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Home/Technical Info/Plymouth/ 11. Car Models Described/
Plymouth Post-War Story - 1955-1960: The Forward Look Years

The 1957 Fury, in its second production year, was already respected as a great accelerating and handling car.
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Click HERE for the 1957 Plymouth Brochure 1957_Plymouth_Brochure_1-12.pdf
Click HERE for the 1955 Plymouth Brochure 1955_Plymouth_Prestige_Brochure_1-24.pdf
Click HERE for the 1956 Plymouth Foldout Brochure 1956_Plymouth_Foldout_Brochure_1-4.pdf
Click HERE for the 1958 Plymouth Brochure 1958_Plymouth_Brochure_1-16.pdf

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The 1955 Plymouth models, featuring Virgil Exner's all-new "forward look" styling, appeared on November 17, 1954, while the Plymouth Suburban station wagons arrived in dealer showrooms on December 22. The new cars came with an optional, brand new Polyspherical OHV V-8 engine. In a total departure from Plymouth's past, the 1955 Belvedere was introduced as “A great new car for the young at heart."

The Belvedere line included a sporty hardtop and a convertible, changes which brought much needed excitement to the new lineup. In addition to new standard features, such as dashboard-controlled Powerflite automatic transmission, suspended foot pedals, and tubeless tires, buyers could now opt for air-conditioning, power windows, and power front seats.

Model year production peaked at 704,464 units while calendar year sales of 742,991 cars were recorded. Over 35,000 Plymouths had power brakes, 33,000 had power steering, almost 349,000 had automatic transmissions, and almost 61 percent had V-8 engines.

The 1956 Plymouth line was introduced on October 21, 1955 and included an expansion to the Suburban, Belvedere and Savoy series. The new Fury hardtop sport coupe would appear in dealer showrooms on January 7, 1956. Contributing to Plymouth's performance image in this year was the new, limited-edition Fury hardtop. This model sported a special color scheme—white-and-gold—but most importantly, it featured a high performance 303 CID V-8 engine with four-barrel carburetion and dual exhausts.

New technical features for 1956 included a 12-volt electrical system, independent handbrake, and pushbutton automatic transmission controls. Also significant was an optional "Highway Hi-Fi" record player.  

The Plymouth "Plainsman" station wagon show car was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show, and an experimental turbine-powered Fury sport coupe was also developed. Model year production was 571,634 units.

The 1957 Plymouths were introduced October 25, 1956 with the Fury appearing a little later, on December 18. These cars were restyled over the '56 models with much more pronounced tail fins and a more prominent front fascia. This daring styling coupled with advanced performance put Plymouth back into third place in sales.

A unique station wagon prototype called the "Cabana" was set up for production. It was based on the experimental Plainsman show car but was considered too expensive to produce and failed to reach the production stage. For this year, the Fury featured a 290 HP 318 CID "Poly" V8. After 1957, this engine, when detuned, would serve as Plymouth's workhorse engine until 1966.  Model year production reached 762,261 units.

The 1958 Plymouths were introduced to the public on October 16, 1957. Hot engines were the talk of 1958 with Plymouth now applying the term "Power Pack" to cars equipped with an optional four-barrel carburetor. The Fury received the new "B" series V8 at 350 CID, catching up to the Ford and Chevrolet performance engine displacements. With two 4-barrel carburetors, it developed 305 HP and, more importantly, 370 ft.-lbs. of torque.

Also announced was an electronic fuel injection (E.F.I.) engine with a very sophisticated fuel injection unit developed by Bendix and available in 350 CID Furys only. The system was not perfected and developed electronic "gremlins". Most cars with this option were later recalled and reconverted to the "Golden Commando" carbureted configuration.

Model year production peaked at 443,799 units. Plymouth retained its Number 3 sales rank for the industry at 30.6%.

The 1959 Plymouths were introduced in October 1958 with the troublesome fuel injection option of the year before was deleted from the options list. Wings were the thing for all of Chrysler Corporation's cars, and Plymouth's was the most outrageous.

For 1959 Plymouth dropped its Plaza model line, and the remaining models moved down one level. As such, the Fury was elevated to a separate, upscale, series, and the "Sport Fury" became the new high-performance entry. The Sport Fury line-up included a model that the '58 Fury line did not have -- a convertible.

Also introduced as an option in 1959 was a new 361 CID Golden Commando V-8 engine with two four-barrel carburetors. It delivered 305 horsepower—the same as the '58 350 CID block, but with 25 more ft.-lbs. of torque, now at 395 and more than equal to its competition.

An economic recession happened to be in full swing at this time, and, starting in 1960, Plymouth's sales began a slow, steady decline. In response to slowing sales at the top-end of the line, the Sport Fury disappeared and the Fury line could now be had with the former Sport Fury options including the new 383 CID "Sonoramic" ram-charged V8 with 330 HP and 425 ft.-lbs. of torque.

In response to the recession, which was killing new car sales, Chrysler introduced a compact car, dubbed the "Valiant."  This all-new model was not initially identified as a Plymouth and was considered a distinct brand for 1960.  The following year it would become a Plymouth sub-series. In this, its first year, the Valiant was assembled by Dodge Division but sold for the most part by Plymouth dealers. It was an immediate success and enjoyed a high rate of sales -- saving the brand from the fate of DeSoto, which was in its death throes.

Also new for 1960 was the "Slant Six" OHV six-cylinder engine. It was an all-new design canted over 30 degrees from vertical and using "thin wall" casting techniques to decrease weight.  It was offered in two sizes; 170 CID "low deck" for the new Valiant and 225 CID "raised deck" for the full-size Plymouths. In mid-model year an aluminum cylinder block was offered.

For 1960, Plymouth dropped to fourth place in sales, producing 447,722 cars, which put behind third-place Rambler by 24,292. 

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The 1955 Belvedere 2-door Hardtop was the hot number in 1955 - now with V-8 power.

The 1956 Plymouth Fury was really an optional Belvedere but marketed as a stand alone model.

The 1957 Belvedere convertible was the next most expensive offering next to the Fury.

The 1958 4-door Belvedere hardtop–as stylish and snazzy as the convertible.

The 1959 Plymouth Sport Fury Convertible was a first for the Fury line in this year.

The 1960 Valiant came in 4-door and station wagon models only.

A Fury could now be had as a 4-door hardtop.

The 1956 Plymouth Plainsman was considered for production













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