(first posted 11/1/2017) When I found this Fury Sport, I had two immediate reactions.
Wow! I sure didn’t expect to find this.
Wow! It sure reminds me of another Sport Fury.
The first reaction was a fleeting one. The second one has stayed with me, for way too long. In 1962, Plymouth substantially downsized the Fury (and its lesser siblings), and the result has been debated endlessly. In 1975, Plymouth downsized the Fury, and the result has not been debated endlessly. What’s there to debate?
Although they’re thirteen years apart, which was something of an automotive epoch (or two) back then, and there are of course significant stylistic differences, their similarities are undeniable, right down to the Chrysler B-Body platform they share.
The unintended consequence of this association, and my staring at the ’62 Fury pictures for too long, is that it reaffirms what an exceptional and even radical design the ’62 is, and how much more compelling and dynamic it is than the dull, predictable and derivative ’75. It made me want to drop this post and write one on the ’62, which is something I’ve been working up to for a very long time. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, I’ll just have to try to find something interesting to say about the ’75. Wish me luck.
Before I give that the old CC try, how about we take one more look at both of these together, as long as I promise to say something about the ’75? Let’s get their front ends out of the way first. Before anyone dares to criticize the ’62’s face, let’s first acknowledge that the ’75s’ is absolutely generic. Who did it first? I suppose the very influential 1970 Monte Carlo, but with still some pre-5 mile bumper flair. After the big bumpers came along, these faces became increasingly common.
I just decided: we’re going to not touch the ’62s’ front end until the right time comes. But generic, derivative and boring the ’62 is not. And it didn’t exactly spawn a lot of copy-catting, or even much of a legacy. But there’s a couple of key qualities of it that are very much present on the ’75, along with so many other cars that it influenced.
That would be its remarkable long-hood, short-deck design, which was utterly unlike anyone in the industry had ever done before, except of course the 1960 Valiant, the true pioneer in that regard. “Forward Flair Design”, as it was called by Plymouth. As such, it was the true progenitor of all of the long-hood, short deck coupes that came to dominate the market in the 70s and 80s. The ’62 Plymouth was the true prophet.
But that’s just the starting point. Exner’s pioneering “fuselage” design on the ’60 Valiant and ’62 Plymouth/Dodge (and that is when that term was first used by him) radically redefined the relationship of the side windows and doors to each other and the rest of the car. And that includes the C-Pillar, which was now an extension of the body sides, rather than part of a separate roof structure. Needless to say, both of those are very much on display on the ’75 Fury.
Enough of the ’62. For 1975, Plymouth did a rather confusing thing, by moving the Fury nameplate to the re-skinned mid sized cars, and renaming the big cars “Gran Fury”. These kind of games became more common in the years to come in the industry, but Plymouth has the dubious distinction of being somewhat of a pioneer in this, unless I missed someone.
Of course it was a strategic ploy to distance themselves from the blunder of the 1971-1974 Satellite coupes. Bold and sleek as they were, they were barking up the wrong tree. The sporty mid-size coupe era ended right about when they arrived, and the formal brougham coupe era replaced it, typified by the Monte Carlo. So rather than try to re-position the Satellite, the restyled 1975 mid-sized coupes were now Fury.
Which strikes me as more than a bit of a mistake, as the Fury name didn’t exactly brim with equity, especially the market Plymouth was chasing. Which was what exactly? The Chrysler Cordoba was chasing the real market, and the Fury the leftovers.
Speaking of leftovers, The trunk and bumper of the Fury sure does look a lot like the Cordoba’s.
Well, not quite exactly the same, but mighty close.
Speaking of, despite sharing the same basic body, the Cordoba’s sleek, smooth and fine-sculpted skin sure does come off a lot better than the Fury’s, and not just because of its condition. The buyers reacted the same way: over 150k Cordobas found buyers in 1975 compared to a measly 18k Sport Furies. And 28k Fury Custom coupes. A dud, in other words. Which is of course why these aren’t easy to find on the streets. Or at a car show; who would want to collect one?
And of course, that’s another thing these two have in common; the ’62 was a dud too. Even worse, actually; a mere 27k Fury and Belvedere hardtop coupes were sold that year.
No soft Corinthian leather here. Chrysler’s vinyls in the seventies had a power propensity to disassociate. or something like that.
And just where is the “Sport” in this car anyway?
Under its long hood? Maybe, if you checked the right boxes and custom ordered. But I’ll wager a day’s worth of Google Ad revenue that this one, like 97.638% of the ones ever built has the 318 V8, which was standard. Lesser Furys than the Sport could also be had with the 225 slant six. Optional V8 choices included the 360 2V, and no less than three versions of the 400 V8, in 2V, 4V and 4v with dual exhausts. Given that 1975 was on the heels of the energy crisis, I suspect not many bothered with them, except a few hard-core Mopar fans.
Like the fourteen folks who ordered the Road Runner package on their 1975 Sport Furies. Or was it twenty one? I’m not sure right now, and the stats are not readily available. But if you find one, go for it. It’s a unicorn.
Especially if it has the Sundance interior package. Sure beats that drab black vinyl. The infallible cure for 1970’s malaise.
Lacking that Sundance interior, I find this car rather depressing, and I’d much rather think about the ’62 Plymouth. Which I find quite the polar opposite, despite certain similarities.
I apologize for using this shot again, but maybe that’s it: these cars are the manic-depressive expressions of the same basic idea. Oh wait a minute…I diagnosed Chrysler with Bi-Polar disorder many years ago. Nothing new. Now while I go and indulge in some manic thoughts about that ’62, you all can try to find something upbeat to say about this ’75. It could really use some cheering up.