Fury, a nameplate that Plymouths wore proudly for 34 years, was officially abandoned on December 23, 1988. It was first seen on the memorable limited-edition 1956 Plymouth sport coupe that brought a new level of performance and style to the low-price field. Fury maintained its exclusive high-performance image for a few years, but over time the name was watered down until finally it ended up on a Volare-based four-door sedan that sold mainly to fleets and police departments. Called the Gran Fury, it had largely outlived its usefulness as the last rear-wheel-drive Plymouth. Thus, when Chrysler closed the Kenosha, Wisconsin plant where it was built (and which had been acquired through the American Motors buyout), the Fury badge was mercifully laid to rest.

Classic Cars Image Gallery

1965 Plymouth Sport Fury convertible
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The sportiest 1965 Fury -- and the costliest at $3,209 -- was the Sport Fury ragtop. See more classic car pictures.

But between the extremes of the 1956 Fury and the 1989 Gran Fury, there exists a marvelous middle ground, including the Furys built between 1965 and 1968. This model generation encompasses what are perhaps the best looking full-size Plymouths from the Sixties: big, powerful, and deftly styled. Offered in a variety of body styles, trim levels, and price brackets, they won many a new car buyer over from the competition.

The mid-Sixties, 1965 in particular, marked a particularly crucial time for Plymouth. It followed a period of heavy losses, both for the marque and for its parent corporation. Unfortunately, the big Plymouth had entered the Sixties with styling that caused some wags to quip, "Suddenly it's 1957!" -- a take-off on Plymouth's successful "Suddenly it's 1960!" ad campaign of 1957. Despite the lukewarm (at best) reception accorded its full-size models, Plymouth fielded a winner in 1960 with its new Valiant. The latter, however, didn't officially become a Plymouth until 1961, even though it was sold exclusively through Plymouth dealers. Without Valiant totals, Plymouth tumbled from a comfortable third place standing in the 1959 production race to ninth in 1960.

This embarrassing turn of events was followed by a disastrous 1961 model year. The facelifted Plymouths continued to reflect the confusion and distress their manufacturer was experiencing. Truly bizarre styling featured a peculiar pinched grille, canted eyebrows over the headlights, scalloped rear fenders, and noticeably absent tailfins, a combination that condemned the big 1961s to be seen as strange beasts indeed. Though the mechanical integrity and excellent road manners of the cars had not been compromised, styling overshadowed all else. Sales plunged, and so did model year production, which skidded by almost 130,000 units to 356,257. This left Plymouth in fourth place -- including Valiant output.

Keep reading to learn about the years leading up to the debut of the 1965 Plymouth Fury.

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