1956 Plymouth Fury

Introduced at the Chicago Automobile Show on January 10, 1956, the Plymouth Fury was as exciting as anything Plymouth had put out in some time. Though it shared the same body used for the ordinary Savoy and Belvedere two-door hardtops, it sported several distinctive styling features that set it apart decisively.

1956 plymouth fury
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The 1956 Plymouth Fury was essentially the same body as the Belvedere.

On the outside was one-tone eggshell white paint, set off by a full-length bodyside sweepspear with a gold-anodized aluminum insert. Anodized gold also decorated the grille center and the special "spoke" wheel covers. (The latter interchanged with those of the DeSoto Adventurer, except that the hubs were plain on the Plymouth Fury, monogrammed "DeS" on the Adventurer.)

Inside was eggshell vinyl upholstery with black jacquard inserts. On the sharply finned 1956 hardtop body, all this looked rather dashing indeed. But what really made the Plymouth Fury memorable was what happened when you floored its accelerator.

In addressing Fury performance, Plymouth engineers did not soup up an existing V-8 like Ford and Chevy. They deemed their 277-cubic-inch polyspherical-head engine too small and decided against taking any chances with superchargers or fuel injection.

Unexpectedly, they also shunned using one of the corporate hemis, though it's not known whether this was out of choice or because other divisions wouldn't cooperate. What they did do was choose an engine from across the river: the 303-cid poly-head V-8 from the Canadian Chrysler Windsor and Dodge Royal. The 303 was a prime pick, because it was right at the top of the displacement limit for NASCAR Class 5 (259-305 cid).

1956 plymouth fury instrument panel
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The 1956 Plymouth Fury's instrument panel.

To this basic block the engineers applied a high-lift cam, solid lifters, domed pistons, a four-barrel carb, free-flow dual exhausts, and 9.25:1 compression. The result was 240 horsepower, about .8 horses per cubic inch. (It's a comment on the pace of the 1950s "horsepower race" that Chevrolet achieved a full 1.0 horsepower per cubic inch just one year later, though the 1956 Chrysler 300B also managed that magic mark, with optional high-compression heads.)

To handle the extra poke, the Fury was equipped with heavy-duty springs and shocks, jumbo Dodge brakes of 11-inch diameter, wide 7.10 x 15 tires, and a front anti-sway bar. Putting it on the road was a heavy-duty three-speed manual transmission with beefed-up clutch. Optional was Chrysler's two-speed PowerFlite automatic, now with pushbutton control.

While other 1956 Plymouths looked pretty high-sided, the Fury hunkered down on its well-damped suspension an inch closer to the road. It was visibly different and looked like it meant business.

The Fury may have looked nice, but how did it perform? Go to the next page to find out.

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