It's so ugly, it's beautiful. That's how many Mopar folks describe the "mid-sized" '62 Plymouths.
Considered ugly as a result of their hurried downsizing, ordered by upper management a year before start-of-production, the resulting '62 Plymouths-and their Dodge counterparts-may have looked like "plucked chickens" in the mind of soon-to-be-former styling boss Virgil Exner, who took the blame for their lack of sales success. But they were the first cars built on the now-legendary B-Body platform, which stayed in production through 1979.
This 408-inch stroker small-block...
This 408-inch stroker small-block from Marshall Engines' BluePrint Series (sourced from Jegs) replaced a well-worn replacement for the original 318.
And, if they've spent much of their lives in the sun belt as opposed to the snow belt, B-Body '62 Plymouths still turn eyes well into the 21st Century.
At least Michael Bir's Fury does. He says he found this car just about a decade ago, in much the shape you see it now. "The paint that's on it now was on it then-[previous owners] painted right over the original paint," he says of the Fury's outside hue, which he found to be on the rough side. "They painted it with the trim [still] on it," he says of the previous owner's body refinishing. "So a friend of mine who did paintwork, Steven Snell, thought it was thick enough that we could wet-sand it and buff it." Off came the trim, out came the sander, then the buffer, and the result was the Ermine White finish you see here.
While the trim was off, Michael learned-by experience-how to straighten and polish all that original trim, even the pot-metal items. Good thing, because that vintage trim-like a lot of early B-Body sheetmetal-has yet to be reproduced.
Plenty of info in a smaller...
Plenty of info in a smaller space-that sums up the dash design inside '62 Plymouths. Seats and interior trim are repros, while the radio and speaker are originals.
We mention the paint and exterior trim work, because no rust or crash-damage repair work was needed on the Fury's original unibody. "There's no rust on the car," Michael says from his Fort Wayne, Indiana, home. "It was built in California (at Ma Mopar's L.A. Assembly Plant in Bellflower), and it spent most of its life out in the Southwest. There are no patch panels or anything reproduction on it."
Inside, the stock bench-seat interior was freshened-including the "typewriter" dash-mounted shifter for the original 727 TorqueFlite.
Under the hood is another story, though a familiar one. The original engine was long gone when Michael got this '62, replaced by a '68-vintage 318. "I was going to build a 406 small-block for it, and I was looking for parts when I came across Marshall Engines' 408-inch Chrysler BluePrint Series engine," he says of the Jegs-sourced crate engine that succeeded the 318 (and likely an original 318 Poly before that). "I couldn't build it for what they sold it for."
American Racing Torq-Thrust...
American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels are period-correct for '62. They're now mounted on Uniroyal Tiger Paws, instead of the Dunlop blackwalls seen here.
The looks and comments that Michael gets when he takes his Fury out are priceless. "It's amazing," he says. "Some people will say, 'My grandpa had one like that,' or 'My great-aunt had one like that.'" He adds that a lot of people give it a really close look, because they've never seen anything like it. "They're not sure what they're looking at, because it doesn't say "Plymouth" anyplace except on the very front of the hood."
What's it like to drive? "I love driving that car," says Michael. "It actually drives pretty good." He adds, "Somewhere along the line, I read that this was the lightest B-Body that they ever built. They're runners!"