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1969 Plymouth Sport Fury & VIP

The Sport Fury and VIP still led Plymouth's line in 1969, though their popularity was waning.
The Sport Fury and VIP still led Plymouth's line in 1969, though their popularity was waning.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The 1969 Plymouth Sport Fury and VIP again headed the big-Plymouth line for '69. VIP expanded from two to three models with the addition of a "formal" hardtop coupe bearing a more upright rear window and wide rear quarters.

The old "Fast Top" was superseded as the sporty hardtop by a new style with narrower, more raked C-posts. As before, Sport Fury offered Plymouth's poshest, priciest convertible (at $3,502). The aforementioned VIP four-door hardtop remained the costliest non-wagon closed Fury ($3,433).

Unfortunately for Plymouth dealers, the high-profit VIP and Sport Fury generated fewer sales for a second straight year. Production of the "Very Important Plymouths" dropped nearly 4,000 units to just under 14,000, while the big bucket-seaters lost over 8,300 to close at about 18,000. Both still trailed Big Three competitors by substantial margins. Chevy's Impala SS was now an option package and no longer significant, but Caprice outdrew VIP by over 9-to-l-and Ford bested Plymouth by 16-to-l with its luxurious LTDs.

Sport Fury was no better match for Ford's sporty XL, which sold four times as many copies. Adding to the misery, Plymouth as a whole ran a weaker fourth in 1969, while Ford was a stronger second to industry-leading Chevrolet.

In short, Plymouth was selling fewer top-line big cars than either of its archrivals -- or third-place Pontiac for that matter -- which suggested that the market didn't equate Plymouths with "luxury" the way it did certain Fords and Chevys. More's the pity, too, for this would contribute to Plymouth's steady sales decline in the '70s.

Indeed, VIPs didn't survive past '69, replaced by bench-seat Sport Furys and, ultimately, "Gran" models. Sport Fury lasted only through 1971, with just a husky, 440-powered GT hardtop coupe to continue the performance tradition-one of Detroit's last muscle-bound biggies. In all, a sorry end for what had been Plymouth's best.

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