Plymouth Fury - Classic Muscle Car 2020 Review - Muscle Car

Plymouth Fury – Classic Muscle Car 2020 Review

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Written by Elise

10th November 2020

Plymouth Fury – Classic Muscle Car 2020 Review
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Plymouth Fury – Classic Muscle Car 2020 Review

By Niamh Smith

The Plymouth Fury: A 34-Year Legacy

Throughout the Plymouth Fury’s long and tumultuous lifetime it has seen many incarnations. From the practical sedan taking the family to a picnic by the lake, to the young motorhead excited to be driving his first muscle car. From the NYPD’s ranks, to the record breaking taxi cab that clocked up over 1.6million miles, the Fury has seen a lot

This classic car review will take you through the Fury’s first five generations, giving you an insight into the specs and variants of this popular model for MoPar fans. From B-body to C-body, we’ve got it covered!

1966 Plymouth Fury

A Furious Debut

From 1956-58 the Fury was a sub-series of the Plymouth Belvedere, its year-old big sister. It was introduced with a 303ci V8 engine, flamboyantly featuring peaked 50s tail fins and an atomic style logo. 

It was raced as a Factory Experimental racecar at the February Speedweek in Daytona, prompting the comment “with a resounding boom and a flash of gold, it was gone, the engine defiantly pounding out its deep belly staccato tune with bass notes better than any musical orchestra.” The Fury clearly made an impression as it roared past spectators and officials at 143.5 miles an hour. 

For 1957, Chrysler plugged the ‘forward look’; “the car you might have expected in 1960 is sat at your dealers today” the advertisements trumpeted to the masses. And they weren’t too far off the mark; the torsion-bar front suspension and TorqueFlite automatic transmissions were space-age technology in ‘57. 

The 1958 Fury model has been made iconic by Stephen King’s book Christine, later a film, in which a red ‘58 Plymouth Fury haunts and pursues anyone who comes between her and her owner. In reality, ‘58 Furys only came in buckskin beige with gold trim, however it is mentioned in the book that Christine was a ‘special order’. 

A1958 Motor Trend test saw the Fury complete a 7.7 second run: superior to the 9.1 second run from the Chevrolet Impala and the 10.2 second run from the Ford Fairlane 500

Plymouth Fury First Generation: 1959

For the Fury, 1959 brought bigger tail fins, and a tyre bulge on the boot lid. 1959 was the debut year for the Sport Fury, the luxury performance model of the Fury, replacing the Plymouth Belvedere at the top of the Plymouth lineup. It was the first year to boast a muscled up trans to handle the torque produced by their high performance engines, and the last year of the 361ci V8.

Plymouth Fury Second Generation: 1960-1961

1960 brought—yes, can you believe it?—even BIGGER tail fins. Dubbed as ‘stabilizers’ by Chrysler, they extended to the height of the roofline. Chrysler began using ram induction tuned intake manifolds, which crossed over the width of the engine to gain more length, which increased low-end torque and reduced high-end torque. 

The Fury moved to unibody construction for greater rigidity and cornering. The original A series (polyspherical) 318ci and the 330hp 383ci V8s were both options, alongside the 261ci and the brand new slant 6 motor. Chrysler’s slant 6 had the same 145hp as Ford’s 223ci, but had 9 more lb-ft of torque, as well as 10 more horsepower and 8 more lb-ft of torque than Chevrolet’s HyThrift motor. 

In 1961 the 375hp 413ci v8 was introduced and the Fury got a new look; the grille had a new appearance and Chrysler ditched the tail fins completely, giving the Fury clean, futuristic lines. 

Plymouth Fury Third Generation: 1962-1964

In 1962 the Fury had another makeover, with a cleaner, less cluttered front end and accentuated lines. In 1962 the Fury became Plymouth’s primary sales maker for the year. The Sport Fury returned with a special interior, featuring bucket seats, a sporty partially blacked out grille and 2 extra tail lights. 

It gained Plymouth’s first fully unitised body/chassis, which helped the Yank tank shed 200lb in weight. The new TorqueFlite transmission, with its aluminum casing, was 60lb lighter than its’ cast iron predecessor, and allowed exterior dimensions to decrease while retaining coveted interior space. Engine options included the slant 6, both 2 and 4 barrel 318ci, and the short ram 413ci was added mid year.

In 1963, US car buyers began associating size with quality, instead of styling, and so Chrysler focused on making Furys bigger. Perceived shortness of the ‘62 was seen as a problem, so Plymouth added 3” onto the body length. Motor options for 1963 now included a 426ci wedge and a 426ci Max Wedge in limited production numbers.

By this point, Chrysler’s much admired TorqueFlite trans was eating manual transmission cars for breakfast on both the drag strip and the street, and was much envied by the likes of Chevrolet and Ford. 

1964’s sales were helped by Richard Petty driving a Hemi powered 1964 Plymouth Fury (though this was not an option) in the Daytona 1-2-3, and demand rose to 600,000; the Fury’s best sales since 1957. 

Plymouth Fury Fourth Generation: 1965-1968

For 1965, Chrysler returned the Fury to the C-body series—’C’ stands for colossal. Just kidding, but seriously, the cars got pretty big. The 1964 full-size Plymouth models were used as the basis for the 1965 mid-size models. 

The 1965 Plymouth line included three models: Fury I – being the basic model-, Fury II and Fury III, which offered more trim levels and optional parts. Engine spec options included the 225ci slant 6 motor, 318ci, 383ci (with a 2 or 4 barrel carburettor) and a 426ci wedge. 

In 1966, Chrysler offered the VIP Fury range in response to the success of Ford’s 1965 LTD, a luxury sedan in the ‘low priced’ car market. It featured luxury options, including vinyl roof, deep pile carpets and a padded dash. Unfortunately, the VIP didn’t match Ford’s success with the LTD and the VIP was dropped for the 1969 model year. 

The 440ci (7.2L) V8 was also introduced as an option for the 1966 Plymouth Fury, with a 10:1 compression ratio, dual exhaust and a 4 barrel carb, boasting 365hp.

While the chassis stayed relatively the same, there was another coke bottle style makeover for the ‘67 Fury. Motor options included the dominating 4 barrel Super Commando 440ci V8.

In 1968, the Plymouth Fury got a new rear end look, echoing other ‘68 Plymouth models, like the Belvedere. There was a new body style offered for the 1968 Plymouth Fury III; the ‘fast-top’. This was a 2 door semi-fastback hardtop previously only available as a VIP or Sport Fury model. 

Plymouth Fury Fifth Generation: 1969-1973 and beyond

The 1969 Fury models featured Plymouth’s new rounded ‘fuselage styling’. The 225ci remained the standard engine option on the Fury I, with the 318ci V8 as standard on the Sport Fury model, some Fury III models, all the VIP models and the Fury wagon. A 3 speed manual came as standard, but TorqueFlite automatic trans was an optional extra.

In 1970, after the discontinuation of the VIP range, a new four door hardtop was added to the Sport Fury range, which was also available in the GT trim level, but this was rarely chosen. It sported a 440ci 6 barrel V8 which had 390hp.

For the 1971 model year, the S-23 model and convert models were dropped. The GT option was changed from a trim level to a separate model. Engine wise, the 360ci was added to bridge the gap between the 318ci and the 383ci V8s. 

The Plymouth Gran Fury debuted in 1972, which featured a 400ci V8 (a bored out 383ci). The slant 6 was no longer available, and the base engine was a 318ci, marking the beginning of a series of V8 only model years. Upper 1971 Fury models were the Fury Gran Sedan and the Fury Gran Coupe, available as a 2 or a 4 door hardtop. Fury I, II and III were now only 4 door sedans. 

The front end was transformed for 1972, making it similar to the front end on 1970 Dodge Coronet.

Unfortunately, from 1973 onwards the Fury began losing its touch when compared to models like the Plymouth Barracuda, the Dodge Challenger, the Chevrolet Nova and the Ford Mustang, which all retained their muscle car stylings. The Fury had been restyled to look even larger, which clashed untimely with the first gas shortages to hit the states since World War II; not ideal when marketing a huge gas guzzling car.

The Fury badge began as a high performance version of Plymouth’s standard cars, but the name was quickly changed to be applied to the brand’s full-size cars. From 1975-1989 the Fury name was synonymous with cop cars and family sedans. 

Plymouth Fury: Conclusion

The Plymouth Fury went through more than the standard evolution most car models go through. What began as a humble sedan had a few years as a wild child muscle car, then decided it needed to get a bit sensible, get a desk job and throw tupperware parties at the weekend. 

Despite this, the Fury always remained a collector car that packs a punch, proving this by offering a huge range of V8 options from the very beginning, with each model having more than a few ponies under the hood. I don’t know about you, but I’m particularly fond of its wild child years…

Image credit goes to Shawn Marchlenski, Nick Axford, James Gardner, Josh Turner, Sam Godfrey, Colin Bainbridge, Mark Simon and Sam Hill. 

Author: Niamh Smith

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