Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oakland Street Sighting - 1968 Plymouth Fury III Sport Suburban

This week I decided to do another themed series of features. Like the Big Three Vans series I did a few months ago, this will also deal with some of Detroit's finest - and not-so-fine - family haulers. That's right, this week we'll be looking at Big Three Station Wagons.

Last in the series is Chrysler, represented by this 1968 Plymouth Fury III Sport Suburban. I've never been lucky at finding feature-worthy cars in the Montclair district of Oakland, but this big old Fury fit the bill. I've seen it a number of times parked in the same spot, but it certainly moves under its own power and drives.

Many people hear the words "Plymouth Fury" and think of a demon-possessed red coupe with tail fins that kills people, thanks to one Mr. King and Mr. Carpenter. (For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, she goes by the name "Christine".) Fury was actually a model name that was used for top-line Plymouth coupes starting in 1956, and was expanded to include a sedan in 1959 and a wagon, called Suburban, in 1960. Chevrolet never had a monopoly on the word "Suburban"; before the term "station wagon" became general parlance for this type of car, it was common to call such a vehicle "Suburban". Nash and Studebaker also used the name for a while.
Fury started to lose its special meaning once it was diluted to include mainstream models, and even a slant-six engine could be fitted in it after 1960. For 1965, the Fury line was broken up farther, into trim levels (Fury I, II and III). This car is a Fury III, the best-equipped mainline model. The wagon was available in base, Custom and Sport Suburban trims as well. I've seen the '68 Sport Suburban described as rare, and by today's standards it is. According to HowStuffWorks, only 9,203 6-passenger Sport Suburban wagons were built that year, and 13,224 9-passenger wagons. I couldn't tell which variant this is due to the bubbled window tint.
It has a very utilitarian look to its styling, with plain, clean lines as part of Chrysler's "Fuselage" design language. Much of the stainless steel trim appears to have simply been screwed into the body. The angry stacked headlights give this plus-sized hauler some attitude. Maybe it's not happy about the leading edges of its fenders being dented and the rust that's starting to form in the bottom of the quarter panels. And unlike a certain other Fury, this one won't fix itself.


  1. Unbelievable! Our family bought one of these in 1968 and it lasted 108k miles in car unfriendly weather in Ohio, two reckless teenagers (my brother and I), dozens of cross country trips towing a trailer, and countless street races. Transmission rebuilt at 70k and 2-bbl 383 c.i. V-8 exploded at 108k.

    I'd love to buy this one and restore it as a family heirloom. Let me know if you find the owner or have more information where I could track it down.

    Thanks for all your GREAT posts... AWESOME WORK!


  2. Jay,

    Let me know if you can connect me to the owner or have more information where I could track it down. My brother and best friend who grew up in this car would love to buy and restore it to its glory!


    Car Crazy SoCal

    '06 Corvette Z06 (WICKED fast daily driver... WAY too much fun to drive, 0 to 60 < 4 seconds, 1.0+g cornering and 19 to 26 MPG!)

    '03 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Tomb Raider Limited Edition: Kenne Bell supercharged & Currie Enterprises built/lifted (Go Anywhere / Do Anything back country explorer & rock crawler)

  3. I have a 1968 plymouth furyiii sports suburban in the state of new mexico . love my car its been in the family over 32 years .. and i'm only 25 yrs old and my plans are to fix it up . still runs great!