There are times when it is profoundly difficult to avoid the pervasive influence of popular culture. Try as you might, some things penetrate even the best armor leaving a well-seared branding on the brain.
No, I’m not going to stray into the pasture of what is cool, hip, or groovy; I’m one of the last people who should walk around that acreage. What I am saying is in the collective minds of non-automotive people, it seems a red Forward Look Plymouth Fury triggers a certain unfortunate print and Hollywood induced association. With any hope, that wasn’t your first thought about this Fury.
Such externally induced associations are far from being isolated to the Forward Look Plymouth. Thankfully, the list of cars that are and will forever be ingrained into the collective psyche is a small and finite number.
Often times people seeing an early 1960s full-sized Ford will spout some utterance about an inept deputy from a fictional North Carolina town. Some owners of these cars have had to endure half-baked inquiries about when they are going to convert their possession into a specimen in black and white. Some seem to think there must be endless tributes to a long-cancelled television series.
Further, on the rare chance you see a 1974 Dodge Monaco four-door (1975 model shown), how often is it still wearing its factory shade of paint? It seems most are now made to sport an aged and abused appearance with two-tone paint and cigarette butts strewn around the interior for enhanced effect. Perhaps this is one case where such a connection has helped preserve a goodly number of cars that would have otherwise been discarded long ago.
Even as I write this, the list of other examples that spring to mind continues to grow. 1969 Dodge Charger. 1975 Ford Torino two-door. 1971 Plymouth Valiant four-door. 1977 Pontiac Trans-Am. Maybe there is an upside of sorts…this list is disproportionately Mopar, perhaps helping to emphasize these cars had more going for them than what met the eye and what was reflected in the marketplace. That’s not a bad thing.
However, this red Fury has been catapulted into this unfortunate category of mental tattooing by virtue of color and association. Having sat on these pictures for months, I have wanted to do something with them, preferably a fictional or short story as another 1959 Fury has been featured in its own CC (here) by someone with tangible 1959 Plymouth Fury experience. Such experience with any car does add another new dimension when writing about it.
There were several plots I had formulated for a fictional or short story account of this Fury. The British mid-wife and her American husband. The nephew called upon to address his uncles world-class hoarding. Some hybrid of the two, maybe even incorporating a curve-ball element of espionage or other unforeseen treachery. Yet I couldn’t create anything truly convincing as even after two attempts surpassing one thousand words each, I realized I had fallen prey to that insidious and competing Forward Look Fury reference. In my mind, anything remotely involving homicide, the occult, or any odd behavior would have been playing to the knee-jerk reaction a red Fury prompts in some. I didn’t want any comparisons to, or perceptions of spring boarding off, a well known plot. My intentions had been softly hijacked.
Did this Fury inadvertently rob me of something better? Hardly; other cars could fit the bill. Yet this Plymouth did play out to the mental yarn of the moment better than, say, any 1972 Dodge Coronet or Datsun B-210 could ever hope to do. Espionage, adultery, or even petty larceny just seems to work better in a finned Fury than any loop-bumpered Dodge or wood-grained Datsun.
But I am compelled to look on the bright side of this yo-yoing of my imagination and intentions. While I had found this Fury about 100 miles from my house, I have since been made privy to an expired e-Bay auction for what appears to be the same car located in a small hamlet about five miles away from me.
This car (or its evil twin) has been partially resurrected with a new interior and some overall cleansing. That it may once again be roaming the highways and by-ways of its new home is quite encouraging. Less encouraging, the auction description ladles out references to that horror novel and the related, disjointed motion picture from 1983.
If only this Fury had been dipped in green, blue, or even white. In red, it too has been hijacked.