The early 1980s was a scary time for many people, including
fans of horror writer Stephen King.Early in that decade he released a disturbing novel about a car that was
more malevolence than metal.A
demon from Hell disguised in gleaming steel, it reversed the normal terms of
car ownership.Its drivers didn’t
possess it; it possessed them.The
book’s title was Christine, and the
vehicle King chose for its main character was the 1958 Plymouth Fury.
It was a
fantastic choice.Aside from its
name, which means “intense anger,” it was a product of a decade when
manufacturers were unconstrained by concerns for fuel efficiency.What they did worry about was
performance.And to make sure that
the Fury lived up to its name it was powered by a 318 cubic inch V-8 hemi
engIne that produced 295 HP.Also
available was a 361 cubic inch engine that was rated for 305 HP.Twin 4 barrel carbs fed it gasoline,
and its gearbox was the world-class Plymouth TorqueFlite A-488, considered one
of the smoothest and most reliable automatic transmissions ever built.
The Fury ran
like a bat out of Hell.In 1958 Motor
Trend put it up against Ford’s
Fairline 500 and the Chevy Impala.The Plymouth completed the run in 7.7 seconds, followed by the
Chevrolet, which came in at 9.1 seconds.The Ford limped in behind the other two, finishing in
seconds.The fastest ones achieved
speeds in excess of 143 miles per hour, allowing it to easily dominate
virtually any other car on the street or at the race track.
classic 1950s, with a wraparound windshield, cockpit-like interior, and swept
back fin design.Round taillights
gave it a distinctive appearance from the rear. Released only as a hardtop
coupe, 5,303 were produced in ’58.Buyers could own one for just over three grand.
made some mistakes in its description of the car.He refers to its “Hydramatic” transmission, which was a
actually a GM product.He also
calls it a four-door; the ’58 model only came as a two door.And he took some creative license by
describing it as red and white.The
1958 Fury only came in buckskin beige with gold trim.However, he did a capable job of capturing the power and
performance of this classic American car.