A previous repaint in the original Ermine White came out looking good after color-sanding
That's not surprising. The '62 Plymouth's smaller size-eight inches shorter than the '61's-and lighter weight led to success on the racetrack from day one of the '62 season. In NASCAR's Grand National series, Richard Petty finished second in the Daytona 500, then reeled off eight wins-including his first winning streak-plus 31 more top 5 finishes and 38 more top 10s on his way to his best year to date, finishing second in the season standings behind champ Joe Weatherley. The Petty shop had five other drivers race '62 Plymouths that year, all of them scoring top 10-or-better finishes. Jim Paschal added three more wins to the Petty Enterprises total for '62-and Lee Petty drove a '62 Plymouth to a fifth place finish at Martinsville, in his first race since his crash at Daytona the year before. Plus, when the first batch of 50 413-cubic-inch "Max Wedge"-powered Plymouths hit the dragstrips that spring, they started winning rounds-and races-on quarter-mile and eighth-mile strips across the country.
But smaller size didn't translate into bigger sales for Plymouth in 1962. Sales totaled just 182,220 B-Body Plymouths in all series' (Savoy, Belvedere, Fury, and Sport Fury). Add in 157,294 Valiants, and Plymouth moved just 339,514 cars out the door in model-year 1962, good for only eighth place in the sales race--down from 7th in 1961, and fourth in 1960. However, things were about to start looking up for Plymouth, sales-wise. 1963 brought the first-annual styling freshening for the B-Body, as well as a new five-year/50,000-mile powertrain warranty-both of which helped move Plymouth's sales upward again.
What the best-dressed '62 Plymouths wore in front then-and now. New front bumper adds spar
Some Mopar lovers have had more than one '62 Plymouth in their garage, and that includes Michael. "I got attached to these '62s," he says. "I had another '62 project that was so bad that it wasn't worth putting the money into. I did away with that car, and bought a couple of other parts cars. "He also says that, through the course of time, he became attached to this Fury simply because you don't see many of them. "You get a lot of double-takes with it, and I like that part," he says, and he adds, "It's good to be different, even if people say your car is so ugly it's beautiful."
If you think that '62 Plymouths are your kind of beautiful, Michael has this advice. "Buy one that's got fairly good sheetmetal on it, because for '62-'64s, there's not a lot of new stuff produced for them," noting the lack of early B-Body resto parts compared with '66-'67s and '68-'70 B-Bodies, especially. He adds, "The '62s are around, but they're not real plentiful."
But that number could increase, if you're as lucky as Michael was in finding his Fury.
'62 Plymouth Fury two-door hardtop
Owned by: Michael Bir, Fort Wayne, Indiana
- Engine: A 408-inch LA small-block, courtesy of Marshall Engines' BluePrint Series (and Jegs).
- Transmission: Michael rebuilt the OEM 727 TorqueFlite, and kept the original dash-mounted pushbutton shifter.
- Rearend: A 3.55-geared, Sure Grip-equipped, Mopar 8 3/4-inch one.
- Suspension: Refurbished original '62 Plymouth (Front) Longitudinal torsion bars with tubular shocks, plus a Just Suspensions anti-sway bar (Rear) Leaf springs with tubular shocks
- Brakes: 10x2.5-inch "Total Contact" drums all around, non-power-assisted
- Wheels and Tires: Polished 14x7-inch American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels on repro Uniroyal "Tiger Paws" give the Fury good handling and a cool '60s look.
- Body: Original '62 Plymouth two-door hardtop unibody wears replacement bumpers and its original Fury trim
- Paint: The previous owner resprayed the original Ermine White, which Michael and his buddy, Steven Snell, color-sanded and buffed.
- Interior: Standard '62 Fury front//rear bench seats with repro carpets from Auto Custom Carpets. (If you wanted bucket seats back then, you waited until mid-year for the Sport Fury.)