Brands like Ford, Chevrolet, Buick, and others have managed to stay relevant in the American auto market for as long as we can remember. Unlike these American car manufacturers that are still influential and very much around, Plymouth could not hang on for as long. Founded by Walter Chrysler on July 7, 1928, Plymouth was born in an era when Ford, Chevrolet, and American Motors were big names in the American automobile industry.
The Plymouth brand was Chrysler’s attempt at getting into the low-priced market that was dominated by the likes of Ford and Chevrolet. And the automaker was successful, at least in terms of sales, with notable vehicles that earned them appraisals and great reviews. Take the Plymouth Valiant, for example—a superb compact car with an impressive sales record. Another of its most notable models is the awesome Plymouth Road Runner—an exquisite muscle car with fantastic power and prim styling. But despite its relative success, Plymouth took a bow out of the auto space in 2001. Here, we look at some forgotten facts about Plymouth and its cars.
10 Plymouth Superbird Was Made For Richard Petty
The Plymouth Superbird is best known for its role in luring Richard Petty, one of the best racers at the time, back to Plymouth. Richard Petty had raced for Plymouth until a misunderstanding broke out that made him switch to Ford in 1969. When he won the first race of the season with Ford, Plymouth was ruffled and dug deep to create a star vehicle.
The Superbird was the solution and was inspired largely by the Dodge Charger Daytona. When he returned to Plymouth for the 1970 season, Petty and the Superbird were successful as he won eight NASCAR races with the car. Sadly, the Superbird was only legal for the 1970 season as a change in rules barred it from competing further.
9 Plymouth Fury Was Its First Muscle Car
Plymouth released the Plymouth Fury when muscle cars were not as highly appreciated as they are today. The Plymouth Fury was a luxury-styled car equipped with a high-performance engine.
It was initially a full-size car from 1959 to 1961 but alternated between full-size and midsize until it got a large body which came as the R-body Grand Fury and later, the M-body Fury. Equipped on the base Fury was a 5.0-liter V8 engine that spats a powerful 290 hp.
8 Was Chrysler’s First Entry Into The Low Priced Market
Ford and Chevrolet had ruled the American automobile market for a significant period and were contenders for Chrysler. The primary reason they dominated was the availability of their low-cost vehicles compared to Chrysler’s expensive options.
Chrysler introduced Plymouth at Madison Square Garden in 1928 as a low-priced option to their highly-priced cars. With Chrysler losing the demand for their vehicles, Plymouth’s introduction was a saving grace as it quickly stepped up Chrysler’s pace in the automobile market.
7 Forayed Into Pickup Trucks
Although not considered one of the outstanding areas where Plymouth delved, the automobile manufacturers had a brief period of truck escapades. The American automotive industry barely knew its way around trucks at the time, and in 1979, Plymouth linked up with its Japanese counterpart, Mitsubishi, who knew a lot more about trucks.
With this pact, the Mitsubishi-based Plymouth Arrow Pickup was introduced for Plymouth alongside Dodge’s D-50. Before this time, competitors Ford and Chevrolet had already released the Ford Courier and the Chevrolet LUV. However, from 1935 to 1942, Plymouth ventured into some car-based trucks that had little or no effect on the market.
6 Plymouth Neon Was Its Last Production Model
Towards the end of Plymouth’s era, the Plymouth Neon was released, initially debuting in 1991 as a Dodge concept car. The Plymouth Neon was equipped with a base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 132 hp and 129 pound-feet of torque and used a 3-speed Torqueflite automatic or a five-speed manual transmission.
Plymouth didn’t get all the credit for the Neon as it was also marketed as a Dodge. The Neon was available in two body styles, a four-door notchback sedan and a two-door notchback coupe.
5 Had A Peak Production In 1973
Plymouth may have had its difficult times, but we can’t deny that 1973 was a good year for the automobile manufacturers. With publicly appraised cars like the Plymouth Valiant that depicted impressive styling and quality, demands were on the rise, and this caused the automobile manufacturers to up their production.
From the production of 417,528 vehicles in 1939 to 726,009 in 1957 and then in 1973, Plymouth hit an all-time high output of 973,000 cars. An awe-inspiring feat that proved that the company was making significant progress.
4 They Were Limited To Three Cars For Their 1995 Lineup
For a company that was once one of the top-selling brands in America, the 1990s was a slow period for Plymouth as their production hit a downward curve. From a peak production of 973,000 vehicles in 1973, the automakers produced less than a quarter of their all-time high peak.
This greatly affected their 1995 lineup, limited to only three models, the Plymouth Acclaim, Neon, and the Voyager. This number only increased by one with the addition of the Plymouth Prowler in 1997.
3 1997 Plymouth Prowler Was Its Worst Car
In a hurried attempt to effect a change in its product lineup, Plymouth probably committed a gaffe with the release of the Plymouth Prowler. The Prowler was first featured as a concept car in 1993 at the Detroit Auto Show. When it was released, it wasn’t what people expected.
It was equipped with a V6 engine instead of the V8 common in sports cars. The V6 engine could only muster a meager 214 hp. Also, the Prowler was overpriced for the little it had to offer compared to better sports cars of that decade like the Chevrolet Corvette C5.
2 1966 Sport Fury And VIP Was Its Response To Ford And Chevy’s Luxury Editions
In response to the luxury editions by Ford and Chevrolet, which included the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Galaxie 500/XL, Plymouth restyled the Fury and released the Sports Fury and VIP. The Sports Fury had bucket seats, a console shifter, and a more sporty interior.
It was equipped with a V8 engine that generated impressive horsepower. The Plymouth VIP was no less exquisite as it also had a prime interior that included better sound insulation, walnut dashboards, and high-quality carpets.
1 1964 Barracuda Fastback Was Its First Sporty Car
The Plymouth Barracuda Fastback was based on Plymouth’s Valiant compact platform and possessed similar features to the Valiant. Plymouth built the Barracuda as an entrance into the sporty car trend. It was a two-door pony car equipped with a base 2.8-liter six-cylinder engine with an optional 4.5-liter V8 that produced more power.
Even though the Plymouth Barracuda was a great car, it still couldn’t meet up with Ford’s Mustang, which sold 126,538 units compared to its 23,443.