Hagerty.com

Fear on wheels: 10 things you may not know about Christine


#1

Stephen King taught us some important lessons while ascending to his rightful place as America’s most prolific author of horror and supernatural fiction. For instance: don’t dump pig’s blood on Carrie, never stay at The Shining’s Overlook Hotel (Here’s Johnny!”), and for goodness’ sake, tread lightly when dealing with a 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2017/10/26/fear-on-wheels-christine

#2

I had my Transmission Shop in Montrose California, one of my customers was traveling the country finding cars for the movie then he would build them. I did 6 or 7 transmissions in those cars. They built one car with a small fuel cell and had the radiator in the trunk. Some of the cars looked like junk on one side and the other looked new.


#3

Alright, now that’s a coincedance, my first car was a 1958 Fury. It needed an engine rebuild so it only cost me $125.00 in 1965. But I also had a Cobra Jet Mustang. Good sounds from both of them.


#4

A hot car that can fix itself and kills your enemies. What’s not to love?


#5

So, is the 1968 charger from the movie Christine really the one on MoparMel’s website?
(http://www.moparmel.com/home/previousrestores.html)
John


#6

For years I have heard about the 1958 Plymouth “Fury” used in the “Christine” movie. In 1958 all Plymouth Furys were an off-white in color and had the gold anodized metal in the side trim. The Plymouth depicted in “Christine” is a red Plymouth Belvedere hardtop. I once owned a 1958 red Plymouth Savoy 2 door hardtop. Great little car but they were very susceptible to the rust worms.


#7

Back several years ago, I owned a 1957 Plymouth two door sedan. It was running when I bought it, but I had to do some mechanical work to get it roadworthy before I began the cosmetic restoration. It was still looking pretty ratty looking when I took it to a front-end shop to have the wheel alignment done. When I pulled up to the shop, one of the young guys working there turned pale and refused to touch it! The movie “Christine” had shown on tv the night before and he thought she come to pay him a visit.


#8

Two weeks ago I went to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. They have one of the cars (a Plymouth Fury) used in the movie Christine on display. Very Cool!


#9

The book is pretty good trash and Jon Carpenter was perfectly suited to direct although I wonder what David Lynch might have done with it. It’s too bad King didn’t choose a '57 Chevy instead of the scarce and fragile Plymouths. I’ve been into Forward Look MOPars since they were new and it pained me to learn that the movie used up vast amounts of decent cars and parts. The worst thing, however, is the legion of geeks who build the “tribute” versions. These guys all think they have come up with a brilliant, original idea. They all seem a bit retarded. It’s a travesty.


#10

Labree is exactly correct, The movie cars were actually Belvederes depicted with Fury 350’s. No article ever gets it right. 350’s can be identified by front mounted distributors and a 1958 date (the only year they made a 350 was 1958) There was also a Fury 318, with rear mount distributor, which is what I have in my own car (original engine). I have an interesting build thread on my website if you would like to see its restoration. My car actually came out of a junkyard for $700. I saved it because of the movie, as many others have, so saved cars VS destroyed cars may be a wash in the end. It’s hard to say. The accessory bumper ends (wings) on a 57 - 58 Plymouth, and used on Christine, commonly sell for $2,000 per set of four pieces! They wrecked a bunch of those in the movie!


#11

Nope:

labree and lotsatailfins are close but allow me to set the record straight.

Labree’s comment, and lotsatailfins response would properly apply to 1956 and 1957 Fury sub-models but not to 1958. The '56 and '57 Fury was a 2-door hardtop (no “B” pillar) and was only available in a color Plymouth called “Eggshell” with a gold anodized trim. As a teenager when the models were introduced in September of 1956, I tried to get my Dad to buy the '57 Fury - but he (and Mom) chose a mid-line brand new special order four door 1957 Savoy, black with a white roof and white “Sportone” lower body optional extra cost two-tone trim from mid-front door to the rear bumper, 301ci V-8, 2-speed Powerflyte automatic tranny, AM radio, Big heater, rear window defogger, cigar lighter and several other comfort options. The car was ordered from Novo Motors in NJ and Dad had them mount the single radio antenna at the left rear - just behind the rear window

For the 1958 model year Plymouth “Badge-Engineered” their line, moving the names of each model up one step. What was a bottom-line Plaza became Savoy; what was a Savoy became Belvedere, and the Belvedere became Fury - what was the Fury became the Sport Fury, so the Fury (the previous Belvedere) was available in a plethora of colors, and even as a 2- and 4-door sedan and (no “B” pillar) hardtop, as well as a convertible. Station wagons were called “Suburban”. The standard engine for all models, except for the Sport Fury, was the tried and true Flat Head Six.

I hope this provides a more thorough and accurate picture of Christine, the 1958 Fury (Not a Sport Fury).


#12

Nope, nope. Marty provides some excellent followup information but is off by one year. If his paragraph beginning “For the 1958 model year” instead read “1959 model year”, that paragraph would be exactly right.

The fury was only available as a separate model in 1958 in Buckskin Beige only, only as a 2dr hardtop with dual fours and only with gold anodized side trim, hubcap centers, steering wheel center cap trim, grill etc. The Vee color on the grill emblem was reversed, meaning that it was silver on Fury’s but gold on Belvederes so as to contrast with the grills color. It also had notches in the front and rear seat backs and a Forwardlook emblem in the rear set back notch (those seats were used on Christine and the Belvedere emblems were removed from the rear quarters of the movie car). Also the interior upholstery and door panels were unique to the Fury that year.

My information comes from original literature in my possession and articles in Cars and Parts, as well as discussions with other collectors, parts dealers and elsewhere. Its too bad parents don’t listen to kids when purchasing cars, Marty’s advice to his dad was spot on!

Had the movie car begun as a repainted Fury it would be expected to have had all the gold anodizing unique to that model. An interesting thing the author of the Hagerty article also missed is that the locks as portrayed in the movie were fictitious. No '58 Plymouth ever locked any one in with standard locks like that, To lock the doors you pushed the interior door handle downward on 2 door hardtops, only sedans had separate interior door locks and they were not at all like the GM type seen in the movie, they were located on the side panels as a kind of a rotateable pointer dial looking thingy. In the movie they are shown as protruding through the side glass garnish moldings like most other cars.

It should also be noted that these cars really do restore themselves, when I bought mine the radio did not work, later on to my amazement, it stated working all on its own, but “all it ever gets are those old songs!” LOL!


#13

I did actually own one of these cars. I was too young and dumb to realize what a collector car it could become. I even remember it having the swing out seats. With the pull of a lever, the seat swiveled for easy entry and exiting. I can’t remember if it was both seats or just the driver’s, but that was a cool feature! It had the big block 350 (no, this in not a typo) with 2 4 bbl carbs. It was the forerunner of the 361 and 383. As far as I know, it was only built in 1958. It already had a lot of hard miles on it when I got it, and it smoked and used a lot of oil. One night I ran it too hard and too fast and it spun a main bearing because all that oil burning had put the oil level way too low. I was planning on going to a 426 wedge anyway so I didn’t get too excited about losing that 350. I’ll bet it would be worth a fortune now! I don’t even remember what I did with the 2 4’s. The 426 wedge with an aluminum intake and single dual pumper Holly did get built and put in the car, but the old torqueflite wasn’t the proper match for it so I took it out and put it in a 1964 Fury with a 4 speed. Now that was a fun car!