I know you guys are getting tired of me talking about how much I like these “industrial strength” early Mopars, you know, the pre-muscle-car muscle cars that were little more than race cars you could buy from the dealer. I love their bare-bones styling and purposeful look, and everybody loves the big engines that powered them. So if you're going to build a Pro-Touring industrial strength Mopar, you'd better be careful not to wreck all that is good about these cars in their original configuration. Fortunately, the guys who built this 1963 Plymouth Fury got it right- -the sheet metal does most of the talking, a built modern-tech Hemi lives under the hood, and it's built to drive with a ton of creature comforts like A/C, power steering, and a killer stereo. And I'm not alone in loving this ca - it's been in several magazine shoots and has won more than a few awards.
This was a very clean car to start with, and was actually purchased from the original owner in 2008! Hailing from rust-free Arizona, there's absolutely no sign of significant sheet metal replacement or repairs, and as far as we can tell, it's 100% original steel, including the quarter panels and fenders. The body was reworked by the pros at Kustom Colors before that 2-stage Dupont bright red paint was applied, and wow, does it pop! It was followed by 5 coats of clear, with a round of wet sanding between each coat for a uniform shine. Panel alignment is good all around, and I'm especially pleased that they left all the original sheet metal unmodified because these early-60s Furys are some great-looking cars. All the stainless and chrome has been refinished, including the intricate front grille and big, oval turn signal indicators - hell, they even left the hood ornament in place! Glass is excellent, with the side and rear windows being tinted for a more sinister, modern look (which probably also helps it stay cool in the hot Arizona sun). I'm fairly certain bright red was available in 1963, and if not for the big wheels and killer stance, you might mistake this for a car that has been restored to original condition.
I'm not sure what engine originally lived in the bright red engine bay, but it now sports a fuel injected 5.7 liter Hemi out of a 2008 Dodge Charger. Of course, this build wasn't about using stock parts, so even that potent V8 got a cam upgrade. And as a show car, extra care was taken to make it look exceptionally clean. Note how all the wiring is hidden, how the hoses are routed down and out of sight, and even that the 6.1 liter intake manifold was raised a half-inch so that the coil packs could be hidden underneath. That particular trick also necessitated the fabrication of some seriously cool custom valve covers, which cost more than $2000 to create. They even managed to retain and use the fly-by-wire accelerator pedal - too cool. The computer is a stock piece, so it's reliable and can actually be diagnosed and serviced at any Chrysler dealer in the country. Up front, there's a massive aluminum radiator and electric fan keeping it all cool, and the builder reports that it never goes over 190 degrees, even in the 110-degree heat of the desert with the A/C blasting. You've probably also noticed the Wilwood billet master cylinder for the 4-wheel disc brakes and the Firm Feel power steering unit, which makes this car a pleasure to drive, even with those wide front tires.
Underneath it's built for the road, with upgrades that make this car the one you'll want to take on that next long road trip. The transmission is a freshly built 727 TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic with a 2500 RPM stall converter feeding a new driveshaft and a narrowed 8.75 inch rear to accommodate those massive tires. The exhaust is 2.5-inch stainless steel with Flowmaster mufflers and turndowns out back for a subtle look that I appreciate. New Super Stock leaf springs were installed out back, but moved inboard, again to clear the big tires. Lowering blocks out back and a set of dropped spindles up front give the car its aggressive rake, without going so low you can't drive it and without the hassles of an air suspension system. For a modern feel, new gas shocks were used all around, as well as a thick front sway bar. And for modern braking, 4-wheel crossdrilled discs from Wilwood were installed at each corner. Rolling stock is comprised of 18x9 front and 19x10 Intro wheels that were custom built for this application, and they wear 245/40/18 front and fat 285/35/19 rear tires.
The builder is also quick to point out that since this car was built to drive, and since it was born in the desert, there's an awful lot of insulation and sound deadening material inside; in fact, more than $3000 worth. First the floors were covered in Rhino-Lining bedliner material, then a layer of Dynamat, then a layer of Luxury Pro liner on top of that, plus new weather seals and felt, making this car incredibly quiet and comfortable, despite the rumbling exhaust underneath. The rest of the interior is spectacularly done, from the bright red seats done in the original style, to the carpets, to the original style door panels. Like the exterior, the great things about the original car were left intact, such as the functional pushbutton controls for the transmission. And I love what they did with the gauges - they look vintage and modern at the same time, with white lettering, red needles, and Plymouth-style lettering, all thanks to RedLine Gauges. The original housing was restored and rechromed, and it was all reinstalled in the original dashboard. The original AM radio is in the dash, but if you open the glove box, you'll find the controls for the remote 800-watt AM/FM/CD/XM/iPod stereo system and the powerful Vintage Air Max Flow A/C system. The original center speaker open was filled and smoothed, and if you aren't familiar with these cars, you'd never notice anything was different.
In back, the trunk was upholstered to match the interior, with lots of red. The battery and stereo are hidden behind the back seat, while two storage bins have been built into the side panels. Again, if you didn't know what it looked like in 1963, it might pass for OEM.
This car is no stranger to accolades, either. It has been featured in “Mopar Action” magazine, was on display at the 2009 SEMA show in Las Vegas, and has appeared on the “Car Crazy” TV show. It has been to three major shows, and won Best of Show in two of the three. It was also the Gary Medders Good Guy pick and the Best Bitchin' Pick at the Southwest Nationals in Phoenix. Finally, it was recently the subject of a photo shoot for “Mopar Muscle” magazine. This is not a garden-variety build.
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