We’ve mused before about the 1960 Plymouth, and the future it found itself in not being as kind as its forebearers had promised it in the Fall of ’56. Plymouth had a hard time moving on from its miserly image in general, with Dodge prominently powerful as a more premium player in the makings of Mopar at the turn of the decade.
Nevertheless, Plymouth was to offer a glamorous convertible, as expected by all of the Low-Priced Three as a traditional halo model. 1960 would be no different for Plymouth, as they rivaled Chevrolet for the most flamboyant offering for 1960 for the smallest of open top budgets.
1960, like most years tying two decades together, spoke to the aesthetic of one era leaving, and another one coming in. Automotive styling pretty much still reflected fifties flamboyant with a gargantuan glob of googie details slathered on for good measure.
In this case the 1960 Plymouth models weren’t too out of step with what everyone else save the ultra-rationalized compacts from the Big 3 and Studebaker clothed their frames with. Speaking of, this was the first year that Plymouth and all other Mopars save the Imperial went frame-less with Uni-body structures to combat the perception of poor quality that plagued earlier plumage packed Forward Look efforts.
The stable styling details, especially Plymouth’s use of rather blunt shark fins on their big cars, softened the transition, and hoped to validate what the original beastly beauties offered in an effort to establish styling continuity.
Unfortunate for this forward movement in styling, most American buyers were tired of the finned flamboyance, or weren’t convinced highly vertical visual details actually aided in high speed stability, aerodynamics or fuel economy. Both Ford and Chevrolet sent their wings fully horizontal and not offering any blind spots in the over the shoulder view.
The competition for space in the ragtop race was pretty fierce in recession addled 1960 as well. Not only where their open top beauties within a couple of dollars in forms of galloping Impalas and interstellar appearing Galaxies, right below was the compact Lark convertible new for ’60 with V8 verve and compact economy.
Slightly north was the bodyshell sharing Dodge Dart Phoenix convertible, nevermind the Pontiac Catalina and Mercury Monterey convertibles if you wanted a little bit more discreet in your styling details.
However, if you wanted the cheapest uni-body convertible with a bevy of V8’s, Highland Park’s legendary Torsion-Aire handling, Torqueflite Automatic and Total Contact Brakes, the 1960 Fury fit the bill to all those T’s. The 1960 Plymouth built upon the already stellar reputation that most Mopar offerings had regarding being the closest to true “driver’s cars” compared to other American offerings in the mid-century.
But how did our be-finned baking under the solar rays machine do in 1960? At 7,080 units, the Impala Convertible bought in 10 times as many buyers. It was a tough time to be anyone but Chevrolet in 1960 anyways, as Ford managed just under 45,000 Galaxie convertibles. But nearly 60 years later, we are amazed by the flamboyant Plymouth the most, as a tribute to all things possible in a designers imagination.