Curbside Classic: 1972 Plymouth Fury Suburban – The True Suburban Of Its Time

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(first posted 8/4/2013)     Mopar Mania Week just wouldn’t be complete without a fuselage wagon, would it? Given that this is from one of my first files of shots since starting to shoot CCs, it’s about time to give its day in the sun. Oh, regarding its name: Plymouth had been calling its wagons “Suburbans” for decades, so that’s hardly a Chevy exclusive. And these wide-body nine-seaters really were the Suburbans in their day, when Chevy Suburbans were more often used by surveyors and such. As an aside, please note how the back end of the Plymouth lines up with the front bumper of the Sentra behind it…

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No, I didn’t move the Suburban forward; these really are long. The stretch DC-8 Series 63 of cars.

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And the front end is…not exactly handsome, eh?

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This was from before I learned how to avoid glare in interior shots. I had the right idea in shooting from the passenger side, but didn’t yet realize I have to put the lens right up to the glass. Nice 8-track player down there on the floor. I once drove a ’72 Fury sedan version like this north across Arizona to the Grand Canyon on a spectacular crisp fall day, my first time ever to see that anti-mountain. It was a highly memorable day, and driving that big Plymouth was a good part of it.

Big Mopars weren’t as isolated and hushed as Fords and GM cars; they were more visceral, or palpable, or just more…real. They talked to you, from the minute you hit the starter, and they way that TorqueFlite ca-chunked into first gear. They weren’t exactly brilliant handlers, but at least you could mostly tell what they were up to. They were best suited to the roles they often were used as: cop cars, taxis, and big sedans and wagons for non-pretentious folks. Like the retired copper-mine engineer that owned the one I was driving across Arizona: no nonsense; just a big, tough, workaday sedan. Or wagon, in this case.

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The fuselage wagons had a nice built-in rear window air deflector, which helped keep the rear window clean and keep the kiddies in the third seat from getting CO poisoning with the rear window down. In the seventies, the Mopars were the only big wagons of the Big Three to still have a rear-facing third seat, Ford having long gone to twin sideways jump seats, and GM’s new ’71 gunboats adopting a forward-facing third seat. Chrysler was sliding behind, little by little…

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Somewhat ironically, the fuselage wagons best show off their fuselage, with what looks like a cross-section cut enhanced with that trim. What else could one call it?