigned with a new grille and headlight setup, along with federally-mandated 5 mph bumpers.

Fifth generation: 1974-

1974 was the last for the C-body and full-size Fury.

Sixth generation (Gran Fury and the end of the Fury): 1975-1978

In 1975, Chrysler moved the Fury nameplate to Plymouth's redesigned mid-size models that had previously been marketed as the Satellite. The "Road Runner" was offered as the top-line model of the redesigned coupe, but was moved to the Plymouth Volare line the following year. The full-sized Plymouth then became known as the Plymouth Gran Fury. The Gran Fury was dropped after 1977, and the mid-sized models were dropped after 1978, replaced in Canadamarker by the rebadged Dodge Diplomat model called the Plymouth Caravelle (not the be confused with the E-body Plymouth Caravelle from 1983-1988). There was no 1979 Fury, Gran or otherwise.

Only minor styling changes were made between 1975 and 1978, most notably in 1977 from dual round headlights to a quad stacked square arrangement (see photo). Front turn signals moved from the outboard edges of the grille to cutouts in the front bumper. Tail lights added an amber turn lens in favor of the previous red.

In 1980-81 a new Gran Fury was available, in what was a virtual twin of the concurrent Chrysler Newport intended mainly for fleet sales. For 1982, Dodge Diplomat was rebadged to create yet another Gran Fury. In reality, this was the Canadian-market Plymouth Caravelle sedan which had been available since 1977. This version was available through the 1989 model year, and was sold mainly as a fleet vehicle, and was a popular choice as a police cruiser.

See also


The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975, John Gunnell, Editor. Krause Publications, 1987. ISBN 0-87341-096-3

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