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1958 Plymouth Fury: And Christine Was Her Name

If you consider yourself an enthusiast of American cars from the ‘50s, then “Christine” should be in your bucket list of movies to watch. The horror novel, which was written by Stephen King and published in 1983, tells the story of a 1958 Plymouth Fury that was apparently possessed by supernatural forces and could magically restore itself after it gets damaged while committing heinous acts of murder and revenge.

The film adaptation the novel was directed by John Carpenter and released in December 1983. The film starred Keith Gordon as Arnold “Arnie” Cunningham, John Stockwell as Arnie’s friend and school jock Dennis Guilder, Alexandra Paul Arnie’s love interest Leigh Cabot, and Harry Dean Stanton as Detective Rudolph “Rudy” Junkins, the police detective investigating the crimes that involve the car.

Arnie (Keith Gordon), Leigh (Alexandra Paul) and Dennis (John Stockwell) with Christine in 1983. Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures.

Fury the Plymouth versus the Fury of Customers

The Plymouth Fury was manufactured from 1956 to 1958 as the two-door hardtop version of the 4-door Plymouth Belvedere. The Fury was fitted with special interiors, bumper wing-guards, and 318 cubic-inch (5.2-liter) V8 engines with dual four-barrel carburetors, dubbed as the “V-800 Dual Fury”, producing 290 horsepower in 1957 and 1958.

1956 Plymouth Fury

1956 Plymouth Fury

In 1956 and 1957, the Fury was available only in sandstone white with gold anodized aluminum trim. In 1957, it was restyled with a longer and wider body that sported very large vertical tailfins while a new torsion bar front suspension replaced the previous coil springs. The restyle boosted sales but quality control suffered because most Chrysler, Plymouth and Dodge products at that time were quickly marketed before their design and construction weaknesses could be fully addressed by engineering.

1957 Plymouth Fury

1957 Plymouth Fury

Fury versus the Bel Air

In 1958, Plymouth introduced an optional 350 cubic-inch (5.7-liter) V8 engine dubbed as the “Golden Commando”. A version with two four-barrel carburetors made 305 horses while one with the Bendix electronic fuel-injection system made 315 hp. The early EFI system was recalled by the factory and replaced, under warranty, with a conventional dual four-barrel setup.

1958 Plymouth Fury with license plate number CQB-241 used in the movie “Christine”.

Super Commando 350 V8

Steven King, the author of “Christine”, was famously quoted as saying that he wanted the 1958 Plymouth Fury instead of a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air simply because a lot of people loved the Bel Air while only a handful loved the Fury. Thus, he thought that the Fury would make a better sinister killer car than the loveable and popular Bel Air.

1957 Chevy Bel Air

Christine, the evil 1958 Plymouth Fury

1958 Fury 62 Years Later  

While the 1957 and the 1958 models look almost identical, one of the differences can be found in the headlights, The 1957 Fury sports two headlights and a pair of signal lenses that make the assembly look like quad headlamp while the 1958 model sports real actual quad headlights with the turn signals placed between the headlamps like a lighted eyebrow. Also, the “V” emblem, to announce the V8 engine power, was moved from the side of the fender to the center of the grille.

At the 2019 Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mopar Muscle magazine displayed their project car – a fully-restored 1958 Plymouth Fury that they equipped with a modern Hellephant supercharged monster V8 motor that produces 1,000 hp and 1,288 Newton-meters of torque and backed with a Silver Sport 6-speed automatic transmission that was modified to work with the original pushbutton gear selector.

The ’58 Fury project car of Mopar Muscle magazine looked stock outside…

… until you see the 1,000-horsepower Hellephant supercharged V8 motor under the hood.

However, if find that your 1958 Plymouth Fury has the ability to restore itself overnight even after a major collision, then we can only suggest that you run and hide, because you may have stumbled upon a resurrected Christine. But then again, a red-and-white two-door hardtop from the late ‘50s that can regenerate itself after killing your enemies is not such a bad thing, after all.

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