When I found this Sport Fury, 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 Sport 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.
Thanks for that. Chrysler products always lacked much character compared to FoMoCo and GM vehicles. That is in terms of appearances and market positioning. Of course, they had prices, performance and features; other marques made it clearer what to expect from a car in the way Chrysler didn’t so much.
The Sundance interior is only the most extreme expression of the way pre 80s cars could be had with vivid interior colours. That’s been a fact for nearly three decades. Even small cars now usually have grey or monochrome textile seats. If there is colour it’s in the form of details or threads in an overall dark weave. Fiat have actually done quite well with colour choice on the 500s which makes the vehicle a vehicle for paint and fabric choices. For everyone else it’s black, grey or tan leather or… grey/black cloth.
that might be true for chrysler in the mid 70’s, but before that chrysler was a powerhouse in attractive cars. esp their muscle cars. imo chrysler made the nicest looking cars b4 the mid 70’s arrived. every manufacturer has their time in the sun for a while then loses it. happens to marques too. 70’s mustang. the one-time competition between escalade and navigator.
YEs, I will testify! I had Sport Fury exactly like the first photo. Well, one exception, mine had a huge crank open sunroof. Bought as a beater 2nd car in mid 80’s. grew to really like the car. Ran well, 318, and as I said a perfect interior. Always thought it was Mopars answer to the Monte Carlo.
Traded it in a few years later, got less than $100 but paid $500 originally.
Not only that, character. Nobody really had anything like a Charger until the 69 Grand Prix/Monte Carlo, and the Barracuda was a very different execution of the ponycar with it’s practical but very capable underpinnings. And just the execution of the products, even if basic styling tended to be derivitave, was still executed in a much less conservative way (model names, paisley tops, high impact colors).
GM in my eyes lacks character most of the time, Ford and Chrysler would gamble on unconventional designs and executions. GM may have had stronger design leadership but rarely would they be first break into uncharted segment or completely go off the deep end with a design theme, they were very methodical and evolutionary. Pontiac in the 60s was a rare anomaly in this, their cars oozed character during that time because the division happened to be run by actual living breathing characters, but by the 70s when the 14th floor purged those troublemakers the products were barely any better in execution than these Fury’s were, just better styled.
I know I’m biased but I think its a handsome car, nothing controversial or ugly about it, except of course the oversize bumpers.
With all Chryslers problems in the 70s, I don’t think styling was one them
Nice presentation and interesting. As for Corinthian Leather, that is real leather that was available on Chrysler Cordoba models. Every time I hear the piece by Joaquin Rodrigo that has the music that was used to advertise the Cordoba, I think of Corinthian Leather and Ricardo Mantalban.
OK, I have something nice to say about the ’75 Sport Fury: it was better looking than the ’75 Fury sedans. Those sedans were real bastards, mating the new-for-’75 square front end styling to the hippy, circa-1971 Dodge Coronet sedan body. That’s right, Plymouth did not even bother to reuse the sheetmetal from the ’71 ‘ ’74 Satellite sedans, with the square wheel arches and straight-line body side sculpting–a look that frankly would have been a better fit for the square fronts and more closely matched the 2-door styling. Oh well, Chrysler’s confusion knew few boundaries back then.
Here’s the 1974 Satellite sedan, with the original, more square Plymouth wheel arches.
Wow GN, I had never noticed this! As into Mopars as I was when these were more common, I guess I was sort of tuned out by these. When the sedan did not share in the 1975 refresh I sort of relegated these to the mental trash bin. If we exclude police fleet managers, I think I had a lot of company.
I never noticed this either! Chrysler obviously wanted to save money by having the sedans share as much sheet metal as possible.
People forget today that, in the wake of the 1970 bankruptcy of Penn Central Railroad, nervous lenders began looking at other corporations that had issued large amounts of “commercial paper.” Chrysler had done this, and large financial institutions had to intervene to prevent a “run” on the paper that could have been fatal to Chrysler.
Between this scare, and the failure of the 1969 C-bodies to make real headway in the market, the steam had run out of Townsend’s revival effort. Meanwhile, the corporation had basically given up on quality control (it sticks in my mind that the car with the most sample defects ever recorded by Consumer Reports was a 1970 Plymouth Satellite wagon).
To cut costs, distinctions between Plymouth and Dodge vehicles were eliminated whenever possible (for example, the Dodge and Plymouth C-bodies began sharing the same instrument panel). Plymouth’s use of Dodge’s sedan sheet metal for the Fury was undoubtedly part of that effort.
It all reinforced the public perception that there really wasn’t any difference between Dodge and Plymouth, and made Plymouth virtually irrelevant by 1980.
“… made Plymouth virtually irrelevant by 1980…”
True. In some cases, people will call any Mopar a “Dodge”, example Al Bundy’s car in Married with Children” was called a “Dodge Duster”.
The K cars reinforced the notion of Ply/Dodge as interchangeable.
I blame the “Dodge Duster” line on the ignorance & slacking off of the show’s writers.
As for “interchangeable” cars”: Ford Granada or Mercury Monarch? Chevy Monte Carlo or Pontiac LeMans? Chevy Nova or Oldsmobile Omega? Mercury Grand Marquis or Ford LTD?
My point is: ALL American car manufacturers had “interchangeable” models during the 1970’s and 1980’s; not just Mopar.
They were way deep into body sharing by then – Valiant lost its upright rear end and grille and became a Dart clone about the same time.
It’s too bad there apparently wasn’t enough money to reskin the B sedan (and wagon bodies in the same way – it could be done, as Ford would show with the LTD II / Cougar sedans 2 years later. Especially important for Chrysler since intermediates made up a bigger part of their sales, I believe.
All I think of when I see these sedans is overweight women in doubleknit polyester pants. Because during my 1970s kidhood, 90% of the time that’s what got out of one of these after it parked.
One thing I remember about the 1962 Sport Fury was its popularity on “Leave it to Beaver”. I vividly recall many scenes of Ward Cleaver pulling in to his driveway in one. Wally also took Driver’s Ed in one.
Recently, MeTV has been running the later seasons of Leave It To Beaver. Since the character of Wally was starting to drive by this point, ‘62 and ‘63 Plymouths seemed to get quite a bit of screen time.
Fun fact: At least twice, Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford played a role in damage to Ward’s car. He drove the ‘62 through a puddle and got water in the distributor, and the ‘63’s front fender and headlamp surround was damaged while using the Fury to push Lumpy’s jalopy.
I always assumed that Ward had a company car. New Plymouth every year, except that first year or so when he had a Ford, and didn’t his boss switch from Lincoln to Imperial at about the same time?
vlpnt: Unlike in today’s world; it was possible and common place for middle class Americans to trade up & have a new (or near new) car almost every year in the early 1960’s.
The Cleavers were indeed representative of the families of my friends (and mine) during this time period, those of the WWII/Korean conflict generations who were “making it” and achieving their share of “The American Dream”.
It’s no secret that I’m a big Virgil Exner fan, and I think his contributions to automotive styling was enormous, both at Chrysler directly as well as at competitors who “borrowed” his themes. The long hood/short deck look set the precedent for decades to come, as did the many neoclassical flourishes and heavy sculpting that Exner played with, both at Chrysler and later as an independent designer. The whole mid-sized personal luxury design ethos in many ways links back to these ’62 Plymouths–too bad the ’75 was such a weak interpretation of the genre.
Virgil Exner started young! (Page is from March, 1947 issue of “Mechanix Illustrated.”)
This is actually Virgil Exner Junior. Virgil Sr. was doing artwork for an advertising agency in South Bend in the late 1920s. Studebaker was one of their accounts and he did artwork for some of the advertising and brochures of that era before he took a job at GM about 1933 or 34.
Exner Jr. ended up as a designer at Ford, and he retired from there. Between father and son, they worked at every member of the “Big Three.”
Exner Jr. was living in Florida, but I’ve read that he has since returned to Indiana.
Thanks for the correction! (At 13 in 1947 I thought Jr. would have been just a bit young to take over Chrysler’s styling in the 1950s!) It looks like the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
There was a period in the 40s where Exner had a secret studio in his house as the postwar Studebaker was being developed. Virgil Jr. became close with the stylists and modelers who spent many evenings there so he got quite an early education in vehicle design. As Geeber notes, he had a long career in vehicle styling.
Here’s reminiscences of Virgil Exner Jr. from a 1989 interview:
Virgil Sr.’s boyhood home, a Sears Catalogue Kit house built by his adoptive father, still stands in Buchannan, MI, about 20 min north of downtown South Bend!
Hey Paul — when you do write up the ’62, make note of how that rear quarter panel expresses itself as structure up through the pillar and acts as a cantilever forward to support the roof, while the roof separately cantilevers back towards the trunk without any support. Quite the structural achievement!
The best thing about late seventies malaise Mopars is that they’re often times cheap so you can invest money in speed parts. Plus, nobody will think much of your car so odds are they won’t steal it either! Coincidentally I spotted a similar Fury awhile ago, by the way.
I think that’s a Dodge Monaco, I don’t think Plymouths used those taillights
Nice shot. This is their best angle, and the Monaco tail lights remind me of the 77 DeVille’s.
Nice article about a generic coupe. The zoomy, pre-Star Wars Road Runner rear decal works best (or perhaps worst) with a contrasting color.
I would have gone for the trunk decal delete option(if it existed) the side stripe might have been the inspiration for Starsky and Hutch’s Ford.
The rear decal was an option on the Road Runner but the side stripes were standard.
The rear decal makes it–why would you delete a glorious piece like that?
If the front of the Fury seems a bit too bland, you could hop over to the Dodge dealer and get the same car with a premium, high-zoot split grille!
Maybe they had the matching pants and belt at the dealer too 🙂
The ’62 Plymouth (and to a slightly lesser extent, Dodge) are among my favorite cars of the ’60’s. I think they’ve aged wonderfully in everything except the grille, and the Plymouth grille was fairly attractive. The Dodge version was a bit jarring, but I like it.
Compare it to the current Lexus front end.
Twenty minutes after reading this it occurred to me…..these have had an unusual arena of success. There has been a remote control police car of these ’75ish Sport Furys for years. It’s by some low-end manufacturer, I believe, but I have still seen these on the shelves within the last two years. And I can remember them being sold in the early ’80s, also. The only real difference is somewhere along the way the doors were divided so it’s now a four-door with the Sport Fury rear, not the sedan rear. Naturally, a picture is elusive on this cold morning.
The things we notice.
The only one of these I can really remember belonged to an older woman my grandmother went to church with. She had one and the minister had a ’76 Dodge Royal Monaco coupe. Two distinctly unusual cars generally parked side-by-side when my grandmother drug me to church. At least I remembered something from going.
Funny you mention that–in the mid 80’s I had a matchbox-size police car version of the slightly later stacked-light Fury. And it was a coupe, which seems really odd when you think about it.
The Hot Wheels police car casting was for years and years based on a Fury/Monaco sedan of this era, but it was a very loose interpretation (perhaps to avoid having to pay licensing fees?).
The Cordoba, through most of it’s genesis was supposed to be a Plymouth. An answer to the personal coupe question, and would have been called “Premiere” However when Chrylser realized they needed a “smaller’ car to help sales oin the wake o the fuel crisis, they simply “Took” the Premiere from Plymouth, added Chrysler specific trim and redubbed it ‘”Cordoba” Plymouth went wanting and had to come up with a last minute replacement, cheaply… This might have been the first act in what would cost Plymouth its life.
In my opinion, this wasn’t the first act in the demise of Plymouth.
The die was cast in 1960, when Dodge ads dared buyers to compare the lower-priced, full-sized Dart not only to the “C-car” and “F-car,” but to the “P-car,” as well.
Plymouth also had bad timing from its very start. It was introduced by Chrysler as a lower-priced make in 1928; in that same year, Chrysler bought Dodge, which was an established, high-volume make. Plymouth always had to compete with its sister divisions to find its unique place in the corporate hierarchy, let alone justify its reason for existing.
I heard it was going to be called the Grand Era.
Seeing these two side by side really brings home Chrysler’s downsizing blunder of the early sixties. I was born in 1963 so the mid seventies is where I became aware of cars and their places in the world.
I know the 75 was in no way thought of as anything other than midsize so to have the 62 be marketed in the same breath as Impalas and galaxies of the era makes me amazed Chrysler survived!
Ya’ll can take all the cheap shots ya’ll can spew out….but I still would welcome a ’62 Fury/Belevedere 2 door in MY driveway.
318/361 engine, push button Torqueflite, power steering and factory A/C, please.
If a ’62 Plymouth was good enough for Ward Cleaver; it’s good enough for me!
Who’s taking cheap shots at it?
Make mine a mid-year revision Sport Fury with the 383, buckets and otherwise the same as yours. My ultimate Mopar.
No, not you, Paul, my apologies if you took it that way, more the …other posters…on this thread and past replies.
(I’ve never forgotten any Mopar slight/cheap shot/knock that I have read here on other articles.)
The impression these 75 Furys have always left me with is the idea that whoever was in charge of the styling wanted a car that from the front looked like a Monte Carlo….”only make it look cheaper”.
I actually liked the 71 and 72 Satellite coupes, the 73 and 74 I’ve always felt had a closer kinship to the 62 Fury, but the 75 on cars just look so dull.
If the term had been common back then, they could have called the 75 and later Plymouths The Generic.
BTW a look at The Encyclopedia of American Cars shows that the wheelbase of the 62 Fury and these 75 Furys is very close at 115 inches give or take and inch or two. It’s the curb weights that at quite different with the newer car 10-15% heavier. With the newer car using smog-strangled engine of about the same displacements it is no wonder they were more sluggish.
Here’s my stab at saying something nice: I genuinely like the stylish, script font typography of the “Sport” badge on the C-pillar, and I’ve always liked the “frog legs” Plymouth badge of this era.
As for the car itself, it’s not the most unattractive, domestic thing on wheels from its model year (and I’m not even talking about the AMC Matador coupe, which I like a lot), but my mind is stuck on the top-bottom collage of the Fury and Cordoba. How can two cars so opposite each other on the attractiveness scale be so closely related (on the same *platform*, even)?
Just because a car is lower in prestige than it’s platform-mate doesn’t mean you have to make it homely/unattractive on purpose.
I wonder if there were any other ’75 Sport Fury styling proposals that came out, where management said, “Nope, sorry. Too attractive. Hit that clay just a little with the ‘ugly stick’ and then send a wire up to my office so I can check it out.”
With that said, I am completely aware that the Cordoba was originally designed as a Plymouth. The actual Plymouth may simply not have had as much / enough development time in the styling studio once it was determined the Cordoba / “Plymouth Gran Coupe” would go to Chrysler.
Interesting question about the styling proposals. Hemmings Classic Car did a piece on Chrysler Designer Steven Bollinger and the work he did for the B-Body refresh/personal luxury coupes. These renderings from 1972 look more interesting to me than the final finished product
The front of the proposal at lower right is almost a dead ringer for the ’73 Buick Century, if it had come out in ’72 and didn’t have 5 MPH bumpers.
What issue was that article in?
Chrysler swung to ‘lux-look’ with their ’74 C’s and ’75 B bodies. Trying to mimic both Ford and GM’s big sellers.
And, with renaming Satellite as Fury, they could say it was “an all new small Fury!” Making it look like they ‘whipped it up overnight’ due to gas crisis.
Sales of 2 doors were to some who couldn’t afford a Cordoba, IMO.
Actually, you do have to make the expensive one look better than the cheap one.
Chrysler did this particularly with the 1968 Charger.
I agree with you (and this is a somewhat obvious principle), but I guess what I was thinking is there should be an automatic “stop” somewhere down the uglification scale in terms of making the downmarket car look less impressive than the pricier car.
BTW, the ’68 Charger is one of my favorite cars of the late 60’s. The styling still looks great today. The only thing I don’t super-love about it is the relatively upright windshield compared with the rakish lines of the rest of the car.
Well, I love the ’62 and would happily take the ’75 too. (with a paint job, nice wheels and set up the right way)
Maybe I’m missing something looking at this on a phone, but I prefer it to the Cordoba.
I owned a ’75 Fury, 25 years ago. It was a rustbucket that a friend gave up on when a leaf spring bracket rusted off the unitbody and broke through the trunk floor. He drove it like that for a while and didn’t notice.
It was a Cordoba knock-off, with a plush velour interior and a 318. Typical Chrysler numb, light steering made it less pleasant to drive than a GM car but at least it was a manageable size.
The car was stolen before I did much to it. I didn’t care too much because I thought the cars were common and cheap. But these days there’s almost none left, not even wrecks. Rarely a decent one pops up at a higher price.
You guys area riot. Thanks for some good reading, nostalgia and laughs with your comments. In 1975, all hardtop Plymouth and Dodge intermediates had four windows that operated In 1976 that changed. In order to have the rear windows roll down, one needed to order “P31” which is “power windows.” Huh? Crazy? What kind of decision was that one?
I’m not so sure that all 1975 intermediate Chrysler coupes had rear quarter windows that rolled down, inasmuch as the cheapest 1971-74 coupes (such as the basic 1971 Charger Coupe) had fixed quarter windows. In fact I’ve never seen a ’75 (or even a ’73 or ’74 Charger or Satellite) with all four windows rolled down, not once in the 40+ years since they were new.
He js correct, all “hardtops” not the coupes. Hardtops have 23 in VIN, coupes have 21.
My brother had that exact car in the same exact color (plus a red canopy top) in the mid-80s and I don’t think I’ve seen one like it since.. It was a good car with 318 and I think he had for about 4 or 5 years. I don’t remember it being problematic., and he was pretty hard on his cars so I would call it a win.
I can hear the distinctive starte whine and valves ticking in my mind already. Probably a slight exhaust leak as well. Smell that old car smell. Feel it dip to the right front as you steer it away from the curb.
In the nose, I see Monte styling. but I also see the Granada as well.
This would be a whole different story if the pictured car were restored or better kept, I think.
Ah yes, the notorious MoPar heat riser valves. They all seemed to develop leaks after about 2 years. The leak would usually let exhaust gas weaken the spring which then caused the heat riser valve to rattle when cold. Even though I worked at a Ford dealer, I fixed a lot of these. It seems every other used MoPar we got in trade had this problem.
Chrysler stuck with this defective heat riser design for at least 20 years. They weren’t the only manufacturer that kept bad designs in production either. This particular design was a minor annoyance rather than a major problem, but it sure says a lot about attitude.
I “fixed” several of these rattling heat risers with the deft application of a coat hanger wrapped around ’em.
The 75 is just what is was designed to be, the cheap version intermediate in the Chrysler hierarchy. Someone asked why they made the cheap versions homely, and the simple answer was to make buyers want the more expensive version. This was nearing the end of the poverty spec versions, where manufacturers made similar cars for the brands but wanted to emphasize that you bought the cheapest, and thus, ugliest version to shame you into buying the next up brand. I give credit to the 62 Mopar line in taking chances in late 1961 and going downsized and radical. It was a gamble that they lost, but it produced cars that look like nothing else. It broke from tradition, and for a country supposedly based on individuality, it should have worked. Instead, we are stuck in a world of people conforming to a stereotype “rebel”, looking just like every other rebel around them. At least, should you dare own the 75 Fury, you would belong to a minority, a true rebel amongst the conforming crowd.
Excellent JFrank. An observation that could apply to so many things out there that are considered “individuality”.
Around the same era, ‘poverty spec’ base models were usually bought by elderly, who had vivid memories of the Great Depression. So, younger buyers wanted “flair” and “style”, like vinyl tops, full wheel covers, etc.
Stripped trims were largely gone by the 80’s, example the base big [civilian] Ford being LTD Crown Vic, with standard vinyl top and full wheel covers.
Poverty spec models had several purposes. This was also a byproduct of advertising MSRPs in ads. By having a stripper, you could offer the “lowest base price of any brand! ” when, in fact, the car most would purchase would have many options added. The base/stripper would sit on the lot, waiting for the frugal patron to purchase, while others drawn in by the low price would leave with one costing much more. I remember used cars being advertised as having a heater! That was a big deal on a used 1960 Falcon in 1968! Now, even the cheapest subcompact comes fairly loaded, with air, some form of stereo, power windows, etc. I purchased a used 2008 Kia and the only thing it did not have that I ever noticed was no cruise control. AC/Auto/PS/PB/CD stereo and such all came standard. Toyota is said to have started that with the AM/FM radios in all the cars. When they figured that it was cheaper to purchase thousands of the same radio and install it rather than have 8 optional ones (plus delete), it changed the way manufacturers treated what had been optional before.
The only problem with the Exner ’62’s was that they seemed “different” from GM and Ford and the buying public has never bought “different” cars in any great number. It also didn’t help that Chevrolet was perhaps at its peak during this era, turning out almost a million stunning Impalas a year. Even Ford was on its game with attractive Galaxies. The public was still thinking bigger was better and these never had a chance.
Not feelin’ the hate here for the ’75 Sport Fury. In fact, I like the trunk and talights better than the Cordoba. A problem for the Fury was that Cordoba got all the press, advertising and heavy marketing. No one knew these existed. Also, as back in 1962, Plymouth’s timing sucked and these were no match for the hot-selling Monte Carlo.
We must not forget that the original concept for the 62 Plymouth and the actual car are two very different things. The production car’s design language was originally intended for a standard wheelbase Plymouth. It was a management edict that forced a crash program to make the cars (that were already well along in planning) smaller.
I remember these as a big improvement over the 74 styling at the time. I (at about 16) figured that these would be a hit for Plymouth. But I was wrong.
Compared to the Gran Torino/Montego 2 doors at Ford, I considered these very attractive. I wonder if things would have been better if the 4 door had gotten fresh sheetmetal from the rear doors on back as well. The 4 doors were every bit as ugly as Matador sedans then. I still like these. Perhaps that old-style hardtop roof was one of the things that killed it. This one works better than the one on the 74 C bodies, but everyone was gaga over opera windows then. Once again Chrysler hit the spot where GM had been in about 1972.
Plymouth really started to die after 1970 or 71. By 1974 they went from odd styling and so-so quality to generic/normal styling with much worse than average quality. Ugly as the 70s Torino was, it gave you a feeling of being in a solid car when you got in and shut the door. Not these.
Plymouth sales were actually decent in the early 1970s. It regained third place in 1971 and 1974, thanks to strong sales of the Valiant and Duster. Sales hit an all-time record for 1973, although the marque was pushed out of third place.
The fuel crisis hammered the full-size Plymouth Fury, and it never recovered (neither did the Dodge Monaco). This car wasn’t strong enough to take up the slack.
After 1974, there was little differentiation between the Dodge and Plymouth versions of corporate vehicles, which drove home the idea that Plymouth had no real image. It seemed as though the corporation threw in the towel on the marque after 1973, and basically viewed it as way to give Chrysler-Plymouth dealers a cheaper car line to sell. The arrival of the Cordoba and LeBaron – without any true Plymouth counterparts – reinforced that impression.
As for the comparison with the Torino – the much better interiors of the Ford were enough to sway buyers. While the 1975 Fury sedans were more plush than their predecessors, the deluxe interiors of the 1971-74 intermediate Plymouths look painfully plain compared to what a buyer could get in a top-of-the-line Torino. Ford simply built a better brougham than Plymouth did.
Full size Fury died with the ’74 flop. And led to demise of the brand, along with earlier demotions.
The Duster carried Plymouth during 74-75, but then Volare was given up on after the quality image took a hit. Reliant was in Aries/LeBaron shadow.
The last minute attempt in the 90’s with Breeze and the Mayflower logo was too late.
My mother bought a Plymouth Horizon in 1980. She had never before owned a new Mopar of any kind and to her Plymouth = Cheap. I don’t think Plymouth had really generated any brand equity since the end of the flathead era, other than with some into performance. By the 70s Plymouth did not mean economical, it did not mean luxury, it did not mean style, it didn’t mean much of anything other than “better than AMC, but not by much.”
Perhaps this warrants it’s own QOTD: What car did you find bland when it came out, but appreciate more today? ”
That, for me, would be the downsized Fury sedans [as well as the 2 doors]. I see them in old movies and think: “That’s a good looking car”, when at the time they seems dull and boring.
It may well be the riot of “flame surfacing” everyone is using these days that makes the Fury and Dodge equivalent so attractive today.
I always thought my parent’s 78 Fury four door in Spinnaker White with maroon vinyl top was good looking, but bland. It looks better to me today. Perhaps why I find the VAG products so attractive. Compared to their competition they seem “restrained” rather than bland. How I view the 70s B Bodies.
Many thanks to those who posted pictures of them. They are a treat.
The ’62 vs. ’75 shot: Classic example of why, when I was a youngster in the ’70s, I thought, “Wow, those ’50s and early ’60s cars are so sleek and beautiful; and the cars we’re building now (’70s) are so….bleah!” So I had this “old man’s” nostalgia viewpoint going at age 11–“They don’t make ’em like they used to!” This applied to a lot of other consumer products of the time as well.
Also, my opinion on this still has not changed, although I now drive a 2005 Jaguar S-Type as daily driver and it’s far more refined than the older cars (to reference another recent CC entry.) The ’70s were “peak malaise” except for certain special cars like the black ’78 Lincoln in XEQUAR’s entry.
GN pointed out something I’d never noticed before about the B-body sedans of these years, and JP Cavanaugh nailed it home – the sedans should’ve been the ones to get the new butt, maybe along with a GM hardtop/Ford LTD II style third “opera” window to lighten the C pillars. Since there probably wasn’t budget for both, the Coronet/”Small Fury” coupes could hold out one more year with ’71-4 sheetmetal behind the front doors before the Aspen/Volare coupes took over for their lower/sportier end (as indeed happened with the Road Runner) with the Cordoba having knocked it out of the park on the persolux side.
Funny you mention that, because the Aspen/Volare were originally designed to replace both the Dart/Valiant and the B-Bodies – Chrysler’s product planning team discovered the demographics for both were virtually the same. I think they were wrong, because people bought compacts and intermediates for different reasons, but they may have been right.
A lot of what ifs here – like if they had redone the sedan and wagon bodies in ’75, they could have dropped the Dodge and Plymouth C-bodies for ’77 and competed more head-to-head with GM’s downsized B-bodies.
Or, what If they’d introduced a Chrysler B-body in 1965 along with the Coronet and Belvedere. Saratoga, maybe? There was share to be taken from Mercury , Buick and Olds, but it might have been too tight a comparison next to the Belvedere. That car could have become the Newport in ’77, leaving only the New Yorker Brougham as a C-body.
Well, I guess the nicest thing I can say about this is that I’m really looking forward to the 62 Plymouth CC.
As we discussed on our ACD museum trip the plucked chicken mopars are some of my favorites. The 75 not so much…
Chrysler products always did better in Canada in terms of market share. There were lots of these around on the prairies. In fact, the RCMP in my town had a couple as GIS/Narc Squad units. I guess they trying to be extra-stealthy by using 2-doors. Those of us in the know could spot them by the “disguise antenna”. It was an exact copy of a factory broadcast band antenna, but much shorter. I once witnessed one (circa 1979) lay a healthy patch jumping a red light while trying to keep a surveillance suspect in sight, so I assume they had 400s.
“And just where is the “Sport” in this car anyway?”
Why, he’d be sitting in the driver’s seat behind the wheel of a 70s Malaisemobile!
‘Sport’ is so overused as a trim package, and these days some brands use it as base model. Example is some Jeeps.
For ’75, the Fury Sport was not meant to be like the 60’s versions, just a fancier trim. Same as the Dart Sport, which replaced the Demon in ’73, just a Dodge version of Duster.
The ’75-’76 Fury front styling is bland to be sure, but it’s still better than the stacked-headlight grimace that followed for 1977.
The stacked-headlight front looked REALLY bad on the sedans and wagons. That formal front was mated to the 1971-era fuselage body, and it just didn’t work.
+1 for me this will always be the front end of a car that is certain to get destroyed in every 1980s TV show.
I guess I don’t understand the disdain for the Sport Fury. It was quite the mainstream mid-sized coupe for the mid 1970’s. Well, actually, it was on the lower end of the scale, but that’s where Plymouth was supposed to be in the MoPar hierarchy. Even if Plymouth laid the groundwork for the Cordoba…
There was little that was groundbreaking about the car; the mid to late 1970’s was the beginning of the end of the domestic car superiority. While many foreign makes had FWD, fuel injection, radial tires and four wheel disc brakes, US car makers reveled in our truck motors, truck bodies (body on frame) and truck tires. Built strong and simple, except when they weren’t. Then they were nothing but a pain.
Beyond the body & interior, there’s not much of a difference between the 1962 and 1975 models. That said, I find these cars delightful in their simplicity. It would take some effort, but living with one of these 40+ years later would be feasible. It wouldn’t be exactly inexpensive, either. The Ram 2500 fuel mileage would get old quickly. And the lack of safety equipment would be a concern also.
An older write up of the 1975 Fury Sport: https://www.hemmings.com/magazine/hcc/2010/10/Sporty-Transition—1975-Plymouth-Fury/3690561.html
If you want nothing but positive puff pieces, Hemmings is the place to go. They will never say anything negative, as they’re in the business of selling old cars. We speak our minds, even if it’s ugly. Which it often was, I’m sorry to say.
This line left me scratching my head:
Soft rubber biscuits isolated the body for a softer, quieter approach to interior comfort. All of this was to aid in improved impact resistance and a greater feeling of solidity throughout the car.
What? Soft rubber mounting biscuits to isolate the body?? On a unibody car??? Oh well….
Chry-co was copying GM’s mid size cars, first with single headlamps, and then the stacked square ones. Only the Cordoba, with Chrysler brand cachet, sold well.
Police agencies got B bodies cheap, and then a certain TV show trashed them.
I would own and drive the burgundy ’75 pictured in a heartbeat!
I’ve always adored the ’62 Plymouth all the way around. Especially the front end, with its big circles and fine mesh concave grille. Futuristic proportions. It’s the perfect “Space Age” car. I’m looking forward to what you have to say about it.
The ’75? I never even noticed it. It does make an interesting comparison with the ’62, good observation. The ’62 could have said, “Suddenly it’s 1975!”
Photo by Laurence Jones from his 2012 CC.
I, too, really admire the 62 Fury. I actually like the Praying Mantis 1961 as well, and comparing the 61 and 62, the 62 seems toned down. I look at it this way: some love Dali paintings, and some love Norman Rockwell. Both are great artists, contemporaries timewise, and talented in ways I could never imagine, but middle America loves Rockwell and thinks Dali paintings are artistic garbage. Conservative always appeals to the larger crowd, but in the end, who is more collectable, and who commands higher prices? And who ends up happier? The guy with the boring but dependable wife, or the one who married the high-maintenance redhead with the DDs? Depends on who you ask…..
I’m pretty sure that early 1960s GM cars – particularly full-size Chevrolets and Pontiacs – bring higher prices than comparable Mopars today. If a 1962 Plymouth or Dodge is worth a lot of money, it’s because it has a high-performance drivetrain.
They may be more conservative, but the GM cars are simply better looking – better proportioned, with more deft detailing and an overall more cohesive look.
Yes, you are correct, and that is part of my point. What is more collectable? You gave that the answer is whatever is coveted by more, rather than what is more intensely desired by an individual. GM products are probably still owned by more people. but the Mopars seem to have a more fervent following, and not just for the powertrains. As to one looking better, that is your subjective opinion. Not wrong, but your opinion, as others may find the Mopars better looking. Granted that is probably the minority, but that does not negate THEIR opinion over yours. The proportions, detailing and overall cohesiveness you see in GM cars comes across as bland, boring, and predictable to others. Not the majority, but to some. As I asked, who is happier? A man married to a stable woman, reliable, sane, and predictable, or a high maintenance redhead with a great pair? It ultimately depends on who you ask.
At this point, I’d say that the prices each respective manufacturer’s cars fetch on the collector-car market is a perfect indication of how intensely desired their products are by individuals. We’ve had over half a century to judge these cars, and individuals voting with their dollars appear to prefer the GM cars, given that they will pay more for them.
These cars are now being bought for sheer fun – I doubt anyone is buying a 1962 Fury or Impala to commute to work at this point, or because they need one – so I’d say that the GM cars have maintained their appeal over the past half century.
I love seeing early 1960s Mopars at car shows – probably more than I live seeing comparable GM cars. The Mopars are rarer, which makes seeing a nice one more of a pleasant surprise. Their offbeat styling also appeals to me. But these cars almost sank the entire corporation, and Chrysler management ran as fast as it could away from the overall look of these cars.
Plus they always had a bigger fan base from the very beginning. Most people would consider buying GM. There was a time when most would *not* consider buying Chrysler. Popularity when new usually translates to popularity (and higher prices) when old.
I’m with you JFrank on all points. I love the ’61s almost as much, especially the grill design. I also agree with your Rockwell/Dali analogy. I’m very fond of the ’61 Ford since we had a new Sunliner in my childhood and it is a clean, classic design. And I’d be proud to cruise around in a ’62 Impala. But the Forward Look cars tickle my passion. This ’62 Plymouth is exciting, daring, an amazing thing for one of the low-priced three.
The finless Forward Look cars are more Space Age, which is my sub-generation, while the earlier finned ones are Jet Age. Wonderful but just a bit before my time.
1962 was the year of America’s first manned orbital flight (John Glenn), and Telstar, the first communications satellite. The Space Race was on! Even in the music! The Plymouth somehow has this excitement.
Thanks, Mike. I guess that those of us who are a part of that generation are more likely to like and desire these cars. Early 60s jazz, mid-century modern, and pop art all hit at this time. None of them really went mainstream, and never had the financial success that others who followed a more conservative bent did. Ford and GM products of the same time period, while better sellers, are more Perry Como and Pat Boone versus Chick Corea. You can enjoy all of them, even though they are very different. I think a lot of people conflate popularity with units produced and purchased new. By that reasoning, the ultimate collector car of today is a Camry, with a F-150 being the one to bet the farm on collecting. Yes, there are more contemporary Impalas, but that is more a result of more GM being the market leader and more Impalas being sold new, and collectors of today being more likely driven to school in one, or having one as a first car. GM was the reality of the moment as the best seller, but Chrysler really reflected the era’s vibe more accurately, at least to my eyes. YMMV,
Amen! Preach on!
had a 75 roadrunner 400 4 barrel. wish I still had it. here’s a nice 75 fury.https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/cars-for-sale/plymouth/fury/2016636.html
I inherited my dads 75 Sport Fury. I replaced the 400 with a 440 and added Nos. Panted her black tinted the windows jacked up back end and added 295/50r 15 mags.
Total sleeper but looked mean as hell from behind. Also painted grill black and removed rubber bumper padds to make her look more clean. Kinda looked like this but with wider mags.
Looking forward to your ’62 piece!
These ’75s look great from behind, ok from the front, but oddly willowy at the sides. At least the coupe got a new body, while the wagon and even the sedan were stuck with mostly carryover sheet metal.
It’s a pity the 71-72 Satellite Sebring wasn’t what people were after… that was the last good-looking unique Plymouth. By this Fury, Plymouth was just a clone zone and they really started to get starved of product once Chrysler stepped downmarket. I wonder what the fleet sales percentage was on these.
The most perplexing decision by Chrysler in the 70s was selling this very coupe, for one year only, as a Charger and Charger Sport. Then, in 1977 it was gone and there was the Monaco. 3 names for the same coupe in just 3 years!
As a kid, I bought into the common wisdom that the new-for-62 Plymouth and Dodge were way off the mark and just plain weird-looking. But from a perspective of 55 years on, both cars have proportions and style features much more in common with modern cars. For example there’s no long, long rear end that now looks so dated (and went extinct once the Ford Panther platform ceased production earlier this decade). But I still can’t abide the front end of the 62 Dodge!
I actually like most of this car. Ok the front end is kind of a rip off of a Chevy Malibu colonnade front end ( but better in my opinion).
The biggest draw back is the c pillar. If it was a little further back over the rear wheel well with bigger glass for the rear side windows I think it would look a lot better. But I still wouldn’t kick one out of my driveway.
The first car I bought was a ’74 Roadrunner that I ordered in 5/74. It was supposed to be “Silver Frost Metallic” with red stripes, 360 Auto, black interior, basically as below:
Somehow, someway, the dealer screwed up the order sheet and it came as a Satellit Sebring, Baby shit green with a half vinyl top. It had a 400 and a black and white checkered seat! I refused to by it, even though the owner of the dealership was going to sell it very cheaply. I told him I would take it for that price, IF he painted it black. He refused. He said the order had been refiled, but it might come as a ’75. I told him if it did, I didn’t want it, as I thought, and still do, that the ’75 redesign was a disaster. Just before Thanksgiving ( I had almost given up on it), I was going down Rt. 25 between Maumee and Bowling Green Ohio (BG was where the dealer was) and I passed a transporter headed South with my car, and an Identically equipped ’75.
I stupidly traded the RR in 1977 for a ’77 Power Wagon, and almost instantly regretted it. I was happy to discover a couple of years ago, the RR is still alive and has been restored to a point far better than it ever was, with a 487″ stroked 440 an overdrive and more. It looks great. Someday, I hope to make it back to Vegas to get the drive the present owner has promised me.
When the ’62 Chrysler products came out I was 14 years old. I loved the fin cars, even the 61 Dodges, for sheared fins, even the Plymouth wasn’t bad, except for the front end, which at the time I hated. (over the years, I’ve seen 61 Plymouths with 61 Dodge, 60 Plymouth, 62 Chrysler 300, and 63 Dodge 880 front clips, which ALL looked better than the original clip, the 880 looked best) Of the 62’s I loved the Chryslers (and later 880s,) the Imperial was okay but I liked the Plymouth very much, and loved the Dart and Polara. In buying and selling I went through quite a few 62 Plymouths and Dodges, and kept a few for some time. I had two Fury convertibles, a light blue Fury with blue/white interior, and white top, 361, 4bbl, duals, power steering, brakes, auto, r & h, and a Sports Fury convert in the Chrysler off white I love with same shade of white top, black and white interior, full power A/C, auto, and 383, 2x4bbls and the mid year added chrome strips and triple tail lights. I also had a red w/white top 62 Dart and black Polara 500 convertibles, both pretty loaded with 383’s and the Polara had 2x4bbls. This was in the late 60’s, I was in my late teens, I could get and keep what I wanted, and I kept these four for some time because I liked them very much, the looks, the power was remarkable because they were so light compared to full sized cars. The handling was superb, they did everything well and were just plain fun to drive. My 57 Belvedere convertible out handled and out ran sports cars, the 62’s were better. The 62 300H convertible was wilder still, but a different matter. Most cars I kept any length of time were performance cars, and those witth 383’s were as powerful as 400+ cube engines from others, one Dodge 330 2 door sedan I bought for $150 had been a drag car, lightened, with 413, and not much else, was great fun at the strip. I already had my 63 Electra convertible, and deciding which cars to keep, my Electra won as it has for over 50 years and the Mopars were sold. I still think of them often and well, and wish either of the 62 Dodge or the Sports Fury convert was back. Before I stopped buying and selling I had a 75 Fury Sport 2 door, 360, auto and full power with A/C, black, with tan interior, whitewalls and Magnum 500 wheels. BTW the rear windows did not move, there was nowhere for them to go, the rear wheel wells were to close. For the time it was a decent performer, but my main reason for keeping it for awhile, when parked next to my 64 Imperial Crown, in black with champagne interior, it looked like a little brother. A lot of the 75’s styling came from the Imperial, the trunk is a near 64-65 Imp copy and the front if it had quad horizontal headlights would have looked the same, even the sides with wheel well and rocker trim was similar. it was clean styling in black I had 23 64-65-66 Imperials them, and thinning the herd also disposed of the 75.
The photo sent by nrd515 reminded me of a tour the Imperial Club did of an Air Force base in NorCal, touring the base, we passed quite a number of high performance cars stored, most looking near new. From a 1963 Pontiac Catalina with 421 tri power, through lots of Plymouth Mopars with 440’s, there were two ’74 Road Runners in the same paint scheme built for speed. These were all chase cars to be able to help high speed aircraft land and had to run 130-140 mph. The newest chase cars were Holden/Pontiac sedans. Unrelated, we learned the SR71 used twin Buick 425’s to start them. They had tried everything else. They used Lincoln 460’s briefly, but they lasted a short time. Look forward to CC article on 62 Plymouths from Paul N, I hope he had a chance to drive some of them.
Something nice? I actually like the tail styling. Interesting detailing, even on the bumper, and the angular center section presages the nearly identical (though taller) treatment the Mercury Cougar coupe wore for ’77.
The rest of the car? Yeah, pretty bland. But I like the tail styling every bit as much as the Cordoba.
Here is a slightly better looking version of the ’75 Fury—
Great observation, Paul. And I can hardly wait for your full write-up on the ’62. Like you, I’ve come to appreciate the styling more and more over the years, with the possible exception of the rather bare rear end. And the interior boasts one of the era’s cooler dashboards. Interestingly, the planned full-size Plymouth was also the only one of the aborted full-size ’62s that didn’t look bizarre.
As for the ’75, at least it looked more coherent than the sedans and wagons, pity there wasn’t money to do them as well, especially as Chrysler was more competitive in intermediates than full size cars. That said, putting “Sport” in curlicue script has to be one of the ultimate acts of automotive irony.
Sorry to comment on such an old thread. My father had one of these Sport Fury cars, that he bought new in 1975 in Vancouver, Canada. It may not have been inspiring but it was a solid car that survived at least 5 cold northern Canada winters – snow, salt, -40 temperatures, and gravel roads. Dad had a 120-mile daily commute for some of those years, plus he used the car to pull a trailer and 21-foot sailboat for thousands of miles. I think the point about it being like a poor cousin of the Cordoba is a valid one. I was only 5 then, but I remember that a lot of the other cars on the lot looked much flashier. Dad traded in a 1969 fastback Barracuda for it; the Barracuda had failed a road-safety and the bank wouldn’t loan him the money to fix it, but they would approve a new-car loan, of course. As I recall, aside from a brake issue that happened within the first few months of ownership, he had very few problems with the car over the 6 years he owned it, and the person he sold it to drove it for at least another 10 years. Sadly, I have no pictures of it to share. Dad’s car had a white vinyl interior, a 318 automatic, and was originally a metallic pale green, but he repainted it red after a few years. I will post a really nice interior pic of a ’75 I found on the web.
hmm. doesn’t look like I kept that promise. Better late than never.
Hey Paul, what part of OR was this car in? Portland metro? I’d like to find it.
Let me know, thanks!