Charles Phoenix’s Slide of the Week: The “Folks” and the Fury, Pasadena, CA, 1964


“Folks” is hand written on this slide. Do these “folks” realize they left their camera on the hood of their car? The camera is the Argus Seventy Five, mass-produced in Ann Arbor, Michigan between 1953 and 1958. The car is a 1961 Plymouth Fury.

Flaring, wrap around front fenders make this the one of the most spectacular designs ever to roll off a Plymouth assembly line. After five years of Plymouths sporting stylish tailfins the ’61 model year is the first without. But the fashionable front end makes up for it. And this car is parked to show it off! The Plymouth logo, a gold anodized rocket, is centered on the stamped aluminum grille. The black and yellow California license plate gives scale to the delicate wrap around bumper. Among the cars other odd features are the dash mounted mirror and pushbutton transmission. Push “D” for drive or “R” for reverse. His sunshade is up; hers is down.

Speaking of he and she, the “folks,” they are both properly dressed for a mid-day drive. She is outstanding in a bright turquoise, short-sleeved dress. He chose a suit of forest green over white finished with a thin tie held in place by a tie bar. He clutches a striped paper bag in one hand and shows off a silver box in the other. Stepping-stones guide them between the Fury and the front door.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s when I was buying and selling late 50s and early 60s American cars on just about a weekly basis, I owned a couple of ’61 Plymouth Furys. I bought them both out of the local auto trader. One of them came from the estate of a nurse named Wilma White in Tujunga, CA. It was a two-door hardtop, white with a red interior. What a great car! I drove it to work for a while in the late 80s when I was a fashion designer downtown Los Angeles. Wilma White, I always name my cars after the original owner, also provided me with the most unfortunate experience of my early car collecting days. I’ll never forget.

I had just gotten home from work. I parked it, as usual, on the hill in front of my house. Well, I guess I didn’t set the parking brake hard enough. And that’s not a good thing considering these cars are notorious for falling out of park and rolling down hills. And that’s exactly what my 1961 Plymouth Fury did. It rolled backwards pinning my neighbor’s Volvo broadside leaving it accordion pleated up against the curb. Oh well, I had to buy my neighbor a new used Volvo. It was the price I had to pay to see a ’61 Plymouth total a Volvo and drive away unscathed without a scratch. I should’ve taken a picture but I didn’t have my Argus Seventy Five on me.

Here’s to the ’folks, the Argus, Wilma White VS. the Volvo and YOU!

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