The other day Jim Klein showed us the brown Plymouth fuselage wagon he spotted in Berlin, and today T.Minor posted this brown Chrysler wagon shot “somewhere in Lower Austria”. The CC Effect, or do Germans and Austrians have a particular thing about these?
The love for Mopar fuselage cars in that part of the world is not exactly new either. When I spent the summer of 1969 in Innsbruck, there was a splendid new black Dodge Polara four door hardtop parked about two blocks away. Not a visitor; it lived there, and I saw it being driven once in a while. It looked just as big in contrast to the VWs and Fiat 850s it was parked between as this wagon does above. It even had the rare optional “Super-Lite”
This is the closest I can find on the web, which shows the Super-Lite. Has Prof. Stern ever commented on these? The one in Innsbruck was a Polara, without that fake lop-bumper chrome trim. And it didn’t have a vinyl roof or whitewall tires, which really enhanced my appreciation of it, as I rather disliked that faddish affectation at the time.
I used to make a point to walk by it regularly, as it presented such a visual and mental paradox for me. I was wallowing in all of the new European cars at the time, including the new six-cylinder BMWs, W114/115 Mercedes, Audi 100, and others. But this huge black whale looked quite awesome, and parked in front of 200 year old building really enhanced the juxtaposition. Yes, American cars are cool too, especially so when they’re not everywhere. Contrast and scarcity make things look so much more attractive.
I spent a lot of time staring at that car, wondering just who it was that decided to buy a new black Polara sedan. It must have cost them quite a bit, in relative terms, as this was when the dollar was still fixed to 24 Shillings. obviously they knew what they wanted, and they got it.
Let’s leave 1969 and get back to 2023 and this 1972 Chrysler Town & Country. I can see the appeal for Europeans, as in certain respects the fuselage Mopars are something of the ultimate really big American car, inasmuch as they are just so exuberant and expansive and…big. The biggest non-limo car ever made in the US was a fuselage, the 1973 Imperial, at a regal 235.3″ long.
This T&C is a mere 225″ long, but fuselages always look even longer than they are. And wider. That’s their secret sauce.
Didn’t realize/remember that the early fuselage cars still had front vent windows. The Chrysler looks cleaner without them, but I miss ’em anyway. Of course, I still like driving blue highways with the windows open too. . .
The generation that succeeded these (74-77 for wagons, -78 for coupes/sedans/hardtops) also was available with vent windows.
Someone here will know for sure, but at some point (1970?), I think the two-doors lost the vent windows.
Those big Fuseys do indeed have a unique kind of presence about them. And I can only imagine how they stand out in a sea of small European cars or in an old village with streets designed more for oxcarts than for cars.
The front end treatment of the 72 Chrysler is one of the best of that entire generation, methinks. Also, I had totally forgotten about the 69 Dodge’s clumsy attempt to fake a loop bumper. Ugh.
My ‘69 Polara has the Super-Lite, too…always get questions about it at car shows.
Here is some info on the Super-Lite.
My 1969 Dodge Polara convertible has the Super-Lite option, too. Have been asked about it many times at car shows…fun feature!
I never noticed that asymmetric light before. A relic perhaps of Mopar’s fascination with asymmetric show cars in the late 50’s-early 60’s?
That big Dodge convertible is simply gorgeous!
Thank you…it was a retirement present to myself in 2005!
They clearly know a good thing when they see one. And think of the smooth ride on the cobblestones.
As a long time upscale Chrysler Corp vehicles, the ONLY thing I liked about the FUSELAGE designs was the MASSIVE appearance. Compared to previous generation, these cars looked over stuffed. Front and rear treatment with loop bumpers were worst features. Probably Imperial suffered the greatest indignity. But Chrysler Corp was once again searching for a new direction 🙄. Exner and Engel had been successful. Not sure who was responsible for FUSELAGE. Good example of camel being designed by a committee working on a horse 🐎.
I’ve accumulated all the relevant materials for an article; I’ll knock one together.
To Rick’s point above about them looking “over stuffed” – I think that’s why the wagon speaks to me more than the other body styles, there’s a tension to everything ending in a crisp line and slightly concave rear section (somewhat but not entirely spoiled by the fender skirts on this T&C). I like the loop bumpers though. Contrast the hardtop coupe once described by on this site by Savage ATL as “cab stupid”, which looks as though it was styled to share the side glass and roof stampings intended for a smaller car.
Plus the wagon’s the best choice to put all that size to some use.
Agree that the wagons were the best fuselage style. They manage to look athletic and poised. Too bad they were undone by the cheesy interiors and general cost cutting relative to the prior generation.
Open the rear tailgate and pull that tiny green thing right in there!
My dad had a ’72 Chrysler Town and Country with a 400; I had a ’71 Plymouth Sport Suburban with a 318. Though based on common bodies, Chrysler did a great job giving them separate identities. Comfortable cruising all day long, or at least until you needed to fill up, which was quite frequently. The built-in rear window air deflector was quite stylish and the KA-CHUNK sound of my headlight doors closing when I switched off the headlights was awesome. Wish I had a better photo, but this was taken with a 110 camera. Dad bought the Plymouth from me when I bought a ’75 VW Rabbit (talk about going from one extreme to the other!), and eventually he sent both wagons to the crusher. Sad end to such beautiful cars.
Nice car. I liked these Fuselage wagons better without the fender skirts, just like yours.
That wagon body. Way back when, I was working as an electrician at a medical lab, a huge one, 500 staff. The shop made a play for a shop truck, pick up lumber, etc. We got one of those wagons. I don’t recall the exact year, something in the back of my mind says ’73, but that was 50 years ago. The management argument was they could use it to pick up visiting executives from the airport etc. Didn’t take much plywood and conduit to disabuse them of that notion, but we were still stuck with it. Even at ultra low mileage it took forever for the oil light to go off, so given the fondness I had for it I tried to help it by reving it up to ~4K. It survived that place longer than I did, right job, I was just the wrong age for it.
But talk about the old days, back when you could fit a 4X8 piece of plywood in the back of a station wagon.
Those are popular (a relative term in this case) not just here but also in other EU countries (the wagon has been recently imported from Sweden) perhaps because they seem to be the “most American” of all American cars of that period; the fact they are not particularly popular in the US means purchase costs are lower when compared with say, a Cadillac. And remember in Europe we don’t have the 4 door/station wagon stigma like you have in the US…
Germans sure love these big Fuselage C-Bodies. Check out the video of the annual meeting:
So that is where all the Fusies are!? People may love them or hate them but how many have driven one for awhile? I like them, except the 72-72 Fury is out, but might lean a little more to the Slab side depending on the particular car.
didn’t GM adopt the “fuselage” look for it last big wagons? – the Chrysler fuselages are much better
I love Fuselage Mopars, and have owned 7 of them: 3 wagons, 3 sedans, 1 convertible, ’70 to ’73. My ’71 Fury III 318 sedan that I drove to work for 5 years was the single best car I’ve ever owned, and I’ve owned a lot of cars. About 30 Mopars Darts to Imperials from 1937 to 1980. I’d trade my mint ’69 Cutlass for another ’71 Fury III sedan if I could find the right one. And yes, it’s the smooth impression of width and lowness that makes them look so great, and the superb drivetrains complete the picture.