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The 1958 Plymouth Fury: The Undead Classic
The trailer opens by focusing on its curves. The camera pans seductively, caressing the car's blood red lines, before unveiling a whitewashed wheel. After only a few seconds, it's clear Stephen King couldn't have picked a better car to become possessed by evil spirits.
Even when it was given the name "Christine," the Fury was something else underneath.
Armed with twin four-barrel carburetors, an 318ci engine and a three-speed manual transmission, the Fury was built for the racetrack. However, at the time of its production, How Stuff Works indicates that the American Manufacturers Association had moved to prohibit the automakers from using race results in its advertisements.
So, despite the fact that the stock class version was built for performance – estimates say it hit nearly 120 in the flying mile, the car was ultimately toned down to be more marketable to the public. As a result, it wouldn't be until "Christine" that the car was given a truly fitting display of its prowess on celluloid.
Still, while the Fury was the main killer in the movie, the movie was also one of the main killers of many surviving Furys. Of the only 5,000 produced, few remain. (1957 models were the most plentiful of the pre-sport editions).
Reportedly, it took the filmmakers two and half years to track down the number of cars necessary to film "Christine" in the early '80s. And while those involved say more than 20 were involved in the production, including some rare models, most of these were wrecked filming death-defying stunts. As a result, some may question whether the movie was worth it, especially given its 65 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
But, despite its low rating, like all John Carpenter movies, it retains a cult following that helps keeps the Fury alive to this day. And while not every Fury is a hellsent monster bent on destruction, with the help of car and movie fans, it may never die.
About PeteRizzoA versatile journalist and car buff whose work has been published nationally and in the New England area! View all posts by PeteRizzo →
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