In some ways, the big Furys reached their ultimate look in the 1973 Plymouth line, the last year of the fuselage body. With both the feds and the insurance companies agitated over the cost of minor frontal impacts, five-mph bumpers were required up front. The federal mandate caused Plymouth stylists to discard the expensive-to-reinforce loop bumper in favor a "normal" bumper nearly as flat across as in 1969. This time, however, the workout was much better.
This 1973 Plymouth Fury I was one of many
pressed into service by police organizations.
The bumper's flatness was relieved by a shallow vee in plan view, flanked by large, protruding elastomeric guards. Although the vee in both bumper and grille was quite subtle, the new hood sported a grille-wide plateau that terminated in a much more aggressive vee. This clever detail made the whole front end look as if it had more plan view than it actually did, another first-class visual trick by the Plymouth boys.
There was a new wide grille composed of delicate horizontal bright ribs. The Plymouth medallion graced the center and the whole ensemble was framed by a heavier surround molding. Each of the four headlamps was recessed into individual chrome rectangular bezels that floated in body color die-cast end caps. Despite the interference of insurers and bureaucrats, the whole front end looked handsome and expensive.
In back there was another new bumper, the fifth in as many years, and the best of all. Massive in appearance, the new bumper was a testimony in chrome to the art and science of metal bending. Rising from a discreet valence panel, the bumper met the new, shallower deck lid in a horizontal line that wrapped outward at the ends to encompass new, large taillights.
The tall and triangular lenses were tucked inside bright-framed, body-color end caps and U-shaped openings in the bumper ends. Though the sheetmetal on the long rear quarters was unchanged, the combination of the new bumper and recessed vertical taillights gave Furys a very expensive, almost custom look.
The rear bumper was also equipped with large, "hit me first" guards, though the impact requirement was only 2.5 mph. On Fury III and Gran Coupe/Gran Sedan models, backup lights consisted of a central recessed lens emblazoned with the Plymouth name. A new lock designed to offer increased resistance to illegal entry meant that Clayton's hated "belly button" returned to Fury deck lids.
For the first time since 1969, the formal hardtop was not offered, meaning that in 1973, all Fury two-door hardtops had those "bashed-in" quarters, (Interestingly, the catalog contained an error in that the rear quarter panel on a Fury III four-door hardtop was incorrectly illustrated with the inverted trapezoid sheetmetal used on the two-door hardtop.)
The hardtop roster dwindled further as the Fury II surrendered its two-door. Front-door vent windows, last used in 1970, became optional on four-door cars as a concession to confirmed cigarette flickers.
To learn about the 1973 Plymouth Fury Special, continue on to the next page.
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