MAY 28, 2013 (JUNE 2013): A 1960 PLYMOUTH FURY CONVERTIBLE RIDES OUT THE LAST YEARS OF THE EXNER DREAM

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Most car guys knew that the Chrysler Corporation bought into the finned look in a big way during the 50s.

 

The baby fins on the 1955 Plymouth were the base point for the rapid evolution into giant finned warriors by the time the 1960 Plymouth hit the showroom.

 

It was the stuff of winged dreams for devout Mopar fans who worshiped at the throne of Virgil Exner, the man behind the fins at Chrysler.

 

 

 

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However the dream was over by 1960 because the finned look had run its course in Motown and the advent of the 60s had changed the game for the style of cars in that era.

 

The 1960 Chevy Impala still had a carry-over look from the 1959 Chevy Impala, but the 1960 Ford Galaxie was a whole new beast in the lineup. There was very little way to link a 1959 Ford Galaxie to a 1960 Galaxie from a simple visual inspection.

 

 

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The 1960 Plymouth Fury was clearly a relative of the 1959 Plymouth Fury and it marked the last time a Plymouth would ever wear a set of vertical fins. The end of the fins was the final curtain for the Exner influence on Chrysler’s style philosophy and Mr. Exner’s exit from the Mopar family was not a happy one for either party.

 

 

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The 1960 Plymouth was a wild-looking beast-even by the finned standards that preceded it in the Fabulous Fifties. The cars disappeared from the automotive landscape in a hurry when their outdated look failed to stir the hearts and minds of 1960s used car owners.

 

Ownership of a 1960 Plymouth in the 60s and 70s was not exactly a high water moment for its owners. The cars were an unwanted reminder of a bygone automotive era that many people would rather have forgotten at the time, outside of the iconic Tri-Five Chevies.

 

They were unloved and disposable because not enough people saw any beauty in the cars, so they were doomed to meet the crusher simply because of their appearance in many cases. That is the precise reason that the 1960 Plymouths are now rock stars at any car show: they are rare and in hot demand with a new breed of Fury fan.

 

 

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Karl Johnson has always been a Mopar man and he is old enough to remember when a 1960 Plymouth was brand new on the road. Even better, he always loved the Exner era and seized an opportunity to own a ’60 Fury when it came his way.

 

A buddy of Karl’s owned a pretty rough 1960 Fury convertible and asked Karl whether he was interested in the classic old Plymouth. Karl jumped at the chance to buy the Fury eleven years ago and finished his restoration four years ago.

 

 

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The original 361 cubic inch engine was very tired and Karl had a fresh Slant Six engine in a 2 door post ’60 Plymouth that he used as a replacement heart in the Fury. The six gives him a steady 70 mph pace on the highway through the push button automatic transmission.

 

 

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Karl is a practical man who knew that his inventory of parts would get the Fury back on the road where it would be the main event at any car show.

 

 

It is a good thing that Karl is a friendly guy because his 1960 Plymouth is now an object of affection for a large new group of people who love the finned look.

 

 

Jim Sutherland

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