This past Friday, I attended the monthly Classy Chassy car club’s cruise night out at Coral Ridge Mall. I enjoy this show very much. It is held the last Friday of the month from May through September, and I’ve seen some pretty cool cars there.
The best part is the variety. Sure, some cars I see frequently, but there are cars I will see once, and never again. You really never know what will be on hand! I like that. Especially since many of our local shows are attended by the usual suspects. When you’ve seen the same red 2002 Mustang V6 with Cobra badges, belly-button me-too Resale Red hot rods and various and sundry brand-spanking-new muscle cars, variety is a most welcome antidote!
Unusual and seldom seen classic cars I have spotted at this event over the years include…
A 1964 Lincoln Continental,
1962 Cadillac Series 62,
1968 Oldsmobile Toronado,
And a 1960 Dodge Polara! Not the usual sea of late model Camaros, Challengers, Mustangs, and Corvettes, Corvettes, Corvettes! And that’s the way I like it.
As usual, I have digressed. You’re probably wondering about the actual car that is the actual subject of this article! Well, it just happens to be a pretty uncommon car itself. A 1969 Plymouth Sport Fury convertible.
How rare? Rare to the tune of 1,579 produced for the model year.
As I have already told the story of the 1969 Plymouths here at Riverside Green, I’ll spare every single detail on these cars. But a recap certainly wouldn’t hurt.
In Autumn of 1968 Chrysler-Plymouth showrooms around the country had brand-new redesigned full-size cars.
The 1969-73 big Mopars are referred to as ‘Fuselage’ due to their shape. From rocker panel to roof, there was a continuous curve with no roofline to break it up, as had been the case on most American cars for years. Though it was most obvious on cars with a ‘slick top’, most of these Mopars of course had an optional vinyl roof, which broke up the design-and the designers’ intent.
1969 was the final year for the Sport Fury nameplate, which had been a part of the model lineup since 1959. As usual, it designated the top-drawer Fury, with only the slow-selling VIP luxury model topping it in the Plymouth hierarchy.
The instrument panel on all 1969 Furys was very driver-oriented.
All gauges and switches were set into a matte black ‘camera case’ panel under the deeply hooded dash pad. Though this convertible has the column-mounted TorqueFlite transmission and bench seat, buckets with a floor-mounted console and shifter were also available.
As previously mentioned, only 1,579 Sport Fury convertibles were made in 1969. The base price was $3,502.
A Fury III convertible was also offered, and although buyers didn’t exactly mob the dealerships to buy one, they were more plentiful, to the tune of 4,129.
Although it was more pronounced at Chrysler Corporation than at, say, GM or Ford, convertible sales were in a downward spiral. Two-door hardtops with most of the ‘convertible look’ and air conditioning were the primary culprits.
Why continue to offer a softtop when no one, or damn few, people were willing to order one? So despite the fact that the Fuselage-style Mopars lasted until 1973, the convertible models were short-lived. In 1970, they would make their last appearance in Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth versions. The top of the line Imperials never offered a convertible; 1968 was the last year for a true luxury topless Mopar.
As soon as I spotted this Ice Blue Sport Fury convertible at the show, I couldn’t get enough of it. It was a gorgeous day, and the turnout for the show was great. I saw quite a few cool cars besides this one. And yet. I kept wandering back to the Plymouth, to take another picture or two, or just to gawk.
I knew these were rare, quite rare, but it wasn’t until writing this article the following morning that I realized just how scarce they were.
1,579. There had to be much more than 1500 Chrysler-Plymouth dealers in the U.S. in 1969. So not even one per dealer. It was always a good idea to have a flashy convertible in the showroom of course. Use it to bring in the customers, then sell them a Fury III sedan.
But the intermediates were the primary source of flash and style by the late Sixties, and I bet most dealers skipped the Fury and had a Road Runner or Satellite convertible sitting amongst the Belvedere station wagons and Valiants.
But the Sport Fury was still top topless Plymouth in 1969, and with the bulletproof TorqueFlite and optional 440 power under the hood, one of these fine motor yachts would have made a great party barge! And still would today.
I love the red, white and blue color bar detail on the rear quarters; I never noticed those until I examined your photographs.
Tom mentions the issue on the Fury of a vinyl top often breaking up what should be a great uninterrupted curve. The Toronado he photographed is also suffering this problem. Vinyl tops look great on some cars, and are quite useful to differentiate a low end car that otherwise might look part of a fleet, but dealers of the time were perhaps too ready to order cars that way.
I saw this on the FB posting the other day. I had no idea the late Sport Fury converts were so rare.
But, the real jewel in all of this would have been that 1960 Polara! What a spaceship! Are there more pix of that?
What a glamorous boat .
The Dodge Polara reminds me of the same body typ Phoenix I had in the early 1970’s .
Keep the great articles coming please .