Market watch: Classic fuselage Chryslers finding new love

Market watch: Classic fuselage Chryslers finding new love

Rising Fuselage trend in classics world were on display at the Concours of America

The Concours d’Elegance of America held in Plymouth, Michigan this past week confirmed what was already suspected: full-size 1969-1973 Chrysler C-body cars are getting a hard, fresh look from both collectors and enthusiasts.

Now commonly referred to as Fuselage cars, the term was first used in a Chrysler advertisement from late 1968 to tout the new unibody construction of the big, bold Mopars.

The streamlined, slab-sided styling promised “…no protruding chrome, bumps, knobs, gargoyles or wasted space. It can be an extension of your own exhilaration of movement.”

The sleek redesign applied to the Imperial, Chrysler 300, Newport and New Yorker, as well as the Dodge Polara and Monaco and the Plymouth Fury line.

Seemingly ubiquitous to television cop shows of the 1970s, well-optioned 2-door Furies and 300s now command new attention, especially when powered by the 440cid V8. Reportedly, a few dozen Sport Furies were equipped with the Six-Pack carburetor option.

Three such cars were in attendance at the Concours of America, including the sole 1970 Chrysler 300H Hurst convertible once owned by George Hurst. 

It was said to be his favorite of all the Hurst special-edition cars. | William Hall photo

It was said to be his favorite of all the Hurst special-edition cars. | William Hall photo

Miss Hurst Shifter, Linda Vaughn, was a prominent passenger in the droptop 300. It features Cragar magnesium wheels and special badging that differs from the limited production 300H coupes.

The 300H Hurst coupes — considered the most desirable of the Fuselage cars — have already moved on price. Mecum Auctions sold one at their January Kissimmee auction for $66,000 and another in Indianapolis a few months ago for $56,100.

Taking first prize at the Concours of America in the Alternative Muscle class was the 1971 Plymouth Sport Fury GT owned by David Arent. The car is one of just 375 built and features a long list of options including bucket seats, console and electric sunroof. Arent found the dilapidated car at a salvage yard in Georgia and returned it to as-new condition, which was recognized and rewarded by the judges.

Plymouth included the Sport Fury GT in their Rapid Transit System marketing, offering it alongside the mid-size GTX in the executive branch of their performance fleet, adding, “… if family room is a problem, consider the Sport Fury GT above. Nothing less than our biggest shell, wrapped around our biggest displacement engine. It’s King-size, but don’t let that fool you. We don’t call it Daddy Longlegs for nothing.”

Being full-size luxury cars, many escaped the abuse common to muscle cars of that era. A number of them have survived in good condition, and prices are yet to catch up with their stablemates. ClassicCars.com listings feature a number of examples at varied pricing.

Coupes with the 440 engine can still be found between $10,000 and $20,000 — but if recent interest is any indicator, those prices won’t stay low for long.

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William Hall
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  • Ryan Corman
    August 6, 2018, 5:04 PM

    Oh, #*&@! I had a beautiful (if’n burnt orange/white vinyl top/white seats with faux Indian blanket cloth facings in brown w/orange & gold patterning, and orange pseudo shag carpet tweaks yer ’70’s nerve) ’73 Newport coupe with an unmolested 440/4bbl & factory + dealer installed towing package(s). Bought it in rural Indiana in the late ’80’s from the elderly original owners who bought it to tow their boat & haul grandkids. Car became too much, so I got a helluva deal on it; very minimal work on the all, and I mean hoses/coil/plug wires all original motor, rebuild carb, flush ‘n’ fill fluids, and replaced the steelies & ufo lookin’ caps with the Mopar obligatory Keystones, 15×8’s ‘n’ G60-15’s, had a custom college cruiser that was big enough. Have a pic somewhere of it staged at the Indiana Newport Arsenal sign, where at the time stocks of VX nerve gas were being destroyed.
    I knew I should have kept that thing. Curses.
    -R
    Fargo

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