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1956-1958 Plymouth Fury

1956 Plymouth Fury Performance

The 1956 Plymouth Fury looked exciting on the showroom floor, but car enthusiasts wanted to know how it performed where it really mattered.

1956 plymouth fury
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The 1956 Plymouth Fury nearly set a record at Daytona Beach's annual Speed Week.

But if anybody doubted that "business" was exactly what Plymouth intended, they had only to read about the exploits of a pre-production 1956 Fury that ran on the sands of Daytona Beach, Florida, on the same day the new model was being shown in Chicago.

Driven by Phil Walters, fresh from campaigns with the Chrysler-powered Cunningham racers, it blasted through the flying mile at 124 mph, with a best one-way speed of 124.611 mph, and covered the standing mile at 82.54
mph -- extraordinary for a near-stock passenger car weighing 3,650 pounds. (The only nod to streamlining was masking off the headlamp housings and removing the wheel covers.)

The new Fury looked like a sure winner at the Daytona Speed Weeks in February, but NASCAR regulations intervened. Plymouth was informed that the Fury did not qualify for the Stock class because it had not been in production the required 90 days. The only alternative was to run it as a Factory Experimental against what promised to be rather more serious competition.

Plymouth gave it a try, fitting a higher-lift cam, new heads with close to 10:1 compression, and a Chrysler manifold carrying twin four-barrel carbs. On its first run, this modified Fury scorched through the traps at 143.596 mph, but a faulty fuel cap created a tank vacuum that starved the car for gas on the return trip, when Walters fell short of 130 mph.

In any case, the Plymouth Fury would have been beaten: A Mercury prepared by Bill Stroppe soon turned in a 147.26 mph average in the same class. Nevertheless, it was an impressive performance.

1956 plymouth fury dual exhausts
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
Features such as dual exhausts helped the 1956 Plymouth Fury exceed performance expectations.

But what would a Fury do right off a dealer's lot, with no streamlining tricks or razor-edge tuning by factory experts? Surprisingly, the answer was almost as well.

Motor Trend magazine's example, "Though no Daytona car . . . still clocked a furious 114 mph on its 3.73 axle; the not-too-precise Fury tachometer was registering 4,400-4,600 rpm. Plymouth engineers suggested that with a longer run, we would have nudged it nearer to 118-120 at 4,900 rpm."

's test car did the 0-60 mph dash in 9.5 seconds and the standing quarter-mile at 83.5 mph in 16.9 seconds. It rode about as well as any Belvedere but had less pitch over bumps and less body roll, which translated into more accurate steering.

The editors felt certain Fury features were obvious afterthoughts. The tach was shoveled under two small gauges where a knob and the ignition switch were located on standard Plymouths, and you needed orangutan arms to reach the relocated ignition. On the whole, though, this was one capable and fast road car.

Continue to the next page to read about the 1957 Plymouth Fury.

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