The Success Story Of Plymouth
Plymouth sales had been riding high during the late fifties, and it was hoped that Plymouth would continue that success well into the new decade. There were numerous roadblocks to overcome, but one of those, the rising popularity of the American Motors line of smaller cars, was about to be addressed by Chrysler.
Chrysler Corporation officially entered the 1960 compact car contest with the dressy looking Valiant. While listed here as a Plymouth, the make it would officially be identified with from 1961, its actual marketing position was as a stand-alone model (see below).
The Valiant was a product of genuine American competition. Chrysler had a financial interest in a European company (Simca would eventually market the Plymouth Cricket in the early seventies) that could have easily provided a compact car to compete with the Corvair or Falcon. The problem was no one in the United States was certain how American built compact cars would be accepted by the buying public.
Ford took the approach of strict conservatism with the Falcon. General Motors held the unusual position of reaching out on a limb for a head-to-head combatant for the VW in their Corvair. Chrysler had been working on a more or less conservative approach, but wanted its car to offer some of the styling and features that Americans were used to, not just a plain Jane “econobox.”
The result was the Valiant, styled to look like a larger car, with big car equipment and ride. Therefore, like all other Mo par products for 1960, the Valiant featured “unit body” construction with torsion bar suspension in the front for a solid ride and feel. Under the hood was the largest standard engine of any of the “Big 3” compacts for more power.
Interior and exterior styling mimicked Chrysler products everywhere you looked, including tail fins at the rear, a fake spare tire cover on the deck lid, dual headlamps up front, and a push-button automatic transmission selector. Officially the Valiant was introduced as its own make within Chrysler Corporation. It was built by Dodge, but sold mostly through Plymouth dealerships.
In retrospect, the reasoning for selling through Plymouth dealerships most likely has to do with the coming demise of the De Soto, which was generally sold through dual Plymouth- De Soto dealerships. Nearly all Plymouth were sold through some type of dual (or multiple) dealer setup.
This type of marketing kept the dealers happy, as they still had sales coming in the door, even though they were about to lose an entire line of cars. The full-size Plymouth line received the same makeover as the other Chrysler offerings for 1960.
All were based on the new unit-body construction. Overall styling was evolutionary from the look of the 1957–1959 line, but came off a bit overdone and unusual.
The front end featured a grille that looked like it belonged on a Chrysler or De Soto, with small horizontal bars set within vertical groupings. Dual headlamps were fitted at each end of the grille, with square parking lamps and turn signals centered below each pair of headlamps.
These were mounted atop a much thinner front bumper. The unique styling came with the lone body side style treatment. This styling cue actually started at the front outside edge of the hood, wrapped up across the headlamps, around the front corner of the fender, then came back across the top of the front wheel opening, where it followed the wheel opening down to the rocker panel with a slight forward “kick” to it.
Otherwise body side panels were smooth and uncluttered, which was quite a departure from most other American products of the time. At the rear, Plymouth bucked the Detroit trend and featured tail fins that were as tall as any ever to be seen on a Plymouth.
Rear styling was similar to prior years, with 2- door Hardtop models featuring a unique “Ski-Hi” rear window treatment that went forward, well over the rear seating area. Power trains were similar to prior years with two notable exceptions.
The first was the new 225 CID 6-cylinder, which replaced the aging L-Head Six used for so many years. This new engine was more powerful and depend- able, and would serve Plymouth in millions of cars for the next thirty years.
The other new engine was the 383 CID V8. This powerful new “Sono Ramic Commando” engine was based on the proven Dodge engines of the day, and would prove to be quite a powerhouse in the lighter weight Plymouth.
1960 • Plymouth 60
Valiant V200 4-Door Sedan Savoy 4-Door Sedan Valiant V200 4-Door Wagon
Belvedere 2-Door Club Sedan Fury 4-Door Hardtop Fury 2-Door Convertible Sport Suburban 4-Door Wagon
61 1960 • Plymouth 1 9 6 0
Model year production: 447,722, up 6.42% over 1959. Domestic market share: 7.43% (3rd place). Base price range: $2,053 to $2,990. Industry average base price: $3,391. Plymouth average base price: $2,650. Introduction date: October, 1959. Assembly plants: Lynch Road, MI (1); Hamtramck, MI (2); Detroit, MI (3); Los Angeles, CA (5); Newark DE (6); and St. Louis, MO (7). Data plate identification: Ten digit code read as follows:
First number designates type of powerplant (see engine code); second number is series designation (0 = Fleet, 1 = Valiant or Savoy, 2 = Belvedere, 3 = Valiant V200 or Fury, 5 = Valiant Wagon or Suburban, 7 = Valiant V200 Wagon); third digit 0 for 1960; fourth digit is assembly plant code; 100001 and up for serial number. Example: 2302100001 is a 1960 Plymouth Fury with a 225 CID 6-cyl., built at Hamtramck, MI, serial number 100001. Body style cannot be identified through the VIN.
Power trains Gross Engine Transmission Savoy*/ Engine HP Code Availability Valiant Belvedere Fury** 170 CID, 1-bbl., 6-cyl. 101 1 3-speed manual S Torqueflite automatic $172 170 CID, 4-bbl., 6-cyl. 148 1 3-speed manual $ Torqueflite automatic $ 225 CID 30-D Economy Six, 1-bbl., 6-cyl. 145 2 3-speed manual – S – Powerflite automatic – $189 – Torqueflite automatic – $192 – 318 CID Fury V-800, 2-bbl., V8 230 3 3-speed manual – $119 S PowerFlite automatic – $308 $189 Torqueflite automatic – $318 $199 318 CID Super Pack, 4-bbl., V8 260 3 3-speed manual – $158 $39 PowerFlite automatic – $347 $228 Torqueflite automatic – $357 $238 361 CID Golden Commando, 4-bbl., V8 305 3 3-speed manual – $325 $206 Torqueflite automatic – $524 $405 383 CID SonoRamic Commando, 4-bbl., V8 310 3 3-speed manual – $508 $389 Torqueflite automatic – $707 $588 383 CID SonoRamic Commando, 2 ⋅ 4-bbl., V8 330 3 3-speed manual – $524 $405 Torqueflite automatic – $723 $604 *Fury 2- and 4-Door HT and 4-Door Sedan also included. **Fury Convertible, Custom Suburban 9-passenger and Sport Suburban wagons only.