Car of the Week: 1958 Plymouth Fury

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1958 marked the third model year for Plymouth’s top-of-the-line performance model, the Fury two-door hardtop. It was the first of the then traditional gold-trimmed Buckskin Beige speedsters to come out with the rest of the lineup at the start of the model year and the last to be a single model with its status unquestioned.

The 1956 Fury and the totally redesigned 1957 offering took giant steps in establishing the Plymouth name in performance circles. Even though the domestic manufacturers banded together in 1957 to cut back on racing and performance promotion, the ’58s were well along in the plans and too late to change.

As a result, Plymouth had several solid go-fast options for 1958.

Engine nomenclature gets a bit confusing, so here is an explanation. The 225-hp/318-cid Fury V-8 was not available on the Fury. Neither was the Fury V-8 with Super-Pak, which had a four-barrel carb and other modifications for a rating of 250 hp. Next up was the Dual Fury V-8, which had a pair of four-barrels, 9.25:1 compression and a rating of 290 hp. This engine was standard on the Fury, as it was for 1957.

Optional on all models, Fury included, was Plymouth’s first crack at the new B-block, which came in at 350 cubes, two more than Chevrolet and two fewer than Ford big blocks for 1958. Two Carter four-barrels were on top, compression was 10:1 and the advertised horsepower rating was 305. This engine package was dubbed Golden Commando.

A very limited number of Furys were ordered with the Bendix electronic fuel-injection system, which raised the rating to 315 hp. Most were replaced with dual-carb setups when the injection proved troublesome.

Belvedere side trim included a single, full-length distinctive horizontal molding slanting from headlamp level towards the back fender. Ahead of the taillights, the molding angled up towards the top of the fin. When the optional “Sport Tone” finish was added, a lower molding was included that ran from above back bumper and tapered towards the upper molding at the front fender tip. The area inside the moldings was then finished with contrasting colors, usually matching the roof.

The Fury was a limited-edition Buckskin beige two-door hardtop with Fury rear fender nameplates; "Sport Tone" moldings (with gold anodized aluminum inserts); bumper wing guards; padded interior; front and rear foam seats; back-up lights; dual outside rearview mirrors and special Dual Fury or Golden Commando V-8.

Motor Trend tested an automatic equipped Fury with the 305-hp Golden Commando and got a 7.7-second 0-to-60 mph run. This was far faster than the Ford 352-cid at 10.2 seconds and the Chevrolet Impala’s 348-cid run of 9.1.

With a $3,032 base price, the 1958 Fury was the most expensive Plymouth that year. Its production of 5,303 was down from the 7,438 for 1957, but up from the short 1956 run of 4,485. After 1958, the Fury name would be put on Plymouths of all types ranging from station wagons to police cars.

In 1982, horror fiction author Stephen King wrote a novel called "Christine” about a 1958 Plymouth Fury that terrorized its high school owner, introducing millions of horror fans to the model. Apparently, production crews destroyed plenty of Savoy and Belvedere models dressed to look like the Fury, but no actual Furys were sacrificed.

PRODUCTION
Model #    Body Type/Seating    MSRP        Weight        Production
LP2-H      2-dr HT Cpe-6P           $3,032         3,510 lbs.    5,303

ENGINES
Fury V-8: Overhead valve. Cast-iron block. Displacement: 317.6 cid. Bore and stroke: 3.906 x 3.312 inches. Compression ratio: 9.25:1. Brake hp: 290 at 5200 rpm. Five main bearings. Solid valve lifters. Carburetor: Two Carter Type WCFB four-barrel Model 2631S.

Optional Golden Commando V-8: Overhead valve. Cast iron block. Displacement: 350 cid. Bore and stroke: 4.062 x 3.375 inches. Compression ratio: 10.0:1. Brake hp: 305 at 5000 rpm. Five main bearings. Hydraulic valve lifters. Carburetor: two Carter four-barrel Model 2631S. (An electronic fuel injection option rated at 315 hp was short-lived.)

CHASSIS FEATURES
118 inches; Overall length: 206 inches. Front tread: 60-29/32 inches. Rear tread: 59-39/64 inches. Tires: 8.00 ½ x 14;

OPTIONS

Power brakes ($38). Power steering ($77). Air conditioning ($446). Power windows ($102). Two-Way power seat ($48). Push-button transistor radio ($73). Search Tuner transistor radio ($106). Search Tuner transistor radio with HI-FI ($187). Rear seat speaker ($12). Heater and defroster ($69). Four-ply white sidewall tires, exchange ($33). Disc wheel covers, Plaza and Savoy ($18). “Sport-Tone” finish, passenger cars ($20). Solex tinted glass ($32). Back-up lamps, passenger car ($8). Front and rear outer bumper guards ($34). Air Foam seat ($9). Variable-speed electric windshield wipers ($6). Windshield washers ($12). Padded panel and sun visors ($24). Undercoating and fiberglass hood pad ($13). Sure-Grip. Three-speed manual transmission was standard. Overdrive transmission ($108). V-8 350-cid/305-hp “Golden Commando” engine ($324). V-8 350-cid/315-hp EFI engine ($500). Four-barrel carburetor ($39). Fuel injection ($500). Dual exhaust with V-8 engine only ($19.80). Oil filter ($6). Available rear axle gear ratios: 3.54:1; 3.73:1; 2.93:1; 3.15:1; 3.31:1; 3.90:1; 4.10:1.

COLLECTIBILITY
It’s starring role in "Christine" helped to make the 1958 Plymouth Fury a cult favorite among car collectors. Its value remains high due to this "celebrity" tie-in demand and a low production number of just 5,303.

While these Fury hardtops were originally available only in Buckskin Beige set off by eye-catching gold-anodized aluminum "Sportone" inserts, even those that are incorrectly repainted in "Christine" red and white still command $75,000 to $85,000 in top condition and are usually marketed with all the movie memorabilia added in the deal. 

COLLECTOR PRICING
1958 Plymouth Fury
No. 1 Condition: $85,000
No. 2: $59,500
No. 3: $38,250
No. 4: $17,000

Pricing notes: Deduct 10 percent for six-cylinder models. Add 25-percent for 350-cid/305-hp V-8. Add 50 percent for Bendix EFI V-8.

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