The C-body Plymouth Fury, 1955-1974
The Plymouth Fury started out as the brand’s proof of what it could do, an action that boosted sales but would come back to haunt and possibly even kill Plymouth itself. The development story of the Plymouth Fury was a fascinating tale of intrigue, revenge, and betrayal.
The Fury was a favorite of many police forces, adopted by the tough New York Police Department; the story goes that the city’s Ford squads failed to stay together during a drug chase, immortalized in The French Connection, while a single detective in his personal Plymouth was able to catch the bandit because his car could take the pounding.
The Fury also set a record: Joseph Vaillancourt's 1963 Plymouth Fury, driven as a cab since the mid-1960s, reached 2,609,698 km (over 1.6 million miles), when it was struck and totalled by a truck. Vaillancourt was unhurt, and a Quebec actor, Michel Barette (who drove a Prowler at the time), spent roughly $20,000 to restore the Fury, the highest mileage car in North America.
Christine, the famous Plymouth Fury written about by Steven King, was able to not only fix itself, but also to take revenge upon those who hurt it.
The Beginning: 1956
Introduced in 1956 with a 303 V8, the Fury had sharply peaked tail fins, a Cadillac-like logo, and typical 1950s styling. Curtis Redgap wrote about the introduction of the FX Fury at the February Speed Weeks in Daytona:
As expected the big 1956 Chrysler 300B blew everything else off the beach, including the stock models of the Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Thunderbird. It set a two way record of 139.373 miles an hour. ... Then the driver, Mr. Phil Walters, took the Fury slowly down to the start of the timing lane. ... It was screaming over the sand so fast, that to look at it was almost like a distorted picture. You couldn't quite focus fully on it. It was moving like the wind! ... 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 timers acted like they were in slow motion. Finally ... the numbers rolled over. ... 143.596 miles an hour! The fastest Plymouth ever built in history. And even faster than the 300B.
... Then the big Fury started back. ... About 1/2 way through the run up, approaching the timing lane, the engine started to die. ... It broke the timer at 129.119 miles an hour. ... A defective fuel cap had caused a vacuum in the fuel tank and starved the engine for gas. The next day, with a new cap, and of course without NASCAR sanctioning, the big Fury roared through the timer on a third run at 147.236 miles an hour. On the return trip, it broke the lights at 149.124 miles an hour!
In 1958, the model year used in the movie Christine, a 350 V-8 (not the GM version) was made available on the Fury, for the first and only year. Every Fury was beige and gold, as shown below, not the red shown in the movie (Fury started out white and gold; in 1957 was light beige and gold; and in 1958 a darker beige and gold. Thanks, Vic Roberts.)
A 1958 Motor Trend test showed the Plymouth Fury zipping to a 7.7 second run, followed by the Chevrolet Impala in 9.1 seconds, with Ford’s Fairlane 500 bringing up the rear in 10.2 seconds
1959 brought immense tail fins and a "tire bulge" on the trunk lid. The Sport Fury, a luxury/performance model, debuted this year. James C. Tessin (1959 Sport Fury with 361 Golden Commando) said it was the first year of the beefed up transmission, to handle the torque of high performance engines, and the last year of the 361.
1960-64: The Fury's character change (second generation)
The Fury was no longer a high performance sports sedan, but a whole line of top-line Plymouths. Sport Fury took up the Fury performance banner.
In 1960, Chrysler introduced the Ram Induction system of tuned intake cross-over manifolds, which increased low end torque for drag racing but reduced high end torque (James C. Tessin); more important, it moved to unit-body construction for greater rigidity and better cornering. The original 318 and 383 were available (not related to the later 318 and 383), along with a 261 and the brand-new slant six, producing 145 hp at 4000 rpm. The 383 produced 330 hp.
1961 brought the 375 hp 413 to the Fury. The grille turned into a "frowning face," with rather unusual styling; and the fins dropped off completely, leading to a clean, futuristic rear.
This was the year of the "alternator test" - when Chrysler introduced the first alternator, it dramatized the event by driving a Fury from Detroit to Chicago, sans battery!
In 1962, the Fury gained yet another body style, with a cleaner, less styled front end, accentuated lines, and a limited edition turbo. According to Plymouth, it could "fly to 60 mph in 8.5 secs. with the optional 305-hp Golden Commando" engine. The Sport Fury returned with a special interior featuring bucket seats and console, a partially blacked-out grille, and two extra taillights. Later, all Furys received a belt moulding spear that ran unbroken from the front of the car to the rear. The flush C-pillar and slab side drew the eye to the vertical plane, not the horizontal, thus making an already smaller car look stubby. The spear visually lenthened the car.
Perhaps most important, it gained Plymouth's first fully unitized body/chassis. The bolted-on subframe introduced on the 1960 unitized car was eliminated. The change helped the new Plymouth shed 200 pounds in weight and maintain as much interior room as the 1961 even though exterior demensions were reduced.
Aiding the increase of interior space was a new Torqueflite transmission. With an aluminum case, it was 60 pounds lighter than its cast iron predecessor. And it was smaller, making possible a lower transmission hump. The old two-speed Powerflite was now history. For the manual transmission there was a new tubular linkage, concentric with the steering column. Engines were the slant six, two and four barrel 318s, and a four-barrel 361; the 383 was dropped but a short-ram 413 was added midyear. Canada received only the slant-six and 313.
Other unique features included self-adjusting brakes, foot pedal operated rear drum parking brakes, lube-sealed 32,000 mile suspension fittings, printed circuit dash wiring, and the "Hamtramck Hummingbird," a new reduction gear starting motor that would come to signal by sound alone the starting of any Chrysler product on any parking lot anywhere.
In 1963, the engines were the 318, 361, 383. A new 5 year or 50,000 mile warranty was introudced, along with a new, very clean grille and rear.
1964 was basically a carry-over year. The Fury had grown to over $3,000, quite a bit for that time. For racers, there was a new option: the 426 Wedge "Super Stock," with 415 or 425 hp and compression ratios of 11:1 or 13.5:1.
Plymouth designer/stylist John Samsen wrote, "At the time we designed these cars [1964 to 1966 Fury and Belvedere], the guidance from Sales was to make the cars look as wide as possible, front and rear. Quad lamps were mandated on all but the A body cars at that time. Being smaller than standard lamps, they were easier to fit into the grilles.”
1965: Fury weight and model proliferation (third generation)
1965 brought more new names: Fury I, Fury II, and Fury III. The grille lost some chrome but gained character and vertically stacked, round headlamps.
All new Furys got a new 119" wheelbase (121" for the wagons) - one inch more than before. The 426 "Street Wedge" was introduced, rated at 385 hp but finally street-legal. (Wedge info: Dave Hench)
L. J. Kalfayan wrote: The numerical Fury nomenclature (I, II, III) was first used on the 1965 models, along with Sport Fury, joined in the 1966 model year by "VIP." In 1964, full-size Plymouths were the Savoy, Belvedere, Fury, and Sport Fury. The 1964 "full-size" models were used as the basis for the 1965 "mid-size" models, which were then designated Belvedere I, Belvedere II, and Satellite, at which time the 1965 Furys used a larger body, which I believe was shared with the Dodge Polara/Monaco/Custom 880, and Chrysler Newport.
Paul Conomos wrote:
1965 is the year that the Fury became a "C" (full size) body. 1965 and 1966 Furys share sheet metal, but have different trim. I have a 1966 Plymouth VIP, with a 383, headers, cam, aluminum intake, etc. The VIP is a member of the Sport Fury family. The VIP has wood colored inlays on the side trim. All other members of the Sport Fury family have body color inlay on the side trim.
Dave Planer wrote that the 1965 Fury could have five engine setups: the 225 slant six, 318, 383 (with 2 and 4 barrel carbs), and the 426 Wedge.
1966 (by Lanny Knutson; reprinted from the Plymouth Bulletin)
Up front, the 1965's fine mesh grille was replaced by horizontal bars set within frames that gave a split grille effect. In back, the taillights were moved to the upper edge of the trunk, set within stamped panels that somewhat imitated the new split grille. On the Sport Fury and Fury III, the remainder of the panel was filled with brushed aluminum material; lower cars just had a painted stamped panel there. The upper edge of the bumper featured widely spaced "P-L-Y-M-O-U-T-H" letters. These changes resulted in a .4-inch increase in length and a .7-inch increase in width to 209.8 and 78.7 inches.
Inside, the bottom edge of the speedometer was given a curve, and a new console in the bucket seat Sport Fury replaced the one introduced in 1964. The console sprouted a new automatic transmission lever with a reverse lockout button on the top. The desire for a reverse lockout on the four-speed manual cars led to the mighty Hurst shifter being replaced by a willowy Inland unit, a step backwards in the opinion of the enthusiasts.
Also new for '66 was an optional telescoping tilt steering-wheel, thin shell bucket seats, and four-passenger seat belts with optional front shoulder belts. In another safety inspired move, the previous years' door handles were replaced by handles mounted at the front edge of the armrests where they looked like the seatbelt latches. This feature, which would remain on Chrysler cars for years to come, reduced the chance of a door accidentally opening if the handle was caught on clothing or used as a hand grip.
In response to the success of Ford's 1965 LTD, a luxury sedan in the "low-priced" field, Plymouth offered the VIP. Would people pay the price of a Chrysler to buy a "gussied-up" Plymouth? They hoped so, offering a car featuring exterior refinements such as an optional vinyl roof (virtually standard since most VIPs came with it), fluted aluminum taillight panels, wood grained inserts in the side trim, rubber bumper strips and special colors and medallions. Inside, luxury was found in deep pile carpet and special tufted block pleated upholstery on seats featuring fold-down armrests. Standard features included a padded dash, individually switched reading lamps on the inside C-pillars, seat edge courtesy lights, plastic walnut grain trim, and special medallions. Originally just a four-door hardtop, the VIP line was, on January 1, extended to a 2-door hardtop.
Like the Sport Fury, the VIP came with a V8 engine, a 318 with the larger sizes optional. Unfortunately, the VIP did not match the success of the LTD, and it was dropped during the 1969 model year.
The biggest underhood news was the introduction of a 440 cubic inch engine bearing 10:1 compression, dual exhaust and a single four barrel carburetor featuring a dual snorkel air cleaner to put out 365 horsepower.
Emergency four-way flashers were introduced two years before they became mandatory, and fender-tip external turn signal indicators were advertised as safety features.
As in 1958, Plymouth put out a Silver Special for the spring of 1966. The Fury II four-door sedan, painted solid silver metallic with an exclusive blue upholstery, came with wheelcovers, whitewalls and bright window mouldings.
Spring specials usually indicate slow sales. Plymouth's sales were a bit off this year, a 5.7% drop that could be expected, given the resounding successful year of 1965. However, Chevrolet and Rambler losses led to an increase of Plymouth's industry market share. In December 1965, the 14 millionth Plymouth, a Sport Fury hardtop, was produced.
In 1967, another restyling made the Furys appear quite large, although the chassis was mostly unchanged. Plymouth used the size as a selling point in their ads.
They retained the stacked headlights and quartered grille styling from 1965 and 1966, but shared no body panels with the previous two years. Available engines were the 225 slant six, non-poly 318 (first year for this engine), 2 barrel 383 Commando, 4 barrel Super Commando 383, or the 4 barrel Super Commando 440. A sort of "Coke bottle" styling was featured, which included a dip in the body reveal line below the rear quarter windows, and a separate dip (not connected to the reveal line) beneath the front vent windows.
In 1968, the Fury gained a new rear end look, somewhat similar to other '68 Plymouths in that there was a predominantly horizontal rectangle theme. The grille was now horizontally split, with the lower half a body color metal mesh. Another minor styling difference from the prior year was a new separate dip in the body line beneath the rear quarter windows, which mirrored the dip beneath the front vent windows.
A new body style was offered for the Fury III, the "Fast Top", which was a two door semi-fastback hardtop previously only available as a VIP or a Sport Fury. Available engines were the 225 slant six, 318, 383 Commando (2 barrel), 383 Super Commando (4 barrel and "special cam" per the dealer brochure), or the 4-barrel Super Commando 440. Transmissions were 3 speed manual, four speed manual, and 3 speed Torqueflite automatic. Between the feature options (VIP, Fury I, Fury II, Fury III, and Suburban) and the body styles (2 door Fast Top, 2 door hardtop, 2 door sedan, four door hardtop, four door sedan, convertible, and wagon), Furys were available in 27 configurations. The rarest option for 1968 Furys was the four speed manual transmission with floor-mounted shifter, with only 0.2 percent of the run being so equipped.
|Wheelbase (exc. wagon)||119|
1969 to 1972: Uncluttered, restyled Plymouth Fury (fourth generation)
In 1969, Plymouth claimed to have a "completely new Fury." The wheelbase was 120 inches, 1.5 inches longer than in 1968, and there was more shoulder room in both front and rear.
Concealed windshield wipers and more curves in the glass helped the shape to be less boxy. 15 inch wheels where standard, and air conditioned two-door hardtops had ventless side windows (other models had vents).
A split bench front seat (with reclining passenger seat) was available on some models, as well as a new electric seat adjuster that allowed an extra inch of head room (the redesign, not the adjuster itself). Ragtops had improved header controls for easier release and securing of the top, and the rear seat was widened to nearly 60 inches.
There were 60 Fury models, including: (source: Automotive Industries, 9/15/68)
Fury Model Engine and Body Options Fury I Six and V-8, two and four door sedan Fury II Six and V-8, two door and four door sedan Fury III 6 and V-8 2 door hardtop, 4 door sedan, convertible V-8, 4-door hardtop V-8 Sport Fury two-door hardtop and convertible V-8 VIP V-8, two-door and four-door hardtop Suburban Six and V-8, two-seat station wagon Sport Suburban V-8 two- and three-seat wagons Custom Suburban V-8 two- and three- seat wagons
1970-71 text and illustrations courtesy of Rob Robinson
For 1970 the Fury continued “fuselage” styling, adding a wrap-around front bumper (with concealed headlamps on the top models). The VIP was dropped, and the S-23 and Sport Fury GT were added to the lineup. The slant six was standard equipment on the Fury I, II, and III; top engine choice was the 440, except on the S-23 and two door Sport Fury. The biggest available motor for the S-23 was the 383 four-barrel.
The S-23 and Sport Fury GT came with road wheels and a strobe stripe; the GT came standard with the 350-horse 440 and H-70x15 Polyglas Goodyears, HD suspension and brakes and Challenger–like chrome exhaust tips. A GT option, which was rarely chosen, was the 440 six barrel 390 horsepower engine. Later on, a paisley topped Fury II-based Gran Coupe was launched.
This year, the Sport Fury GT was an exclusive member of the newly formed “Rapid Transit System.”
1971 brought minor changes to the Fury line. The S-23 and convertibles were dropped; a Fury I-based Fury Custom with a V-8 was added, and the GT was changed from an option status to a separate model. Engine choices were essentially the same as 1970, with the addition of the 360 to bridge the gap between the 318 and 383. The paisley inspired Gran Coupe was offered for most of 1971, and had many standard features including headlight washers with wipers and the new 360 motor.
|1971 Engine||225||318||360||383 2V||383 4V||440||440||440|
|Gross Torque (lb-ft)||215||320||360||375||410||460||480|
|Net Torque (lb-ft)||185||260||295||305||325||350||380||400|
This year the 440+6 was advertised for the GT, but it was discontinued before any were produced. Most 1971 GTs were built with the HiPo 440 (370 horsepower) engine, save for a couple of non-conformist 335-horse cars. The GT donned larger strobe stripes and GT lettering on the hood and rear quarters. Chrome exhaust tips were gone, road wheels were optional, but six long upper fender appliqués were included when the light package was ordered. Remaining a member in good standing of the Rapid Transit System, the Sport Fury GT was dubbed “An Executive’s Supercar.”
The police version ornamentation group, A-82, included Fury II badges, Fury III side mouldings, wheel covers, and whitewalls; the pictured car also had rubber mats, a solenoid trunk release, and a Leece-Neville 65 amp alternator on its ‘T’ code 440. Curtis Redgap pointed out,
We had some 1971 Plymouth Fury I patrol units that had gotten 360 V-8s instead of the 440. Instead of turning them back, we tried one of them out, and kept the lot! They ran very well! These were equipped with a four barrel carb and dual exhausts and performed close to the 440. I have never been able to find a publication that lists this engine, nevertheless, we had twelve of them. Perhaps an experiment. Plymouth again beat Dodge by offering the police package in the "A38" group. It could be had on any model car, not just the base cars. Gave the Chiefs, Detectives, and the higher ranks a plusher ride, but it was still a cop car.
1972 Fury: “standard size”
The Gran Fury debuted in 1972, along with the 400 cid V-8 (a bored 383); the base engine remained the 318 V8, with no sixes available, and all engines took regular gas. The 426 Hemi option ended in 1971. Upper models were Fury Gran Sedan and Fury Gran Coupe; these were available as a two-door or four-door hardtop, and as a two-door "formal" hardtop. Fury I, II, and III were four door sedans only. Suburban, Custom Suburban, and Sport Suburban were sold as two or three seat wagons, and gained two options: auto-lock tailgate and full cargo compartment carpeting.
The front end was transformed, with the single blackened grille areas separated and framed now by chrome; the word "Fury"sat between them.
While the Fury and similar Dodge Monaco shared a roof and had similar front fenders, they had different grilles and sheet metal. The Fury kept Chrysler-like fuselage styling, and the Polara was had more defined creases. The Monaco gained covered headlights around 1971, which the Fury and its Chrysler versions never had; while the Fury gained new low-beam headlamps with better visibility, and brighter backup lights with a larger light pattern.
The wheelbase was 120 inches, width 80 inches, height 55 inches. Track was 62 inches front, 63.4 rear. Tires ranged from F78 to L84, all on 15 inch wheels, and all bias plies.
|(inches; 1972 Plymouth sedans)||Fury||Satellite||Valiant|
|Trunk (cubic feet)||20.4||16.5||14|
|Fuel||23 gallons||21 gallons||16 gallons|
|Seat height (f/r)||9.2 / 11.6||8.6 / 11.3||8.6 / 11.1|
|Turning Circle||42 feet||40.8 feet||38.3 feet|
Electronic ignition was optional on the 360, 400, and 440 engines. There was also a better ignition lock, an inside hood release, rubber isolated wiper bushings (to reduce noise), lower cranking effort and better sealing on two-door car windows, and new roof-rail weatherstripping. Radio reception was improved, with a solid antenna replacing the telescoping one.
Bore x Stroke
3.40 x 4.12
110 @ 4000
185 @ 2000
8.4 to 1
3.91 x 3.31
155 @ 4000
260 @ 1600
8.6 to 1
4.00 x 3.58
175 @ 4000
285 @ 2400
8.7 to 1
4.34 x 3.38
190 @ 4400
310 @ 2400
8.2 to 1
4.32 x 3.75
225 @ 4400
345 @ 3200
8.2 to 1
* Chrysler listed the slant six and 360 as being available on 1972 Plymouth Fury models. This was likely an error though slant six engines may have been available to fleet buyers.
Emissions were reduced with exhaust gas recirculation, vapor saver improvements, an evaporation control system and charcoal canister filtering, pressure vacuum filler caps, and lower compression ratios to deal with lower gas octane ratings.
Washers and wipers were given more distinctive switches to help drivers locate them by feel; the seat belts were changed for easier use, to a new single-buckle three-point locking system.
1973 Plymouth Fury (courtesy Lanny Knutson): new platform
(See 1973 Plymouth Fury. This is just a summary.)
In 1973, the Fury was redesigned, moving to the new C-body. The new body, an expensive investment for a cash-limited, overstretched Chrysler Corporation, arrived in a year which was to be known for the first gasoline shortage to hit the United States since World War II. The Fury, unfortunately, was styled to look even larger than in past years.
For the first time in five years, hidden headlights were not an option; but each quad light had its own bright bezel in a body color panel. To add character to the plainer front end, a prominent wide arrow-shaped raised center section was stamped into the hood. The taillights were changed to vertical elongated teardrop-shaped units arising out of the bumper corners. A rectangular backup light resided in the upper center of a massive chromed bumper, and the word "Plymouth" appeared in the center of the rear bumper.
Front vent windows now optional, on four-door sedans only. New on the option list was a security alarm system. Steel beams were now installed in the doors for side-impact safety, and Federally mandated bumpers were used.
As in 1972, the Fury was a V8-only series. The 318 was standard on all models except the Sport Suburban in which the 360 was standard. Other engines available were the 400 2 barrel and 440 4 barrel. The two-barrel 360, while smaller, lighter, and less fuel-hungry than the 400, managed to have just 15 fewer horsepower and 25 fewer pound-feet of torque than the two-barrel 400, thanks in part to its higher compression.
The Fury I was limited to a single four-door sedan. Fury II had only the sedan and the Suburban wagon. The largest line was the Fury III with the sedan, hardtop coupe and sedan, and two and three-seat Custom Suburban wagons. The Gran Fury came as a hardtop coupe and sedan as well as two Sport Suburbans. The Fury Special was a striking mid-year trim package.
In 1973 and perhaps before and after, there was apparently an “Aspen” package, mainly a hood ornament, powder-blue color, decal set, and trunk rack. More information on this would be appreciated.
For 1974, the big C-bodies were brand new — at least, if “brand new” is counted as including the same basic architecture as every prior Chrysler for many years. Chrysler Corporation had invested a huge amount in the re-engineering Fury, Monaco, and the Chrysler brand lineup, making them quieter and smoother without losing their handling; but these “C-bodies” came out at just the wrong time. Fuel crises meant that those who could find gas had to pay high prices for it, and sales were dismal. Many said, with hindsight, that Chrysler would have done much better by investing in a new generation of A-bodies — but traditionally, the A-bodies broke even or made a small profit, while the B and C bodies reaped the profits.
The Plymouth Fury’s wheelbase grew from 120” in 1973 to 121.5”; at the same time, Dodge Monaco dropped half an inch of wheelbase to join Fury, just as Valiant and Dart were now sharing the same wheelbase. The move presumably cut costs as Chrysler was having cash-flow issues. (Wagons had a 124” wheelbase.) The standard engine was now the two-barrel 360, on all models from Fury I to Fury Gran Coupe, and the Suburban wagons; the 400 and 440 (each with single-four-barrel carburetor) were optional across the board, except on wagons, which could not get the 400. The Fury/Suburban line was the only one at Plymouth, to get the two-barrel 360 or single-carb 440 engines. (The dual-carb was available on Road Runner, four-barrel 360s were on sporty cars, and 400 was shared with Satellite). [Note: Plymouth reported the Fury’s wheelbase as 122” on all models in a 1974 brochure, which is likely 121.5 rounded up. The Standard Catalog of Chrysler claims that the 1974 Fury I and II had a 120” wheelbase but this appears to be an error; the Plymouth borchure clearly says, 122” on all models except wagons.
New for 1974 was a collapsible steering column, side door impact beams, a new hydraulic impact-absorbing bumper system, a coolant reserve system (that avoided having antifreeze splashing onto the roads, and made it easier to check coolant levels), and the infamous 1974-only starter interlock that required seat belts to be fastened before the car would start (a savvy owner could unplug the connector, conveniently mounted under the driver’s seat). The fuse box now swung down from the dash for easier access, and a tilt - telescope steering column was made available. A larger, molded dash panel liner covered more than three times the area of past liners, cutting back on noise. The 1974 Furys also had strategically placed sound deadeners, foam seals, silencer pads, and vibration absorbers; and the Torsion-Quiet suspension modifications. Still, sales fell; Chrysler went from selling nearly a million Plymouths in 1973 to around 750,000 in 1974, and then under half a million in 1975. Dodge fell with the same pattern.
1974 Plymouth Fury options included numerous radios (including AM, FM Multiplex, and four-speaker stereo eight-track); air conditioning with automatic temperature control (air flow was increased by 65%); sun roof; cruise; and electric locks and seat adjusters. Chrysler made its own clocks in Huntsville — certified digital chronometers, as opposed to the inaccurate timepieces in competing vehicles.
Fury I was a four-door sedan only. Fury II added a two-door hardtop, and Fury III had both plus a four-door hardop. The Gran series included a two-door or four-door hardtop. Suburban wagons came in standard, Custom, and Sport forms; Custom and Sport were avialable with two or three seats, the base model with just two.
1975-1989 Plymouth Fury
In 1975, the Plymouth Fury moved to the smaller, but still quite large, B-body platform; in essence, the Belvedere was renamed “Fury” and restyled to match that name’s grandeur. The Gran Fury remained on the new-for-’74 C-body platform, at least until its end in 1977.
The Fury made a brief switch to the R-body platform — essentially a worked-over B — and then to the M-body platform, with the name ending in 1989. The 1975-1989 Plymouth Fury line, including the C-body Gran Fury, are on Allpar at this link.
The Fury was one of the best-loved (by patrolmen) police cars of all time, though it was the later B-body, R-body, and M-body cars that were immortalized on TV as the “typical squad car.” The New York City police department standardized on Plymouths after the real-life chase that was portrayed in The French Connection, where the detective's own car stayed in one piece while the criminal's disintegrated, so the Fury became ubiquitous in the city...until the Gran Fury and Diplomat replaced it.
Not until the 1990s did GM and Ford take over, and even then, the NYPD waited as long as it could - along with thousands of taxi drivers. (New York also held onto the Caprice as long as it could, finally giving in to the Crown Victoria before trying to go back to the Chevy Impala; we're waiting to see if New York returns to Chrysler with the Dodge Charger.)
Curtis Redgap wrote:
The New York Police Department always got police packages for their cars once they were made available by the manufacturers. The department is divided into two separate groups: a neighborhood patrol and a highway patrol, whose vehicles are all equipped with the pursuit packages.
In the neighborhood division, they got the 225 cubic inch slant six. At that time, the 6 was equipped for police work with dual camshaft drive chains, an extra oil ring on the pistions, dual engine mount rings, and a larger drive for the oil pump.
The highway patrol usually got a 383 cubic inch 4 barrel, dual exhaust equipped V-8, suitable for extended police work.
The 1968 models were 2 and 4 door Fury I. 1968 was the last year for 2 door sedans in the police packages. The major differences were the engines. Otherwise, the pursuit paks were identical. NYPD stayed with MoPar for years, since Chrysler HQ was in the city.
Virtually all the cars from the 1965 models to the 1976 models were about the same specs, except after 1973, the slant six was not available in the big bodied cars. In 1974, the 360 ci V-8 with a 2 barrel carb was standard. The 383 became the 400.
NYPD did not really make use of high performance vehicles, so they never really became a great requirement for them. Reliability and economy were the main considerations. Equipment wise, the Plymouths were made with the black vinyl interior, rubber floor mats, radio delete, TorqueFlite, SureGrip 3.21 rear axles, power steering and power brakes. A driver mounted spot light was standard. Special equipment was put on by the special services division at the city garage.
Plymouth Fury Links
- 1975-1989 Plymouth Fury
- 1960 Fury
- 1962 Sport Fury details / review and the Fury Super Stock Coupe
- 1965 Plymouth Fury
- 1967 Plymouth Fury
- 1973 Plymouth Fury details
- 1980-81 Gran Fury development details
- 1982-89 Gran Fury in detail
- The Dodge Diplomat/Plymouth Gran Fury squad car
- Plymouth Fury stories
- Plymouth Fury forums
- Pete Hagenbuch has reviewed two very good Plymouth Fury models
Plymouth Fury engines
Most information was garnered from The Monstrous American Car Spotter's Guide. Thanks to Andy Garland and Ken Soukup for their help, to Jim Jacobsen of Maine for rewriting (with substantial additions) the 1967 and 1968 sections, and to Thomas Frogh for 1970s corrections.