(first posted 2/11/2013) I think it is safe to say that most of us here at CC are familiar with the origins of the Great Brougham Epoch. In a nutshell, pony cars took the sporty car buyers away from the full-size camp, and the Big Three saw they were going to have to come up with the Next Best Thing to keep sales of their biggies at a solid clip. Enter the Brougham, beginning with Pontiac. Ford got the ball rolling for the low-priced three, followed closely by Chevrolet. A bit late to the Brougham party was Plymouth, with the VIP.
The VIP displaced the Sport Fury as the top big Plymouth in 1966, one year after the LTD and Caprice. And just like its competition, the VIP had the soon-to-be-typical chrome additions, plusher interior, vinyl roof and wood-grained dash and door panels. Although clearly a member of the Fury line, the VIP received its own special brochure apart from the Sport Fury and Furys III, II and I. Initially available only as a four-door hardtop (a hardtop coupe came a bit later), it was marketed as a Plymouth for folks who wanted the finer things in life. Despite gilding the lily of the already well-equipped Sport Fury, the VIP looked as good as any of the other 1966 Mopar full-sizers, thanks to Elwood Engel’s attractive styling.
But new plans were afoot for the ’67 model year. While the ’66 Plymouths were most attractive in your author’s opinion, their squared-off styling was a little out of style with the advent of GM’s swoopy 1965 Chevrolets. So in 1967 somewhat softer styling presented itself to C-P dealership visitors. Especially attractive was the new “Fast Top” roofline, as shown above. While a conventional notchback roofline was also available, the Fast Top was limited to only the Sport Fury and VIP hardtop coupes.
Yes, of course the VIP returned, with plenty of new Broughamtastic features, particularly in the interior. Several square feet of Di-Noc graced the doors and lower instrument panel, along with a filigreed gold medallion that would not look out of place as a belt buckle at Studio 54 just a few years hence.
While you had your choice of roofs on coupes, that was not the case with full-size Plymouth sedans, unless you count pillared and non-pillared variants. The VIP remained available only as a hardtop coupe or four-door hardtop. The VIP four door is shown here, and looks particularly fetching in black over red, with the snazzy turbine-style wheel covers. The VIP sedan sold a bit better than the coupe, to the tune of 10,830 units, and started at $3182 ($21,872 adjusted). Most of them likely went out the door for a fair bit more than that.
It seems strange that Plymouth didn’t offer the VIP as a convertible; that remained the domain of the Sport Fury. Drop-top aficionados had to shell out $3279 for a Sport Fury, or a Fury III version that was a little less dear, at $3118. Perhaps that was best. Convertibles are by nature sporty, and a full VIP treatment may have been at odds with the folding roof. Those filigreed belt buckles on the door could tarnish, after all.
Here we have the notchback Fury III hardtop coupe. Although nicely styled, that angular roofline had been around on Plymouths and Dodges since 1963 and looked a little behind the times; compare it to, say, a ’67 LTD and you’ll see what I mean. You could also get this body style as a Sport Fury.
Cheapest big Plymouth was the Fury I two-door sedan. Priced at $2473, it was also seldom seen, thanks to only 6,647 being made. Believe it or not, a six-cylinder was standard equipment in almost all Fury I, II and III models, though the Fury II/III wagons and Fury III four-door hardtop and convertible did come with the 318 V8. The Plymouth Six was, of course, the bulletproof 225 CID Slant Six with a single-barrel carb and 145 horsepower. The smaller 170 CID Slant Six was not available, being confined to the Valiant line.
All 1967 full-size Plymouths, regardless of model, got standard carpeting, armrests, heater/defroster, back-up lights, dual brake system, an energy-absorbing steering column and seatbelts. While none of those sounded really exciting to someone ordering a fully-loaded VIP, I imagine it warmed skinflints’ hearts when they were selecting a Fury I.
The VIP remained the top of the line, and as such featured prominently in Plymouth advertising, along with the Sport Fury and new-for-’67 Barracuda. The two-model VIP line featured all Fury III equipment in addition to faux walnut interior trim, Deluxe gold-fleck cloth upholstery with vinyl bolsters, Deluxe wheel covers (those cool turbine wheel covers were optional), 15″ wheels, light group and Flow-Through ventilation.
VIPs came standard with a 230-hp 318 V8, breathing through a two-barrel Carter carburetor. If that wasn’t enough scoot for you, a 2BBL, 270-hp 383 ($70), 4BBL, 325-hp 383 ($120) or the top-of-the-heap 4BBL, 375-hp 440 CID V8 ($268) could be installed.
While the VIP was pretty well equipped, with its sparkly upholstery and extra chrome gewgaws, you could easily tack on an additional $500 or $1000 in options if you wanted to. Popular options included power brakes ($42), power steering ($95) front disc brakes ($70), and Auto-Pilot cruise control ($83).
Less popular options included air conditioning (a princely $338), power windows ($100), bench seat leather trim (VIP only, $104) and Road Wheels ($76). I was a bit surprised to learn you could get a leather interior on a Plymouth in the ’60s; I always thought that the only ones so equipped were the ’90s Grand Voyager LEs and the Prowler.
The 3630-lb. VIP hardtop coupe started at $3117, $65 cheaper than the VIP four-door hardtop. It was also the less-popular model of the two-car line, with 7,912 finding buyers.
As the 1967 VIP production suggests, the model never really took off, certainly not like the LTD and Caprice. Why is anyone’s guess, but for some, “Sport Fury” may have sounded a lot better than “VIP.” Personally, I like VIP better than LTD, partly because no one knows exactly what “LTD” is supposed to mean!
Apparently Plymouth must have agreed with the car-buying public, as the VIP last appeared for the 1969 model year. In 1970, the Sport Fury once again ruled the Plymouth roost, with a new four-door hardtop model standing in for the ’69 VIP version. Eventually, the Gran Fury moniker became the top of the line, but even it never reached the sales success of its Broughamy Chevy and Ford competition.
I found our featured VIP in mid-December, right at the tail-end of unseasonal weather in the mid-40s. I was driving along 14th Avenue in Rock Island when I spotted some distinctive stacked headlamps on a side street. Could that have been a Plymouth? Nah, probably a Cadillac. Still, I had to go around the block and check.
This may well be the only full-size ’67 Plymouth I have ever seen in person. That it was a scarce VIP instead of a more common Sport Fury or Fury III was the icing on the cake. I was a bit disappointed that it was in such a plain color combination–a red vinyl top and interior would have looked so good–but was still suitably impressed.
You can see it has had some rust repair in the past, judging from the lighter patches of white on the rear quarter panels, but it was in quite solid shape. For sale, too, if any of you live near the Quad Cities and have to have a Curbside Classic of your very own!
I like this even though full size cars aren’t my cup of tea. The blue one is especially nice,I’ve seen loads of LTDs and Caprices but hardly any VIPs.Great article Tom, thanks for showing me another forgotten car
Great car! I think the reason the VIP never took off was that it always shared showrooms with the Chrysler Newport. The 67 Newport started at $3579, or about $400 more than a base VIP. For those buying with 3 year financing, just a little bigger payment got you a bigger, more impressive car.
I have always really liked the 67 Plymouth. It may be the best looking big Plymouth of the 60s, and would vie with the Forward Look cars as the best looking of all postwar years. 1967 was also the first year of the modern LA block 318, which replaced the old wideblock poly version that went back to 1957. I always wondered why they kept displacement exactly the same on the two engines – I suspect that this has confused a lot of people over the years.
Those turbine wheelcovers in some of the ads were the same pieces on my 20K mile 66 Fury III sedan when I bought it. I thought it odd that such a plain car (318, auto, ps, heater) had the fancy wheelcovers. I took them off, cleaned them up, and wrapped them up and put them in my garage, where they still live. Those were very expensive pieces, with multiple diecastings bolted to the stainless steel (I think) disk.
I agree that that was the main downfall of the VIP. The LTD didn’t have to coexist with the Mercury and Chevrolet dealers in those days didn’t usually sell Oldsmobiles or Pontiacs; that wasn’t the case with Chrysler and Plymouth.
If you compare engines and equipment, the Newport was even closer to the VIP than that. Among other things, the Newport came with the 383-2V engine, which was $69.70 on a VIP; I don’t recall if power steering or power brakes were standard on the Newport, but either would narrow the gap ever further.
I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if some of the people making that argument were Chrysler-Plymouth salespeople. Salespeople generally want to sell you the most expensive product they can, and I would assume that a customer looking seriously at a VIP would be a prime candidate for upselling to the Chrysler brand.
As for the unchanged engine displacement, that is an interesting question. My guess would be that they wanted to carry over as much basic tooling as possible. Did the A- and LA-series 318s share the same connecting rods and/or pistons? I notice that Chrysler kept the same 3 5/16-inch stroke since the 303 and didn’t stroke the LA any more until the introduction of the 360 a number of years later (which is why the 340 ended up being more oversquare than either a Chevy 350 or the Ford 351).
I don’t recall if it was different in ’67, but in 1966 just about everything was optional on the Newport, including power steering and power brakes. The base Newport drivetrain was the big block 383-2v as you mentioned, coupled to a 3-speed manual transmission with column shift. All so they could advertise a very low base price to get people into the Chrysler showroom.
The LTD did share showroom space with Mercury. And Lincoln. At least in a new rural MN dealership they did. In Mpls. they were often separate.
I am sure this was true in many small communities. However, I don’t think Ford got most early LTD sales from those little county seat dealerships. A bigger distinction was that Mercury never had the same pull with a FoMoCo buyer as the Chrysler brand did with a Mopar buyer. There was a much bigger jump in prestige going from a Plymouth to a Chrysler, than in going from a Ford (a nicer one than the VIP, certainly) to a Mercury.
Yes, in rural areas, Chevy dualed with various GM makes, so Caprice could be in same dealer lot as a B-O-P ‘brougham’ car.
But, LTD/Caprice were aimed squarely at “Mr and Mrs Suburbs”, no dual dealer issues in Metro regions.
It did happen, particularly in small towns and rural areas, but I think it was still more the exception than the rule — the opposite of today, when multi-franchise dealerships are more common than single-franchise stores.
In my area of northern Texas, it was common to pair Ford and Chevrolet with higher-priced brands, particularly in the smaller towns. In Vernon (pop. 12,000) the dealerships in 1967 were Dabney & Harvey Chevrolet-Oldsmobile, Krebs Motor Company (Pontiac-Buick-GMC-Cadillac), Miller Ford-Mercury and Hill Motor Company (Chrysler-Plymouth Dodge). In nearby Burkburnett (pop 9,000), there was Mathis Chevrolet-Pontiac-Oldsmobile; in Electra (pop 6,000) was Ed Hart Chevrolet-Oldsmobile and O.Z. Lee Motors (Buick-Pontiac). In Quanah were Gene Addison Chevrolet-Oldsmobile-Pontiac and Attaway Ford-Mercury. In Seymour were Martin Motors (Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge and Allis-Chambers), Morris-Wirz Chevrolet, Underwood Motor Co. (Pontiac), Carl Hash Buick-Lone Star Boats-Johnson Motors and Shaver Motors (Ford-Mercury).
Also in Seymour, TX: Cooper Motor Co. (Oldsmobile-Cadillac).
1967 has to be my favorite big Plymouth also. I like the sharp edges and the rear styling in particular.
Those turbine wheelcovers are one of my favorite designs. Although I prefer GM over Ford and Ford over Chrysler, if preferences were based on wheelcovers alone, Chrysler would be my #1. They came out with some beaufiful designs. Those turbine wheelcovers were pretty heavy and a lot of effort had to be placed in designing and casting the pieces for them.
What confounds me is that just as much effort effort might well have gone to designing a proper light alloy wheel, that while equally attractive, didn’t add 15 pounds of unsprung weight and had a tendency to fly off, never to be replaced due to the usurious price of a new one at the dealer.
It was the late 60s after all. Styling studios did wheel covers, engineers did wheels. Aluminum wheels were pretty rare from the manufacturer as I recall. Certainly by 1973 there were several (Mustang, Corvette, AMX) The 68 Cougar XR7G had them but the Rader wheels were recalled because of fracturing.
You beat me to it, but I concur. As long as the Newport Custom was in the same showroom, Jerry Lundegard had a pretty easy upsell. Imagine for a moment in some parallel universe where the name of the parent corporation was different from it’s “medium price field” offering. FoMoCo just happened to have Ford as it low-price make, and GM had Chevy. Chrysler had an eponymous division that marketed their so-called high end products. The dealer structure decision to put Plymouth in the same store as Chrysler doomed the nameplate from the start, IMHO. It would always have a “poor sister ” image, and the temptation to move Chrysler downmarket and cash in on it’s perceived “cut-above” image has been proven over time to be just too great.
Just to add a little to your fine analysis above – most Plymouth dealers were also Chrysler dealers so the Newport and VIP would have been in the same showroom. This was not true for the LTD nor the Caprice.
re 318 Poly vs LA
Not in Canada it didn’t. They stuck us with that slovenly old 318 Poly for one more year, except for the handful of V8 Valiants and Barracudas we saw here.
I hadn’t considered the VIP’s showroom competition before. I always figured the VIP failed on its own merits, or lack thereof. It’s like Plymouth didn’t really try that hard, really, to compete in this space. Even the name VIP just doesn’t carry the same cachet as Caprice or LTD.
I think another point is that there were only so many Mopar buyers to go around back then, and with Dodge Polara and Monaco, and the Newport, the VIP jumped into a very crowded pool of mid-priced big Mopars, that were in large part, the same car anyhow. On the name, I always thought VIP sounded better than Gran Coupe and Gran Sedan that came right after. Even Gran Fury always seemed like a bit of a mixed metaphore – a really large or luxurious storm or temper tantrum?
jp, sharing showrooms may have been a contributing factor to lower sales, particularly if most buyers focused on monthly payments rather than sales price.
However, I’d note that Plymouth also had greater internal competition from Dodge than Ford did with Mercury . . . at least price-wise, e.g., 1968 VIP four-door sedan was only a $100 less than the Monaco; the Park Lane was $450 above the LTD.
Ford also did a better job of distinguishing the LTD from its mid-level Galaxie, such as with hidden headlights from 1968-70. Plymouth, in contrast, didn’t do broughamy nearly as well, particularly with the 1969 model.
Chrysler did indeed have a lot of internecine sniping between Dodge and Plymouth, really beginning with the decision to no longer sell Plymouths through Dodge stores. I don’t think that was as big a factor in the VIP’s downfall as was the Chrysler Newport, though.
It is kind of comical to think about it now, that for about a 10-year period many upper-echelon domestic cars would be offered with standard (or optional, as in the case of the 1968 and ’69 Caprice) headlight doors as a means of distinguishing them from the lower trim levels – given that those doors would always fail sooner or later.
Even my ’88 Accord’s RH headlight lift failed, but only because battery acid nearby degraded a plastic fastener connecting the door lift-rod with the servo, & a replacement would fail the same way. I bet those estimable Honda engineers never thought of this failure mode.
This may be why I saw other Accords with their headlights permanently up (there was a dash switch for that too). Hence the stupidity of retractable headlights; more complexity with no benefit. You couldn’t even flash them easily, not that many American motorists know or care what this☼ means.
Depending on the design, retractable headlights can have the benefit of improved aerodynamics when they are not being used.
Despite the mania for aero efficiency, few of the most streamlined models available have them:
Even they got a marginal gain in Cd, I still think they’re not worth it. Industry apparently agrees.
One small grammatical note (I’m a proofreader, among other things, forgive me): You mean that the VIP was one year after the LTD and Caprice, not one year shy of, which would imply that they came a year later.
Was the ’64 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham the first ‘brougham’? I always thought it began with the ’65 Ford LTD.
The blue brochure car is a looker. That feature car really needs white-walls.
Pontiac was not the “low priced” make as Chevy/Ford/Plymouth. Not really the first ‘low price lux’ big car.
Bonneville Brougham was going after Mercury Park Lane [eventual Marquis], but also stole Buick/Olds buyers.
I’ve been aware of the Bonneville Brougham trim level ever since I was about 9 and a friend of my parents’ was a Pontiac sales manager. I recall seeing them in the brochures, certainly, but in all these years (including at the dealership itself 1966-69) I’ve never actually seen a Bonneville Brougham. I think the great majority of Pontiac buyers were quite happy with the plain Bonneville as a sufficiently luxurious offering (including my parents who each had a ’65, a wagon and a convertible) and could do without the special interior door panels and brocade-type upholstery.
Your factory photo of the 1967, silver, Fury I two door sedan’s tail end reminds me of a 1964 Imperial. A fine looking machine.
I’ve always appreciated MOPAR full size “strippers” from the 1960s through the 1980’s. Very “honest” cars.
Great writeup Tom and thanks for capturing one of these guys! I agree that the color combination is a little dull. For whatever reason I never cared for white cars with black interior. I agree with rudiger that it needs whitewalls.
That green Sport Fury Convertible is a beauty!
I’m with you on the white car/black top & interior color combo. One of my least favorites, but it seems to have been pretty popular in the 60s. I knew several people back then who chose it. I much preferred the colors on my 66 – white outside, turquoise inside.
While I like the styling of the 1967 full-size Plymouths in general, that “Sports Roof” on the featured car looks out of place on the very rectangular body.
I agree. The notchback two-door hardtop roofline mates much better with the lower body than the semi-fastback roofline.
Agree. The 4-door sedan and 2-door notchback Plymouths hang together as visual wholes, but the fast top version does not. It clearly was adapted from something else that represented a truer design concept.
Whenever I see these, I wonder why on Earth Chrysler would’ve wanted to copy the Marlin.
The angular C-pillar just looks odd on this car, not really a fan of it at all.
I still remember Petula Clark in the TV ads promoting the “Plymouth Fast Top Coupe” and singing “Plymouth…is out to win you over this year!”
At the end of 1976, I bought a ’67 Sport Fury Fast Top in bronze with white buckets. 383 2-bbl and the indestructible TorqueFlite. Gasoline had finally leveled out after the ginormous run-up of the first Arab oil embargo so getting 13 MPG wasn’t too big of a deal. I owned it less than a year but to this day have a soft spot for ’67 Plymouths. The softer angular lines worked well, especially with the Fast Top, and the little bulge on the trunk lid just completed the package. The ’68’s plainer grill and plainer trunk looked blah by comparison.
Great write up. The first car I got to go to the dealership with my parents to buy was a 67 Plymouth Fury II 4 door sedan. It had the 318, auto, PS, AM Radio, deluxe wheel covers, and White Walls, a Turquoise Metallic with matching upholstery. Pretty fancy for my folks at the time. I learned to drive with that car. Always thought it looked a little classier than the Chevy Bel Air or Ford Custom 500 equivalents. (Could squint and see an Imperial) It also never rusted around the rear window like Chevys tended to do of that vintage. Car held up well for the 100,000 plus miles dad had it. He sold it in 1973 and I would still see it around town well into the 80’s. Would have loved to have put those turbine Wheelcovers on it. I remember thinking those where so cool looking though very few Fury’s were equipped with them.
Judging by the interior, it looks quite well kept. To me it smells like it was taken off the road many years ago, and the nascent rust was repaired, hopefully to a high standard.
Plus, that’s factory AC I see there. I wonder what he was asking.
The CC Effect lives! I saw the twin to the featured car Saturday on my way home from work. My only thought was, “Why does some moron have this car on the road today?”
I saw it just south of the Wisconsin / Illinois border, throwing up a rooster tail of salt and slush.
It’s possible it was the same car, as I am in NW Illinois. I’ll have to see if the car is still where I found it!
I’m not so fond of the fastback roofline introduced in ’67, though the vinyl top breaks-up the huge expanse of the triangular C-pillar. Rust in the rear quarters is quite common in Mopar C-bodies of this era. The lower bodies were galvanized, but the fenders tuck-in quite a bit and stone chips eventually take their toll. This one looks to be in good condition otherwise.
My dad had a ’67 Sport Fury convertible in dark green, like the one in the brochure photo above, except for different wheel covers because it had the optional Budd disc brakes. His had the 383-4v. He scrapped it in 1977 or 78 after acquiring my grandad’s 1966 Chrysler.
When I was a senior in high school (1978-79), my dad purchased a ’68 Fury III sedan to use as his everyday work car. It was a low mileage, “little old man” car that turned out to be a nicer car than we initially thought. After a couple of weekends working hard to really clean and shine it up, with few exceptions, it looked almost like a new car. The 318 provided ample power and the air conditioning still blew ice cold. A set of turbine covers found at the local wrecking yard transformed the car’s appearance tremendously.
Regarding the leather seats mentioned, I have only seen two VIP models so equipped. The first was a ’68 two door hardtop that had every factory option including Auto Temp automatic climate control, tilt-a-scope steering wheel, am (possibly fm, too), 8 track tape, and cruise control. With the leather seating surfaces, the VIP interior was transformed into something one definitely would not expect in a Plymouth. The second one was a ’69 four door hardtop that was a special order Plymouth executive car. Again, a very nice car that topped most New Yorkers and additionally, approached Imperial levels of luxury.
Don’t I remember some ’67 Plymouth advertising comparing the VIP/Fury to the LIncoln Continental? There are several Elwood Engel design cues apparent, the wide triple-lensed taillights, the kickup in the beltline, the slab sides, even the little standup hood ornament. Couldn’t find anything on a quick Google search, but seems I recall there was a TV commercial that made this comparison. The tagline “Plymouth is out to win you over this year” was always accompanied by the little red heart with the arrow-tipped tail.
I’d love to own that convertible or the red/black 4 door hardtop. Mopar had some good stuff in the 60s, shame a lot people avoided chrysler products during these years.
Does anybody have a breakdown of the engines actually installed in VIPs? Were people selecting 383s to go with their fancy interiors or was it largely 318 2brl affairs?
BTW is it just me or does it seem like Chrysler installed many more 2brl carbs on their V8s over the years than 4 brls? Maybe its just the GM fanboy that I was raised as to be it seems to me that the General slapped more 4brls or offered more optional 4brls than Chrysler did.
Plymouth could not shake the blue collar or young adult sporty car image to compete with LTD/Caprice, ever. But, it’s #1 competition was Newports in same C-P dealers.
Also, there were too many Fury models with VIP added.* Even when as a kid, I used to see hardly any difference between I and II, why bother? On the street, either saw fleet I’s or family owned III’s. Rarely saw Fury II’s, unless eldery owned. Should have just upgraded the Fury III to match Caprice/LTD, or call it Fury Custom/Brougham instead.
And I agree that Gran Fury, as pointed out above is, “mixed metaphor – a really large or luxurious storm or temper tantrum?” By the 80’s GF’s weren’t luxury models anymore. But also, Caprice and CVic names were used on base/fleet models.
* Even worse in 1975 with mid size Fury, full size GF.
A nice article on a rarely seen car today.
In retrospect, Chrysler wrote Plymouth’s death warrant when it gave the full-size Dart to Dodge dealers in 1960, and, at the same time, failed to give Plymouth its own dealer network. Dodge dealers initially made hay selling a full-size car under the Dodge brand at Plymouth prices, but, over the long run, the corporation downgraded the Dodge name. As JP Cavanaugh noted, putting Plymouths in the same showroom as Chryslers limited the ability of the division to offer upscale trim levels, particularly as Chrysler moved aggressively downmarket in the early 1960s with the Newport.
The 1967 Fury looks very business-like, but less stylish and luxurious than its Ford and Chevrolet competition. The “true” full-size Plymouths sold relatively well in the 1960s – and much better than their Dodge counterparts – but the car that best reflected Plymouth’s image during the 1960s and early 1970s was the practical Valiant. That image hampered Plymouth’s ability to offer the “low-cost luxury” that many buyers wanted in the 1960s and 1970s.
Plymouth hit it big with the Road Runner and Richard Petty’s racing victories, but the muscle car market collapsed in 1971, and division quickly faded after the first fuel crunch, despite strong Valiant/Duster sales.
The 1967 Plymouth Fury is an attractive car, but this roofline just does not look right on the car. The notchback two-door and foor-door hardtops are much more attractive, as both styles mate well with the lower body. With the sleek roofline, mated to the blocky lower body, the car is trying to be both sporty and “formal” at the same time, and not really succeeding at either one.
This Fury was supposed to be the “ultimate” full-size Plymouth, but the two-door hardtop with this roofline is a “confused” car, in my opinion.
Agree, when the 1974 C bodies came out, the Monaco and Newport/NY’er seemed to be promoted more aggressively. And Plymouth didn’t get the Cordoba, as first planned.
To add insult, the first “Bluesmobile” was a Dodge, and even all the other police cars that got smashed too! So, to collectors of Blues Bros replicas, it’s “Monaco or nothing”.
Its hard to credit this car was available with a 6, the only full size US cars we got had V8 engines, I guess to justify the retail price our imports were specced up and of course anyone who brought one in on tourist delivery wouldnt have gone for low spec.
Undoubtedly so. Although as Paul noted the other day, by this point in the ’60s, six-cylinder engines were becoming increasingly rare on full-size American cars — who wanted a two-ton barge with only 100-110 net horsepower?
I guess some peoples elsewhere liked the Mopar C-body “Fast-top” roofline and the design of the rear side windows. Richard Teague redesigned the 1970 AMC Rebel and Ambassador 2-door hardtop to look like a 1967 Mopar C-body. It didn’t fit the Rebel well but it was more balanced for the Ambassador, like this one http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archivo:1970_AMC_Ambassador_SST_hardtop_yellow-black_K-s.jpg
That explains it! I thought these looked very AMC.
I have just uploaded a photo of an Ambassador hardtop to the Cohort Flickr page, not sure what year it is though. Very reminiscent of this VIP.
Chrysler used the VIP name in Australia too, for an upmarket Valiant.
The VIP reminds me of another inter-divisional battle with the Chrysler Newport: the ’62-’65 Dodge Custom 880. When it quickly became apparent how much a disaster the downsized 1962 fullsize Mopars were going to be, in a desperate attempt to stem some of the bleeding, Chrysler rushed a Newport body with a Dodge front-end into production. While it might have gotten back a few of the consumers looking for a traditional Dodge or Plymouth, it also drew away potential Newport buyers, too, for which Chrysler dealers weren’t too pleased.
The VIP worked in the opposite manner in that rather than buy a top of the line Plymouth, for a few dollars more, buyers chose the Newport.
Try as they might, Chrysler could never really get conquest sales from Ford or GM. All too often, the only conquests were from another Chrysler product, and the VIP is just another example.
It’s also worth noting that the 880 ceased production in 1965, and the VIP began the very next year. Coincidence?
I got a old article of Collectible Automobile about the 1965-68 Dodge Monaco/Monaco 500. They planned once a 880 for 1966 but some marketing folks decided to drop the 880 and let the Monaco (as a Grand Prix fighter) to replace it while the Monaco Grand Prix fighter became the Monaco 500, thinking then the Monaco monicker would be more attractive then 880.
Strangely, those 880 was never sold in Canada, except in the “grey market”.
So was the VIP sold in Canada? I think I’ve heard of this model but wonder with the Canadian market being so small it was not imported here like some other US Mopar models.
From 1962 through 1968, Chrysler Corporation’s market share increased from about 10 percent to 18.9 percent, so it must have stolen some sales from GM, Ford and AMC. Unfortunately, after 1968, Chrysler Corporation hit a wall, and settled for around 15-16 percent of the market until the first Arab Oil Embargo.
When the 1969 C-bodies debuted, Lynn Townsend said that his goal was to bring Fury sales closer to the level of the full-size Chevrolet and Ford. Unfortunately, sales of the C-body cars from all three divisions were lackluster.
The 1969 C-body began a string of disappointing new-model introductions for Chrysler Corporation – the 1970 Barracuda/Challenger, the 1971 intermediates, and, finally, the 1974 C-bodies. The failure of the 1974 C-bodies was a major blow to the corporation, and precipitated another crisis.
Plymouth and Luxury seemed an oxymoron. They did performance well, no question, and inexpensive sedan. But a VIP seemed an afterthought as late as it was and incongruous.
Having said all that, I’d love to see an original maintained one. They are handsome in retrospect. They are VERY rare now. I could only find four for all year VIPs in a CR semi-nationwide search (not all 50 states, just Southern, West Coast).
Back in the seventies, my father informed me that LTD stood for “Long Term Debt.” He was a car guy, but always looking for the best value, rather than maximum content or trim level.
I guess the lesson took, as the most expensive car in our stable is a Honda Fit, and we’ve owned a Mazda Miata for over twenty years, amortizing its acquisition cost to less than $800/year…
Great cars in my opinion. I had bought one of these 67s as a winter beater in the late 70’s.
It was a two door with the fast top roof line and obligatory 318-torqueflite combination.
Even though this Plymouth had obviously seen better days, it still started every morning with out complaint, had great heat, and actually did decent on gas mileage.
Nice car with a very familiar (at least to me) two-tone exterior combination. The interior looks too much VIP for a Plymouth, but it was the luxury race among the junior lines of the Big Three. I wouldn’t care for the patches of different hue; it is always better to have it repaired than leave it to uncertainity of what would happen if….
Ah, but your car has the nice white interior 🙂 This VIP would have looked much better with a white, red or blue interior.
I traded a ’68 4 Hardtop Dr Fury III for my buddy’s ’68 VIP 2 Dr, equipped with 383 2BBL, A/C, PW, standard drum brakes, Dark green vinyl top/light green body with dark green cloth on the inside. Handled great for a large car, got in the high teens on the highway and ran like a top. Surprisingly fast for a 2 BBL equipped 383. Owned it for 4 years and traded it back to that same buddy so that he could transplant the engine and tranny into a pitiful ’78 Cordoba. The engine and trans went for another 4.5 years without complaint.
I have a ’68 non-Fast-Top 2dr. Coupe w/a built 440, and a ’68 Fury III, was a 4dr. sedan, now chopped into the El Raunch truck you see below.
Never liked the rear clips on the ’67s. The ’68 rears have way better contenuity imo. Kind of an over sized Road Runner look to it.
And nevr a fan of the Fast Top exept for on a ’67-’68 Chrystler 300…with NO vinyl top of course!!!
(Shux! can’t figure out how to post more than one foto)
I believe all VIPs came standard with skirts like on my El Rauncho. I bet the white car above had’em. And yeah, the white car needs white walls fer cripe sakes!
Go to youtube to see a great fun vid of my 440 coupe. “Filthy Fury Motorhead Burnout” 🙂
Cool trucklet! So I guess it’s an El VIP. Or maybe a VIPero?
It actually looks like a factory prototype; the lines really suit it.
Thanks very much Tom!
That’s exactly what I was going for was a factory what-if.
Lots of work. I actually grafted in longer doors from a ’67 2dr. coupe and moved the B pillar rearward.
Maybe III ino? 😉
Is anyone interested in purchasing a VIP? I have one for sale!
Yes, I am looking for a 1968 VIP. What are the particulars on yours?
Sorry, its a 66 Plymouth VIP, not a 68. It has 44k miles, 383
i have a black 67 furry 3 with a 383 4b 4 speed that my aunt gave to me in 1974 when i was 16 it has been setting out in the weather for a long time and is rough i always thought i would restore it someday love th body style john
A freind of mine is restoring a 67 VIP and asked me to research production numbers. I know how many were produced but his car is an L code 440. He has been told it’s one of 4 but I can’t find a web site with a break down on model/engine production numbers. Know where I can find these numbers?
Its amazing! I have this same car for 32 years now! I bought it right before I joined the military. I left the car with some bad people, that was to repair it. I retired from from the military and came back, the car was never touched in 10 plus years!! Send me a email!
GOT ONE VIP WITH A 383
I have a ’68 VIP 2 door that once belonged to my grandfather. I love these cars. My very first car was a fast top ’67 Sport Fury. I think the fast top C-bodies are right up there with the 57-60 Forward Look cars as far as styling goes. We’ve had three 67-68 Furys in the family, the other one was a ’67 Fury II. All three of them were cars that were well loved at the time we had them. My ’67 has gone to the great garage in the sky with some of its parts going to my ’68. If I could have snapped up the featured ’67 VIP, I would happily plopped down the cash and drove that baby home. Here is my Flickr page to my ’68 VIP.https://www.flickr.com/photos/beautifulpast/sets/72157622437561189/
My third year English lit teacher in high school bought a ’67 Fury I brand new. He was fresh out of Notre Dame and wanted a new full size car that wouldn’t cost the earth. It was carefully optioned, with the Slant Six, Torqueflight and radio. It was a nice car, a two door sedan, and plenty roomy inside. It was good looking in an understated way, finished in a handsome deep blue with whitewalls and full wheel covers.
Regarding the “LTD” moniker Ford chose for its high-zoot Galaxies: I will bet dimes to donuts it was envisioned as “Limited” in short form. Lord knows, buyers of big Fords wanted to think they were buying something rare and special!
A peach, plum, and nectarine grower in central California uses the “LTD” brand for his fruit. A friend, I once asked him how he chose that brand name. He told me he was sitting in his 1972 Ford at that particular moment, and glanced at the dash emblem. It was that simple!
It may be just another old car now, but in the 60’s and 70’s, Ford LTD’S were considered to be very hot stuff. Besides being very plush they were likely the first American car to go with an alpha-numeric name, which at the time seemed so radical.
Yes, “LTD” implies “Limited”, Canadian corporations are .Ltd rather than .Inc.
LTD, VIP, DPL, SST……M-o-u-s-e…..
As much as i WANT to like this car…its that fast top…never been a fan. Im all about the 65 or 66 Fury 2 door with the ‘standard’ hardtop, it just looks a whole lot better. These, come off as something that could pass for a Rambler.
The wheels look too small for the body – particularly the rear wheel, with the large expanse of sheet metal directly above it. The thick C-pillar on the “fast top” body style only exacerbates the problem.
Am I the only one who gets Matador vibes from this
oh wait – now I am getting Toyota Crown vibes
Owned a 67 VIP “Fast Top”. No right outside mirror. Was an option. Had to change lanes with a cane. 383 2bbl. AM/FM radio and road wheels.
I have a 1967 VIP 2-door hardtop coupe with a 383 in original gold color sitting in my yard. It has the black and gold flexk upholstery. I love that car .. bought it in 1987 or 1988 … it is going to be restored to its former glory. It is rare no doubt as around 7,000 were manufactured and no more. I feel lucky.
Here is my new to me 68. Has the 383 2
I have a 67 vip 2 door fast top thinking of restoring . Any suggestions of restoration company on east coast would be helpful.
How many made 1966 and 1967 Plymouth VIP 2 door coupe and 4 door sedan?
I didn’t care for the stacked headlights, or the look of the front of these. Very much a taxicab look and feel, a utilitarian kind of appearance. Nor did I like the slanted waaayyyy forward instrument panel. It was like they were trying to achieve some kind of visual effect that was unnecessary.
I did think that the rear end of these was smooth looking on the models with the taillight look all the way across. The Fury I with just brake lights looks too plain. However the ’67 was a nice upgrade from the back of the 1966s. The latter looked like something from a Studebaker factory. Nothing at all against Studebaker, it just didn’t look like it belonged on the Plymouth.
I believe the VIP never caught on simply due to it s goofy name. VIP which most knew was the acronym for Very Important Person was simply to assuming for a traditionally low cost brand customer to accept. Where as Limited or LTD and Caprice (which just sounded good but had no meaning) was better able to market it s hidden luxury appointments to a traditional buyer. A Plymouth Fury Premier I believe would have done better. The 1968 Plymouth VIP was an attractive commanding car it s a shame it did not catch on. Another name then Plymouth could have used was Belmont. It was used for ones of Exner s dreams cars in 1954 and it could have been used for a full-size luxury Plymouth or had Plymouth got a personnal luxury coupe as it was originally planned instead of becoming the Chrysler Corboda. The Belmont nameplate could have been used for it as well.
I rescued my late grandfather’s ’68 VIP in 2009, and have been happily driving it since the end of 2010. I drove it yesterday to go to my 60th birthday dinner. The featured ’67, I would have snapped up in a heartbeat. My VIP is also 318 powered with a 2 barrel, but the original Carter was replaced with the current Holley 2280 2 barrel and has plenty of scoot enough for me. 🙂
Beautiful car, to be honest, I usually prefer the notchback coupe, or 4 door Hardtop, but the lack of a vinyl top makes your car look gorgeous.
I once had a 68 Fury III convertible live in my garage for a while, same color as yours. I got to drive it a few times, beautiful strong cars.