1964 Plymouth Fury

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The 1964 Plymouth Fury should be getting a lot more love than it is. Yes, it is true that the Plymouth Fury started out as your grandma’s car, but that changed. The Fury and Super Fury models from 1963 and 1964 ushered in the muscle car era.

The Evolution of a Grandma Car

1956 Plymouth Belvedere

1956 Plymouth Belvedere with Fury trim. CC 2.0 BY Greg Gjerdingen.

The Fury line started life as a Plymouth Belvedere sub-model in 1956. It was a rather plain looking car but had a 290 hp V-8 with a four-barrel carburetor.

In 1958 Plymouth added the 350 cubic inch Golden Commando option and it had 350 hp. Believe it or not, you could get a Bendix fuel injection system on that grandma car. Most people remember the 1958 model because it had a starring role in the Stephen King movie, Christine.

In 1959 the Fury designation replaced the entire Belvedere line, and it was made up of sedans and station wagons. At the top of the order was the Sport Fury which was only available in a two-door hardtop and convertible. The Sport Fury only lasted a year, but the Plymouth division began using the marque again in 1962.

The 1959 Fury was something to behold. It was more flamboyant than the Christine car. It was long and low and had embarrassingly large fins. It is hard to imagine that it was considered sporty at the time, but it did appeal to a certain segment of people in middle America and was a big seller.

When you see a 1959 Fury at a car show these days, you always admire the guts of the designers for creating and marketing such a beast.

Enter the Muscle Era

Things didn’t begin to change at the Plymouth division until 1962. They got rid of the fins and gave the car a more modest, modern look. The newer models weighed far less than earlier models. yet retained the engines that were needed to power the heavier series.

In 1963, the Plymouth Fury began taking on more classic muscle car lines. It had better proportions front and rear, and it became very popular on the dragstrip circuit because of its powerful 426 cubic inch Hemi.

1964_plymouth_fury2

A 1964 Plymouth Fury 426 in all its mighty dragstrip glory.

1964 was probably the crowning year for the Plymouth Fury. It had the kind of refined looks that had escaped Plymouth designers for many years.

It was light-weight, clean and well-sculpted with its “slantback” roofline.

You could buy it with the 318 cubic inch V-8, the popular 383 cubic inch power plant with 330 hp, or the 426 cubic inch Hemi rated at 365 hp. Of course, car aficionados grabbed up those Hemi’s for racing, and few of them remained at the lowly 365 hp.

Oh No, Grandma Again

In 1965, Plymouth began making big, heavy cars again. There were three models of the Fury, cleverly known as the Fury I, Fury II and Fury III.

All these models were bloated full-size cars that hearkened back to the pre-1960 era. Lots of these cars were used by the police and by taxi companies.

Thank Heaven for the “B” Body Platform

However, they began using the “B”body platform again in 1968, which was the basis of the Belvedere, Satellite, and GTX. The specifications began to look again like the 1964 Plymouth Fury.

For example, the Plymouth Satellite had a 117-inch wheelbase and was of a similar weight to the 1964 Fury, and still used the same powerful power plants that they had previously offered. The Plymouth Satellite/Dodge Coronet where the seeds of The Plymouth Road Runner and the Dodge Super Bee.

For all practical purposes, these cars were a reincarnation of the 1964 Plymouth Fury/Dodge Polara.

So, the Plymouth Fury started out as a bloated matronly car but was slimmed down into one fast, good looking machine by 1964. The Fury line bloated again until the brand ended its glory days as a fleet vehicle in 1989. The “B” body cars remained in the 60’s and 70’s as Plymouth tried to build a street-racing reputation.

There are many who think the 1964 Plymouth Fury was the original muscle car. It qualifies because of the weight to horsepower ratio, it’s quickness on the street and dragstrip, and it’s great styling.