(first posted 8/6/2012) Every once in a while, I ponder upon what things in the past were like. This 1960 Plymouth definitely falls into that category.
At the time I found this car, I had been encountering a string of vehicles that could be better described as Fence Row Classic instead of Curbside Classic. This Plymouth also made me stop and consider whether or not sharing the best of the intact (but not drivable) vehicles I found ran counter to the intent of Curbside Classic.
Heck no, I decided. This beast is simply too rare to keep in anonymity. Plymouth only made 5,503 of these two-door wagons for 1960. Oddly enough, it wasn’t the least-produced Plymouth wagon for that model year; both the Suburban Sport six- and nine-passenger wagons were produced in smaller quantities. How small? Try a mere 4,253 for the nine-passenger, and only 3,333 for the six-passenger.
Despite a strong visual relationship to the 1957 to 1959 models, Plymouth was all new for 1960 (as were Dodge, DeSoto, and Chrysler), right down to the “stabilizer” tail fins and the newly-available 225-cu in (3.7-liter) slant six. Laurence Jones did an excellent job of outlining Chrysler’s conversion to unibody construction here.
Let’s see what one looks like from behind:
Plymouth offered wagons in three trim levels for 1960: the low priced Savoy, the mid-range Belvedere and the high-end Fury. The Deluxe, seen here, was based on the Savoy and was the only trim level to offer a two-door wagon.
According to one source, Plymouth had a “Fleet Special” series for 1960; For production counts, these fell into the Savoy or Deluxe series. This made me wonder….doing a Google search for “1960 Plymouth Wagon” revealed all of two wagons similar to this (both seen in this article), but many Suburbans. So despite the lower production, the high-level wagons can still be found. I wonder how many of these two-door Deluxe wagons were dumped into fleets and used up, thus making them so scarce today.
While I have had this Plymouth as a smattering of electrons for a short while, it is good to know they are now able to spread their wings and be seen. It does seem to salve the misfortune of the original being banished to a field beside the highway.
Related: The Short and Odd Life of the Two Door Station Wagon PN
I’m a little biased in that I am attracted to junk obviously, but I see this site being “about the cars” primarily; “Condition” being secondary. Chances are, you won’t see one of these on the street so if seeing it in a field or a junkyard is the only way to see it, so be it. I personally find these scenes quite picturesque anyway.
I stumbled across a ’64 Dodge Wagon in the local scrapyard a few weeks ago…a vehicle I did not know even existed. I took camera-phone pictures of it & it was in similar, if not worse condition…But it was just so interesting… Probably not worth junking up the Cohort for though.
If I had time or the brains, I’d love to crank out a similar site/blog capturing my weekly scrapyard discoveries… something like Junkyardlife…but that’ll never happen.
perhaps another catagory could be added to the Curbside Classics roster…
CC Retirees…interesting cars in junkyards or found abandoned behind barns and such!
I love junkyards and the monuments they contain, this Plymouth if found here would get revived.
Dinosaurs…may they all rust in peace…
Man, how I miss Plymouth – AND the “Fury” name!
True confession: this is my current lust object. Actually, it has been since I used one for the lead picture in my two-door wagon article a little while back: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/automotive-histories/automotive-history-the-short-and-odd-life-of-the-two-door-station-wagon/
I’ll take one with a very slightly-warmed over 2 barrel slant six, and three-speed manual with overdrive. And with about or slightly less patina than this one. A perfect work wagon, and a very unique one at that. Love it.
It’s on Route 87, just south of Glasgow, Missouri….as if you are seeking more time consuming projects!
Hey Jason, I look at this article all the time in my search for a 2 door 1960 Ply wagon. Was this car for sale or just a yard fixture? Might be worth a road trip with a trailer. Thanks.
Mein Gott, daß ist sehr schön.
I love these too. If there was ever a body style that made the lines of the 1960 Plymouth look good (please note the “if”) it would be the wagon, either 2 or 4 door.
It is unfortunate that those strange arches that start behind the front wheels and resolve over the headlights had to ruin both the 60 and 61 Plymouths, cars that were otherwise not bad looking.
Paul, while you are looking for your slant 6/3 speed, let me know if you come across a V8/pushbutton version.
Those arches are a serious turn off for me as well. They just don’t make sense.
Those arches mirror the rear fins; wouldn’t be right without them.
Jim, I’m not sure I’d pass on a V8/auto either…sorry. 🙂
I don’t know, Paul; it could work. Take the brow over the headlights and fade it out into the fender top chrome strip?
The arches make it look like there is another car peeking out from under the sheetmetal, emphasised on this car by the different color
The beauty of used cars is that “those unfortunate strange arches” don’t cost any more. My ’60 Fury 4-dr hardtop came with them, a 318, and a pushbutton Torqueflite, all for $300. The car was only seven years old but in the late ’60s that meant it was just about ready for the junk heap. I bought it with 65,000 mi (104,000 k) on the clock and put another 65,000 on it in the next four years. By that time the body had rotted out, but the 318 ran fine (some blowby, maybe a lot of blowby) and I could still bang shifts. Not bad for $300.
Agree on the assessment of the front wheel arches on the ’60, but because of the outlandish front end of the ’61 (which I actually like), they don’t seem nearly as bad.
That’s why I’d rather have a ’61 station wagon than the ’60, but can’t disparage anyone who took on the earlier car as a project for a daily-driver, pretty much as Paul described it with a slant-six/manual 3-speed combo (but a V8/pushbutton would still be pretty groovy, too). It is worth noting that a slant-six would be period correct: it was the first year it was used as a replacement for the old flathead six.
I really wish someone would write the definitive history of who actually directed the styling of the ’59 – ’61 Plymouths (and other Mopars). Exner had a heart attack in ’57 and was out of the office for many months. Bill Schmidt, formerly of Packard, was brought in to manage things, and he brought some of his old crew, including Dick Teague. When Exner returned, there was a battle for control which Exner finally won.
But while all this was happening, these cars were being finalized. There are parts of the ’59 and ’60 that feel much heavier than Exner’s earlier designs, and not unlike some of the work Schmidt & his team were doing at Packard, while other parts – like the wheel cutouts have an Exner flair. A true Frankencar? There are reports that one of the two would order something done & the other would counter it. I’m pretty confident the ’61 was an Exner-directed design, at his most extreme.
The Exner bio published a few years ago hints at all this, as do some blog posts and Michael Lamm & Dave Holl’s book, but it’s all murky, and likely lost to history as most if not all of the players are no longer with us.
I think you answered your own question. When Exner went out of action for health reasons, his replacements were in kind of a bind. The hokey “Suddenly, it’s 1960!” ad campaign for the wildly successful (then badly quality -challenged) 1957 cars pretty much locked in fins through 1960, especially since GM briefly did the fin thing through the same time frame. If Exner hadn’t gotten ill, he might have been able to get another jump on GM by moving up the 1961 cars to 1959. They surely would have done much better than when they had to go up against the superbly redesigned GM cars for ’61.
Likewise, when Exner came back, the ensuing power struggle affected styling. Exner may have eventually won out, but the 1961 and 62 disaster cars (which, sadly, wasn’t his fault but he got the blame) forced his ouster. Exner still had great styling instincts as can be seen by the super clean 1963 Valiant, which was almost completely Exner, although his replacement, Elwood Engel from Ford, got all the credit for it.
Yeah, the broad strokes are there but not the details. Good point about keeping the fins for ’60 given the ad campaign, but overall the body design was likely kept similar to make the transition to unibody smoother.
Sadly, the result was a heavier looking car, especially the 4 door sedans, which lost the lighter 6-window look of the ’57-’59s. Exner seemed to have a thing for heavier roofs, all the way back to the ’55s, and those were a pleasant exception.
I don’t think Chrysler would have gone on another 2 year cycle, even if they weren’t going to unibody, given the speed up was the root of the ’57s quality problems. But if they’d just used the front clip from the ’58 Cabana concept for the ’60 Plymouth, it would have been a much better, and more contemporary look.
God I love these! Growing up my family had not one, but two 60 Plymouth suburbans .
For a short while we had them both at the same time.
The kicker is that both of them were also the same copper over white color combo as this one…the default color for Plymouth wagons that year?
I think the fins really fit the wagons much better than the sedans.
The two door Mopar wagons are a rare sight indeed. In my lifetime, I’ve only seen one – a ’55 Plaza wagon . . . . six and three on the tree. At a second tier, mom and pop used car lot when I was about 15 . . . .
If anyone is out Point Loma way and drives on out to the sub-base/training center, right before the gate is an apartment building and sitting idle in the driveway (and has been ever since I can remember whenever I’m in the San Diego area) is a straight bodied ’60 Fury hardtop. white over gold with the contrasting white in the fender cove. I know it hasn’t moved from it’s spot since at least 2006 . . . .
I was there a couple of years ago, and I think I remember seeing it!
FWIW, the ‘Wagon Queen Family Truckster’ from the original ‘Vacation’ movie was actually a 1958 Plymouth Sport Suburban Six (not too far off from this feature vehicle).
Without junkers I would be in deep Kimchi. Just drove by a junkyard with multiple cars in not much worse condition than that today. Obviously had to stop and snap. I like this one pretty well anyway. Plymouth should still be here.
I spotted a New Yorker wagon of this vintage, on the 405 of all places, last Friday on my way home. Looked nice from the rear, but in the traffic I couldn’t catch up with it and get a photo (not that I should be trying to take cellphone photos on the 405 anyway).
A friend had a Corgi of one of these (or close to it); it was always one of my favorites.
The ’60-’61 Plymouth is one of the few two-door wagons that follows the design philosophy seen in a variety of four-door wagons, from Rambler to Volvo to Saturn, of using what appears to be a sedan roofline with the wagon bits tacked on. Coupe, in this case. I think it really adds to the style of the car here. The ’57-’59 Plymouth two door wagons are bland by comparison.
Are the blue and gold wagons in the same place? Someone needs to get the two of them and save at least one.
Awesome! Yet another model variation I never knew existed, but am now fully informed about, thanks Jason. Curbside Classic rocks!
My buddy in Tampa has this car, of course, completely restored in “Evening Orchid” with a white top. We take her and my 1960 Oldsmobile to the shows and our girls are the most popular girls at the dance.
Just sent him this link via Facebook. I’m CERTAIN he will be posting her photo soon. Jody…….please take the floor now…
I actually have a plastic model kit of the ’60 Suburban, 4 door wagon. JO-HAN brand made some ‘USA Oldies’ kits in the 70’s. One other model was a 62 Chrysler 300 letter series coupe.
Loved that kit when I built it back around ’75. Not quite the ‘default’ gold, though.
The kit that launched a thousand resin conversions, since Mopar used that wagon roof for years.
Nice. I built the same years ago, but not as well :-). Always wondered why they built a promo/model kit of the wagon, but there were others around that time. Just imagine if they’d done the same with a fuselage Fury or a clamshell Chevrolet.
These beauties are very rare indeed. Here is a picture of my 4 door that still drives like a dream. My Grandmother bought it brand new and left it to me when she passed away in 1999. She loved this sweet ride, as do I.
Wow, love that one, Black Bomber!
I am looking for the base model of this hearse conversion. It supposed to be a Plymouth Savoy conversion we did back in 1952, but I think it must be newer since it is kind of edgy. According to my source this one was not converted from sedan to wagon (like we did a lot in those days), but an original Station Wagon.
I think it is newer, probably 1957 or 1958. Probably a sedan, conversed to a wagon. (please mind, there actually is “Savoy” and not “Suburban” on the side.
Does anyone have an idea?
Yes, it’s a ’57 or ’58.
however…. it probably is this one: http://www.oldcarscanada.com/2011/09/1959-plymouth.html
But then they replaced the “Suburban” logo on the side for a “Savoy” logo?
You’re right; it’s a 1959. My response was a quick affirmation of his guess, without taking a closer look. The “Savoy” emblem is a bit odd, but maybe they did that for export models?
I find it interesting the C pillars are so different from the 2dr to the 4dr wagon.
The Plymouth is a 1959.
Wow, thats Quick, thanks! The ’57 and ’58 type had a 4-door stationwagon-model, however that one looks rather diferent then ours, since the normal station wagon did not have the “wings” on the side like ours does. Somehow it looks like the front of a 1957 /1958 and the back of the Deluxe one you showed above.
Do you think we took a sedan and converted it to a stationwagon / hearse?
No; it’s a stock 2-door wagon. They made both 2 door and 4 door wagons. The wagons had fins, just like the sedans. Here’s one just like the black one.
Thanks, Paul! You are absolutely right! Maybe they replaced the logo because of te fact that the name “Suburban” does not look as respectfull on a hearse as “Savoy” does or so.. I think we used to import all of our cars from USA ourselves back then, so I guess it is not a special EU version or so.
Thanks very much!
Or they were trying to time travel back to the early ’50s when the Savoy was a wagon name only!
The 1960 Plymouth will always be my favorite. Give me a Wagon version, I’ll be in Heaven.
Plymouth never made a 2 door wagon I’d really want to own…except for maybe that 49 wagon. Now, a 65 or 66 Valiant wagon, that’s another thing, I’ll take one of those with a V8 or slant 6.
In 1967 a neighbor had a 58 Edsel Roundup for sale, asking price: $700. I so wanted to buy that car. I mean, an Edsel…and a 2 door wagon, even for a high schooler’s beater, it would be so cool. I haven’t seen one since.
Rugly! (rare & ugly)
That Dodge B-series pickup next to it is equally intriguing.
I owned a 1949 (IIRC) Dodge B1B pickup that looked like this except it was yellow .
Fully optioned with radio and heater, five windows fluid drive on a three speed trannyand a spot light ~ the Shop Truck for Barlow’s Hudson in San Gabriel, Ca. $250 .
I like this wagon, it looks sharp with al those lines and creases ~ i hope it’s not too rusted out and gets saved .
Yes with the cap and the TV antenna. Could be an interesting story.
That 56 Plymouth to the left of it appears to be in semi decent condition
I could sure use the rear bumper from that 56 Plymouth.
This wagon reminds me of the one Gregory Peck drove in the original 1962 movie ‘Cape Fear’.
Happy Motoring, Mark
Righteous! I would totally restore the mechanicals and leave the body pretty much as is and get a vanity plate that says “OXIDADO”.
Looks like a vehicle that finally found its purpose years after it was made- glaring and growling at passers-by, rusting in a file of grass.
It looks like this very wagon is on Ebay as of today (7/25/2018). I searched for a 2 door Plymouth wagon to back up the seller’s claim that there are “only 5 left in the world”, and found this posting. Somebody dragged it out of the field and started a restoration before forfeiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/1960-Other-Makes-Deluxe-Suburban-Station-Wagon/232861967655?hash=item3637a7a527:g:YL0AAOSwOrJbMpVK&vxp=mtr