Missing from the 1970 Plymouth lineup were the VIP models, which had debuted in 1966. In their place was a larger selection of Sport Furys. In addition to the regular and formal two-door hardtops, four-door sedan and four-door hardtop models appeared for the first time under the Sport Fury banner.
Replacing the VIP was the well-appointed Brougham package, optional (at $152.75) on all Sport Furys save the regular two-door hardtop. On four-door models, a split bench seat with individual center armrests was featured, while on two-door cars, individual front seats were separated by a narrow center section and folding armrest. Both types featured a reclining front passenger seat. A discreet Brougham script on the C-pillars identified the upscale option.
Also absent was the Sport Fury ragtop. In 1970, Plymouth offered its big convertible solely in the Fury III series, assembling a mere 1,952 units. These few cars marked the end of the full-size Plymouth convertibles.
Two of the more interesting Sport Furys were two-door hardtops. Top of the line was the Sport Fury GT, a luxury car with high-performance equipment. Plymouth called it "nothing less than our biggest shell, wrapped around our biggest displacement engine. We don't call it Daddy Longlegs for nothing."
A 440 engine with a single Carter four-pot carb was included in the $3,898 sticker price; a 390-bhp 440 with triple Holley two-barrels was listed as optional. With its powerful engines, the GT was considered part of Plymouth's Rapid Transit System, a boastful, boisterous lineup of muscle cars that also included the new Duster 340, Road Runner and high-winged Superbird, GT, and the Barracuda ponycar.
Heavy-duty torsion bars, rear springs, shocks, and brakes were standard on the GT, as were extra-wide H70×15 tires fitted to handsome rallye wheels accented with deep, brushed aluminum trim rings. Plymouth billed the Sport Fury GT as "the ultimate sleeper. A real Q-ship." Clayton had other ideas.
"We asked ourselves, 'What is the use of the Fury GT in the Plymouth lineup?' We decided it was a big, powerful, American car with great road-holding qualities. Why not call it the American Express'?
"So we asked Jack Smith [who had successfully negotiated with Warner Brothers to obtain the rights to use the Road Runner name] to talk with American Express. Not only did they say no, they didn't even want to touch the idea." Too bad; it would have made a great "with it" name.
"We were searching for a distinctive style for the GT letters," said Clayton, "One day another stylist and I were idly looking out the window of the Plymouth Studio when a Grand Trunk railroad train passed by our Highland Park campus. Spotting the train's bold 'GT' letters, I said laughing to my companion, 'That's it!'"
Lunching off the GT was the Sport Fury S/23, which, according to Clayton, "was strictly a Product Planning idea. The studio did nothing on it." Like the GT, the S/23 boasted U-shaped stripes in white, black, or burnt orange tracing the twin bulges in the hood. Running around the car from front fender tip across the deck lid to the opposite fender was a reflective strobe stripe -- another pickup from the GT signage for both sports models appeared on the the deck lid and on each fender at the beginning of the strobe stripe.
The biggest difference between the two hardtops was under the hood. The S/23 was more show than go, with a 318 V-8 standard and two versions of the 383 optional. Production of both variants was lumped into the model-year total of 8018 regular Sport Fury two-door hardtops, but some sources claim 666 with GT equipment and 689 S/23s.
To learn about the 1970 Plymouth Fury Gran Coupe, continue to the next page.
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