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1960-1961 Plymouth Fury


The fins on the 1961 Plymouth Fury were planed down and bent over to shield bullet-style taillights.
The fins on the 1961 Plymouth Fury were planed down and bent over to shield bullet-style taillights.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The 1960-1961 Plymouth Fury continued the Fury tradition of exceptional performance. The 1960 Fury could be had with a six-cylinder engine, the excellent 225 Slant Six, which gave Plymouth the hottest six in the low-priced field. With 145 bhp and a manual transmission (and aided by Plymouth's relatively light weight), a Fury six could do 0-60 in 17 seconds and still average 20 miles to the gallon.

This engine was amenable to much hotter tuning -- experimental versions wrung out one bhp per cubic inch at the Chrysler proving ground. But planners never opted for a performance six, and the Fury relied on Plymouth's reliable 318 as its basic V-8.

For all-out performance Plymouth had a bomb: the "Golden Commando 395," which had 361 cubic inches along with a ram manifold and twin four-barrel carbs, delivering 305 bhp and 395 pounds/feet of torque (from which it got its name). New also was the first of Plymouth's now-famous 383 V-8s, packing 330 bhp in similar tune and an impressive 460 pounds/feet of torque.

This engine also boasted a one-notch-higher name: "SonoRamic Commando." It sounds like a video game today, but the SonoRamic Commando could fly. Zero to 60 took about 7.5 seconds, nonchalant cruising was possible at over 100 mph, and top speed was over 120.

Despite the apparent radical face-lift for 1961, the Fury had merely been reskinned below the beltline -- the roof and doors were unchanged, with the styling money spent on fenders, hood, and deck. Plymouth described the result as "a harmony of motion in sleek steel and bright aluminum," and viewed from the side, it didn't look all that bad! Up front there was anything but harmony, with a criss-cross grille puckered between intruding headlamp eyebrows, bending around from front fender creaselines.

Latterday critics haven't really given the 1961 Fury a fair shot. All told, it was a major improvement on the 1960. It also proved that unit body construction didn't place serious restraints on the ability of designers to create face-lifts -- a problem that had plagued Nash, Hudson, and American Motors. Unfortunately for Plymouth, styling remained key to sales. To very many people styling means the front end of the car. And from that angle, the Fury really did look like the "Insect That Ate Tokyo."

Continue to the next page to find specifications for the 1960-1961 Plymouth Fury.

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