The new-for-1959 Sport Fury was a logical outgrowth in Chrysler Corporations vehicle line of the late 1950s. After all, Chrysler/Plymouths new 1957 version of the Fury had been well received by the media and the public. The new model would incorporate the best options, with the top-of--the-line being the convertible coupe.
Fully optioned, a convertible like this one owned by Arnold Poteet of LaFollette, Tennessee, was a pretty serious acquisition. In 1959, it came with a price tag of almost $3,200. Base engine in the car was a poly-head 318 rated at 260 horses, but most buyers who wanted it as a fun driver were moved to option the big 361cid mill, which had a factory horsepower rating of 305. Despite its name, the Sport Fury of this introductory year was no drag strip spcial; it was built to compete with the similar sporty offerings from Ford and GM.
In 1959, Poteet was one of the 17,000 plus buyers to get a new Sport Fury hardtop. While that car has long since disappeared, he decided to go back to the past with this convertible version of the car, of which only 5,990 examples were built.
Originally found in rough shape, the scarce, high mileage body was turned over to Pro Fab Auto in Knoxville, Tennessee, where it was subjected to a complete frame off restoration. The guys at Pro Fab scrounged the nation, securing parts to put the body back into shape before applying its brilliant hue.
The original 361 cid power plant was given to noted Mopar builders Hensley Enterprises in Knoxville. There, Matt Hensley machined the block and prepared it for several more decades of pleasure driving. While the internals are stock in terms of their performance levels, some things were upgraded. Hensleys machine work included an align bore, a fully balanced reciprocating assembly, and completely rebuilt cylinder heads. Where possible, heavy-duty parts like a Cloyes timing chain were used in place of the stock units. An Edelbrock four-barrel carb and the original 1959 air cleaner sit on top of the engine. The rest of the driveline, from the push button automatic to the rear end, was rebuilt to as-original specifications.
The interior features swiveling front seats, a dash-mounted rear-view mirror (to aid visibility when the top is up) and the addition of some aftermarket gauges to monitor the engine. Otherwise, this is just what you got from the factory to go running around with the top down that year.
As one of the final models introduced in the 50s, the 1959 Sport Fury heralded the end of an era in terms of styling. The next ten years would bring about significant changes to Chryslers product line and the automobile market in general. The Sport Fury would change with it, and in some ways lose the personality built into its inaugural year. But thanks to efforts like this one, you can go back again.