This picture, which captures what have got to be the shabbiest classics in Washington, also shows two extremes of post-Exner Plymouth sedan evolution, with a very small, tidily styled Valiant parked in front of a rather flabby Fury. I’ve never been a big fan of the Exner’s cars, but both the lean look of the cars which followed and the optimism of the Fuselage cars are hugely appealing.
One could be forgiven for not thinking the same given the sorry state of this pair, both of which are wearing the wrong front ends (the Valiant is wearing a ’66 Dart’s front clip, and the Fury’s 1973 revision is just wrong).
The Fury’s rear bumper shows Chrysler’s backpedaling from the casual, sporty style with which the car was introduced in 1969, but still manages to match the overall curvy shape. The Valiant’s rear, however, has aged much more gracefully.
Posting the likes of the Valiant makes perfect sense during Volvo Week, as it embodies many of the same virtues which made the functional Swedes so well loved, and the Fury completes relief offered by these two (after all, we’re not quite finished with our Gothenburg tribute).
A rainy day didn’t stop Eric Clem from snapping these pictures, and a glimpse inside the cars shows the extent of their neglect. I know rust isn’t a problem in the Pacific Northwest, but I have to imagine mold is a different story.
Add to this improperly closed windows on the Fury hardtop (which looks good with its white vinyl over red color scheme and front vent windows), and I’m sure the interior of neither car smells especially good.
It’s a strange turn of events for these two high trim level Plymouths, but it’s nice they’re still around forty and fifty years after they were built. The Fury’s badging in particular tells a good story, with its self-consciously ornate “Gran” insignia in stark contrast with the “Fury” written in jaunty script. The dynamic large sedan’s image was increasingly muddled by conservative decoration and the next year’s models would complete the stylistic transformation.
Fury is a great name which I hope Chrysler LLC revives sometime, but as we’re lucky enough to have Charger around, I won’t hold my breath.
Valiant is another name too good to throw away; it’d make a better name than 200 or Avenger for one of the company’s midsizers, but it too may be lost. Best, then, to appreciate these badges–and the cars they’re attached to–while they’re still around.