1965-1966 Plymouth Sport Fury and VIP
Styling for the 1965-1966 Plymouth Sport Fury and VIP somehow blended 1965 Ford and Chevy. Of course, Elwood Engel and his Highland Park design crew couldn't possibly have seen those cars in advance, yet they came up with stacked quad headlamps, as on Ford's new 1965 face, and Chevy-style back panels with single (I, II) or double (III and Sport Fury) taillamps.
If resolutely inoffensive, the new Plymouth Furys at least looked good. More importantly, they looked sufficiently different to avoid ruinous sales conflicts with the 1965 Chryslers and senior Dodges built on the same new C-body platform.
That foundation remained of unibody design but with a front subframe as in 1960-1961 (for easier noise and vibration control), not full-unit construction as on Plymouth's 1962-1964 "standards."
Powerplants were the usual corporate array, ranging from 225-cid Slant Six through 318 and "Commando" 383 V-8s up to a big 426 wedge with 365 horses. Three-on-the-tree manual was standard, but Plymouth Fury buyers generally opted for TorqueFlite automatic, which now lost its hallowed pushbuttons for a conventional column shift.
Motor Trend mourned the pushbuttons' passing, the result of a marketing study. "We've never talked to anyone who's driven with buttons who'd care to go back to the column-mounted lever. Floor-mounted, yes -- but column, no! At least the TorqueFlite hasn't been changed. It's still the most positive shifting of any automatic on the market."
As in every year since 1962, the Sport Fury was Plymouth's flashy flagship, with standard 318 V-8 and buckets-and-console cabin. But the 1965s sold better than any Sport Fury before.
The $3,209 convertible, the year's priciest Plymouth, almost doubled in sales over 1964, while the $2,960 hardtop increased 160 percent to become the fifth best-selling Fury model. Symbolizing these winning ways, a ragtop Sport Fury paced the 1965 Indy 500, the first Plymouth so honored.
Plymouth scored another first for 1965: record model-year production of more than 720,000 units. Significantly, the Plymouth Fury line generated almost half of that total. Plymouth's 1966 model-year sales were lower, volume easing to just under 684,000 as the industry took a breather after super-hot 1965.
Furys received a minor facelift for 1966, with a slightly fussier split-theme grille and back panel. Changes were otherwise few, but front/rear seatbelts, padded dash, and "safety" inside door handles appeared at Washington's insistence, and a new wedgehead 440 V-8 replaced the 426 as the top power option, (though it had the same rated power).
The ragtop Sport Fury remained top-of-the-line in price, but the prestige Plymouths were the new Fury VIP hardtop coupe and sedan. Aimed squarely at the previous year's new Chevy Caprice and Ford LTD, they came with woodgrain dash trim and bodyside moldings, cloth or tufted-vinyl upholstery, and swiveling rear reading lamps.
Sales weren't great - Caprice attracted something like 25 times more - but sufficient enough that the Fury VIP would hang around a few years, though not as long as the Sport Fury.
Check out our final section to see specifications for the 1965-1966 Plymouth Sport Fury and VIP.
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