1960 Plymouth Fleet Special

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The post below entitled "1960 Plymouth Police/Drag Cars" reminded me that I found these photos online of what I believe to be a 1960 Plymouth Fleet Special 4-door sedan. The Fleet Specials were a trim level below the Savoy, and aren't mentioned in the brochures.

The photos were taken in New York City in 1960, and this Plymouth was probably used by municipal tax assessors. I'm wondering how many Fleet Specials were made, and if any survive today. Is the "Police/Drag Car" a Fleet Special?


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Davea Lux

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The majority of fleet specials were usually 6cyl cars, often with a 3 speed column shift and usually had few options. Those would be the basic Municipal fleet car. Police cruisers for '60, especially if operated by the highway patrol would have had 383 engines. A dealer installed dual quad version of both the 361 and the 383 was offered as was the cross ram setup. (361,383). Cross rams were not very popular with police agencies because of the difficulty of changing spark plugs. Some were converted in service to the inline dual four setups for that reason. Two versions of the 318 engine were also offered. Police cruisers of this vintage were often equipped with 3 speed column shifts as well and also usually had few options, mindset of the time was to put a big engine in it and go catch speeders. Police cruisers were a variation of the fleet special, but with the police engine options upgrade. A lot of fleet cars were low bid units, so keeping the cost down was the major concern.

Dave
 
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cbarge

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To add to this, they also offered a diesel powered fleet car. Perkins power with three on da tree.
Mike McCandless had a pair of them a while back.
 

Ram Fury

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The majority of fleet specials were usually 6cyl cars, often with a 3 speed column shift and usually had few options. Those would be the basic Municipal fleet car. Police cruisers for '60, especially if operated by the highway patrol would have had 383 engines. A dual quad version of both the 361 and the 383 was offered as was the cross ram setup. (383 0nly). Cross rams were not very popular with police agencies because of the difficulty of changing spark plugs. Some were converted in service to the inline dual four setups for that reason. Two versions of the 318 engine were also offered. Police cruisers of this vintage were often equipped with 3 speed column shifts as well and also usually had few options, mindset of the time was to put a big engine in it and go catch speeders. Police cruisers were a variation of the fleet special, but with the police engine options upgrade. A lot of fleet cars were low bid units, so keeping the cost down was the major concern.

Dave
Dave --
Actually, in 1960 the "big" engine for Plymouth was supposed to be the ram-inducted 361 CID/310 HP SonoRamic Commando, but when Dodge came out with the Plymouth-sized Dart that year and had the ram 383 available as well as the 361, Plymouth dealers started crying "foul", so early on in the model year, the Plymmer started getting ram 383s too. The 361 SonoRamic Commando was a $389 option while the 383 was $405 extra. In spite of its lower horsepower and relatively equal cost, the ram 361 continued to be offered throughout the year and of the 1575 Plymouths produced with ram-inducted engines, 881 were 361 units. And as I stated above, it was because of the outcry of the Plymouth dealers, not the Plymouth Division honchos (who didn't really want "their" car to have any real kind of race car or performance image), that the marque started getting the ram 383 as well as the single 4-barrell "Golden Commando" 383 (325 HP).
Also, no '59, '60, or '61 Plymouth came off the production line with two fours on in-line manifold and the 2X4V in-line manifold 361 was a Dodge and DeSoto option in 1958 only. Plymouths of ANY model year with 361s and the 2X4V log manifolds had these installed as after-market items even if they came in MOPAR packages and off dealer shelves. Back in my drag racing days in the early 1960s, I met a guy with a '59 Sport Fury and the 361 with the 2X4V set-up at a dragstrip and he was a bit upset as the NHRA put him in "Gas" (or modified) class, because it wasn't a RPO.
Joe Godec
 

Davea Lux

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Dave --
Actually, in 1960 the "big" engine for Plymouth was supposed to be the ram-inducted 361 CID/310 HP SonoRamic Commando, but when Dodge came out with the Plymouth-sized Dart that year and had the ram 383 available as well as the 361, Plymouth dealers started crying "foul", so early on in the model year, the Plymmer started getting ram 383s too. The 361 SonoRamic Commando was a $389 option while the 383 was $405 extra. In spite of its lower horsepower and relatively equal cost, the ram 361 continued to be offered throughout the year and of the 1575 Plymouths produced with ram-inducted engines, 881 were 361 units. And as I stated above, it was because of the outcry of the Plymouth dealers, not the Plymouth Division honchos (who didn't really want "their" car to have any real kind of race car or performance image), that the marque started getting the ram 383 as well as the single 4-barrell "Golden Commando" 383 (325 HP).
Also, no '59, '60, or '61 Plymouth came off the production line with two fours on in-line manifold and the 2X4V in-line manifold 361 was a Dodge and DeSoto option in 1958 only. Plymouths of ANY model year with 361s and the 2X4V log manifolds had these installed as after-market items even if they came in MOPAR packages and off dealer shelves. Back in my drag racing days in the early 1960s, I met a guy with a '59 Sport Fury and the 361 with the 2X4V set-up at a dragstrip and he was a bit upset as the NHRA put him in "Gas" (or modified) class, because it wasn't a RPO.
Joe Godec

Joe

Thanks for the history. I know we installed a number of the in line 4BBL systems and yes, they had Mopar boxes and part numbers. Some were upgrades from the 383/325 and others were to replace the cross ram setup that had rotted out the choke pits. The 350cid offered on '58 Plymouths was also offered with in line 4BBls. I will correct the previous post to show 361/383 with rams.

Dave
 

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In 1960 the NYPD used Dodge Senecas. The precinct cars were 6 cylinders. Only Highway had V8s. Typically when the bid was won by Chrysler, the NYPD used Plymouths but 1960 and 1962 were the exception. We also had 1965 Chrysler Newport Highway cars while the Precinct had 1965 Plymouth Fury I's with a Slant 6.

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Ram Fury

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Dave --
Here's a thought for you:
Those '59 2X4V 383s for DeSoto and Dodge were advertised at 350 and 345 HP respectively although they were the same engines coming out of the same plant. In '58 the 2X4V 361s were said to be 345 for DeSoto and 320 for Dodge -- again, the same engines. So I think it's interesting that with ram-induction in 1960, the rating for the identical 361s dropped to 310 in the Plymouths and 320 in the Darts, while for all three, Plymouth, Dart, and full-size Dodge, the ram 383 somehow had only 330 HP. Now at the same time, the ram 413 for the 300F was said to be 375 with basically the same components as the smaller engines. With this in mind, since the 361 was 87% the size of the 413 and the 383 being 93%, with all other things rather equal except CID, I believe the ram 361 developed 87% of the 413s 375, or more like the 325, and the 383 93% or some 350-360 ponies. These ratings would be more in line with those of the normal 2X4V carbed engines in 1958 and 1959.
In some discussions I've had with Chrysler historical people, the lower HP ratings were probably the result of internal corporate politics. It didn't fit the Chrysler image and marketing schemes for the lower priced cars to have too many horses.
Think about it.
Joe
 

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Those police car photos are great! I'm thinking the 1st photo of the '62 & '61 was taken in Harlem; probably on Lenox Avenue or Seventh Avenue, but I'm not sure.

If this Suffolk County police car is the genuine article--a real police car and not a Savoy, Belvedere, or Fury converted into one in modern times, it may be one of the last 4-door Fleet Specials in existence!

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Davea Lux

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Dave --
Here's a thought for you:
Those '59 2X4V 383s for DeSoto and Dodge were advertised at 350 and 345 HP respectively although they were the same engines coming out of the same plant. In '58 the 2X4V 361s were said to be 345 for DeSoto and 320 for Dodge -- again, the same engines. So I think it's interesting that with ram-induction in 1960, the rating for the identical 361s dropped to 310 in the Plymouths and 320 in the Darts, while for all three, Plymouth, Dart, and full-size Dodge, the ram 383 somehow had only 330 HP. Now at the same time, the ram 413 for the 300F was said to be 375 with basically the same components as the smaller engines. With this in mind, since the 361 was 87% the size of the 413 and the 383 being 93%, with all other things rather equal except CID, I believe the ram 361 developed 87% of the 413s 375, or more like the 325, and the 383 93% or some 350-360 ponies. These ratings would be more in line with those of the normal 2X4V carbed engines in 1958 and 1959.
In some discussions I've had with Chrysler historical people, the lower HP ratings were probably the result of internal corporate politics. It didn't fit the Chrysler image and marketing schemes for the lower priced cars to have too many horses.
Think about it.
Joe

As far as the Plymouth division went, they had built a reputation on stodgy 6cyl cars the were economical and reliable going back to the 1930's. Not surprising that they wanted to preserve that image with the car buying public, so I guess some manipulation of the horsepower number was to be expected. The '66 edition of the Chilton manual shows both the in line dual four BBL setup and the cross ram setup for the 383 engine. Horsepower ratings were the same for both. The number that leaps out is the difference in torque ratings. 383 with inline 4BBL setup, 330hp/5200rpms with 425 torque @ at 3600rpms. 383 with ram setup 330hp/4800rpms with 460 torque @ 2800rpms. I suspect the ram setup horsepower numbers may have been on the generous side as the rams did not flow well over about 4000rpms and the torque number went south over that range. I was surprised that Chilton had the numbers for the inline setup as it was not factory installed, must have been a popular enough conversion to merit their inclusion of those numbers.

Dave
 

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I own a 1960 Pursuit Special. Originally equipped with a 383 big block/Torqueflite.

It has a certified speedometer, alternator with amp gauge and an adjustable hand brake like found in Dodge trucks among other things

Fleet cars didn’t have stainless trim around the rear glass or any emblems/trim. However the photo first posted seems to show some had the stainless rear glass trim. It isn’t a savoy as it has no emblems in the fins or side trim.

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