The 1950s were a heady time for automobile design in America. The big three, along with independents like Studebaker and Packard were locked in a heated battle to win over buyers with increasingly flashy, futuristic shapes. At Chrysler Corporation, ex-Studebaker man Virgil Exner was brought in to revitalize the styling department, which to that point, had been under the auspices of the engineering team, resulting in staid and boxy designs. Exner spent the early 1950s working closely with Luigi “Gigi” Segre of Carrozzeria Ghia. The relationship spawned several extraordinary European-inspired show cars and production models. By the middle of the decade, he moved away from the European influence and developed the so-called “Forward Look” which relied heavily on futuristic jet-age styling motifs, great soaring tailfins, and dramatic sweeps. Legend suggests that General Motors got wind of Exner’s revolutionary new designs before they were released and scrambled to revamp their entire line in response. While Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell often receive the credit for the era of chrome and fins, the origins of the design language flowed from the pen of Virgil Exner.
The tagline “Suddenly its 1960!” introduced the new models in 1957. However, by the 1960 model year, consumer tastes were quickly changing and the wild looks of the past few years were making way for more subtle, linear designs. After introducing the world to the Forward Look, Chrysler found itself behind the curve as other manufacturers dialed back the extravagant details. The 1960 Chrysler Corporation models offered buyers one last flourish before the more restrained designs of the coming decade. Beyond the styling, Chrysler featured torsion bar suspension for superior handling compared to its rivals, along with a series of powerful V8 engine options, up to the 330 horsepower “SonoRamic” V8.
Plymouth’s top-line offering for 1960 was the glamorous Fury Hardtop, as presented here, in lovely Chrome Green Poly with White accents and roof. The ultimate expression of the Forward Look, the 1960 Fury is a dramatic sendoff to the tailfin age. This Fury is a beautiful car that has never been fully restored, instead, getting select attention as needed, namely a repaint in the original color and restored brightwork. The history of this car begins at a Plymouth dealer in Sandpoint, Idaho. The owner of the dealership ordered a new car for his wife every year, and this car was her choice for 1960. It turned out that she loved this Fury so much that she kept it for the next 40 years. Of course, the wife of the dealership owner couldn’t be seen in just any off-the-lot economy car, so her Fury was loaded with options. Equipment includes metallic paint accented with a white roof and white sweeps at the front, the Golden Commando 361 cubic-inch V8 engine, push-button automatic transmission, deluxe steering wheel, Sky-Hi rear window, “Sport Deck” simulated spare wheel trunk lid, chrome wheel skirts, dual mirrors and a deluxe radio with an under-dash RCA Victor record player.
After 40 years with the original owner, the car received a well-detailed cosmetic restoration in the original colors, taking care to preserve as many factory parts as possible. In addition to a good quality respray, the new owner restored the extensive chrome and brightwork to a high standard. The car presents in marvelous condition, with lovely paintwork, excellent panel fit, and attractive chrome. It sits proudly on the road, rolling on proper bias-ply whitewall tires.
Incredibly, much of the original interior remains intact and in fantastic condition. The first owner kept the seats covered in clear plastic which preserved the original cloth and vinyl upholstery in excellent condition. The driver’s “Command Seat” is notable as standard equipment on the Fury. Only the carpets required replacement during the restoration, which are correctly done in green nylon loop material, protected in front by OE rubber floor mats with the Chrysler Forward Look Flookerang logo. Original door panels, quarter panels, and parcel shelf are excellent. The dash is a fantastic display of Sci-fi inspired mid-century design with the optional rectangular Lucite steering wheel and whimsical instrument pod that resembles a space movie robot. The factory correct deluxe radio, required to operate the RCA record player, is completely restored and fully operational. Incredibly, the record player still works and is designed to be used on the go. The previous owner proudly reported it doesn’t skip when cruising along!
The big 361 cubic inch engine makes 305 horsepower in standard form. The engine in this car runs very well and presents in excellent condition with factory-correct paint finishes, decals, markings, and hardware. A robust Torqueflite automatic backs the engine, operated by push-buttons on the instrument panel. Thanks to the torsion bar suspension, the Fury handles particularly well for such a large car. Ride quality is slightly more firm than its competitors, imparting confidence on the road. The 75,000 miles shown are believed to be authentic, and the car presents in very tidy order underneath.
Compared to this car, 1961 models would prove to be significantly more subdued, appearing hastily redesigned in the face of rapidly changing consumer tastes. As a result, the 1960 Forward Look Plymouth Fury represents a high-water mark for the be-finned jet-age era. Remarkably few examples have survived in such fine condition, and this car’s finely preserved original, and restored components make it one of the finest of its kind, backed with an award for Best Plymouth at a Walter P. Chrysler club national meet. With its outlandish styling, the Plymouth Fury is one of our favorite cars of the era, and this wonderfully well-preserved example is one of the best we have had the pleasure to offer.