Since Nov. 9th 2007 I am the proud owner of a 1967 Plymouth Fury VIP.
Before I list more details I want to share the reason why I bought it. When I was 5 years old my parents bought a new Peugeot 404. We had it for twelve years with little problems except for rust. In the end the car literally fell apart. But I grew up in that car and I learned a lot repairing it or at least trying to. Even today, forty years later, I still remember most of the knobs and a lot other technical details.
When I was 19 I got my first own car, it was a four year old Opel Kadett C. I loved it and tried to keep it running with parts from the junkyard since my budget as a student was almost nonexistent. What I loved most about the car was its size. No, it wasn’t nearly full-size, but everybody else was driving small coupes or compact cars and I had a real sedan although only with 2 doors. And I didn’t mind that it had only 45hp. After the Opel came a Simca 1308 my mother no longer needed. Although it was bigger and faster, I didn’t like it because it was a hatchback. (If I want a nice car i take a sedan, if I want a useful car I take a station wagon. Hachtbacks are for people who want a useful car but don’t dare to drive a station wagon, because it is too “trucklike”. I hate that opinion.) I drove it for three years before the rust brought it down.
Then came a change for me: I moved to Munich to work for the University and to accommodate the needs for moving I bought a Peugeot 505 station wagon. Now my dream of a big car had become reality. It was huge compared to other European models. But it was slow since it had a 2.5 liter Diesel engine with 75hp. With this car I returned to Peugeot, the make of my youth. After the 505 broke down I got my first new car, a Peugeot 406 and now I’m driving a Peugeot 407 These cars are the successors of the old 404 I now love in retrospect.
What I really like are big and powerful cars but since I can’t afford both I go for the size.. If I had the choice between, say a Porsche and a Cadillac I’d take the Cadillac. When I’m on vacation in the US I always rent at least full size cars depending on the cost. What I really liked were a Cadillac DeVille and a Lincoln Town Car I rented last year.
For some time I had the idea to get me a Peugeot 404, not as a daily driver but just for the fun of it. I looked for a long time for the right one but had trouble finding it. Either it was in miserable shape or it was the wrong year/model or most of the time both. In September I saw a 1963 Cadillac Coupe at the lake Starnberg and was thrilled. ‘I want one of these’ was my first reaction. So I began to reconsider my decision about the Peugeot and came to the conclusion that I wanted the 404 only to relive the past. What I really wanted all my life was to drive one of these huge US cars of the fifties and sixties like the Chevrolet Impala an uncle of me owned in ’71. So at first I looked for a 1963 Cadillac and found one in Munich for an affordable price. Upon seeing it I discovered that a lot of work was needed to get in a reasonable state. But before I could decide what to do it was sold to someone else. While searching for alternatives I became aware that if it’s labeld Cadillac it’s also quite expensive.. So I looked for other makes and models of that era too. The problem is that I am no hobby car mechanic. I can fix minor things, mostly electrical, but no major work like motor, brakes or body welding. The car should therefore be in solid drive-able condition and that to a reasonable price. That’s not easy to find.
One day I stumbled across a 1967 Plymouth Fury VIP 4 door hardtop. When I saw and drove it during the test drive I instantly decided to buy it. The owner who was very friendly and honest told me the story of the car: It was bought by an elderly man in Birmingham, AL, who drove it for a couple of years. Then he sold it to a young man who owned it for a very long time only to give it to his attorney to settle the bill. While it was in the shop to check its value for the attorney, the man I bought the car from saw it and bought it from the lawyer. He then used it for two years in the US an undertook it a rolling restoration to get it technically up to date. After importing it to Germany he got it a license for historical vehicles and all the alterations to be driven in Europe. After two more years in Germany he decided, it was time for something else, so he sold it to me.
The car is technically in very good shape and has no rust since there is no salt on the road or in the air in Alabama. The interior is quite OK except for the driver seat. And on the outside it looks just like a forty years old car, some dents and scratches but nothing major. Even the original paint is quite good.
Now I am happy as a clam cruising around in my dream car and still wondering why in the word I now own two cars.
For more detailed info and the first pictures about the Plymouth see the next article.