Ed's Project Car Swap Meet BLOG

1960 Plymouth Fury Sonoramic Commando 440 Cross Ram dual four barrels

By 1960 the car buying public was getting used to having a car in the driveway, and they liked it. Cars were becoming more than a way to work, the grocery store and more. As we have discussed in earlier articles about the cars of the 1950s, the 1950s were good to Plymouth. The company had developed an excellent reputation for offering its buyers a reliable family, commuter car.

But sales seemed to plateau and the question became, “And where to now?” Funny, the public was beginning to ask the same question. Cars are fun. They should be more than utilitarian. Make we want to drive your car every day. Plymouth’s brain trust was on to this and began to explore more options and designs to offer its buyers.


With this in mind, the car-buying public began to watch for the automobile industry to start thinking outside the box. That is, what kind of technical advances and design changes will get them into a dealership’s showroom?

1960 Plymouth Fury Sonoramic Commando 440 Cross Ram dual four barrels

Simply said, Plymouth was in for a tough time in the 1960s. It was a time of indifference to their product line. Sales faltered for a decade. In fact, they tanked with only a few effective gasps for good air. Focus groups led the company’s leadership to understand that the tailfins on their cars were not well received or admired. That was evidenced by the lukewarm reception the 1960 Savoy, Belvedere, Fury and Suburban Plymouth models received from the buying public.

The wonks in the corner office mused over car designs to find the company’s way back into a strong sales climate for them. The new compact models of 1962 barely made an impact. It was like a tree falling in the woods. It happened but no one’s eye glistened at the sight of these cars.

The public didn’t know a gas crisis was coming around the corner in around1972. Compact model cars were more of a car affordability idea rather than a new force in the car market. Thus, Americans stayed big. Ford and Chevrolet continued to launch their “boats” and people bought them up.

1960 Plymouth Fury Sonoramic Commando 440 Cross Ram dual four barrels

1960 was significant for Plymouth because it became the final year for the tail fins. Tootles, bye bye, see ya! The 1960 models were also the first lot of cars manufactured with the 'unibody' construction. This offered weight and material savings over the then conventional body-on-frame construction. As we said in another article, it also stiffened the body’s performance.

However, the 1960 Sonoramic Commando was still a car to be appreciated. People were falling out of love with the tail fins but, look at this beauty, and ask yourself, "Is this really the problem?" These cars have a unique look, great engine, interesting lines to follow and plenty of room to relax as you drive.

1960 Plymouth Fury Sonoramic Commando 440 Cross Ram dual four barrels

This is a practically universal construction method used to this day. Technically, 1960 also saw the introduction of two legendary engines: 1) the slant six, and, 2) the Sonoramic Commando V-8, which came complete with a ‘cross-ram induction intake manifold.’ This version by Plymouth was offered on the 383 and 361-cid 'B' engines. These were first introduced as ‘race tune’ engines for use in the NASCAR series, then as 'Street Hemi' production options.

The package also included heavy-duty suspension and oversized brackets. Richard Petty drove then drove Plymouth to three victories at the NHRA Nationals in Detroit. His best winning time for the quarter mile was 14.51 seconds at 87.82 mph.

Richard Petty with one of his #43s

 

Now, just the facts:

  • Base Price: $2545 (The Belvedere is emblazoned with the 'Sonoramic Commando Power' badge on the front fender - or, as they were called in the 1960s, 'scare emblems'. The badge continued to be used in 1961.)
  • Wheelbase: 118 inches
  • Weight: 3505 lbs.
  • Transmission: Torqueflite
  • Horsepower: 330 at 5000 rpm
  • Displacement: 383-cid
  • Induction: Dual four-barrel carburetor
  • Number Produced 14,085

     1960 Plymouth Sonoramic Commando

  • Engine: V-8, overhead valve, cast iron block
  • Displacement: 389 Cid
  • Horsepower: 283 at 4400 rpm
  • Transmission: Hydra-Matic
  • Compression Ratio: 10.25:1
  • Body Style: Two-door Hardtop
  • Weight: 3865 lbs.
  • Wheelbase: 122 inches
  • Base Price: $2971
  • Number Produced: 27,577

The Sonoramic Commando option added a further $389 to the base price of the model, plus a further $211 for the necessary Torqueflite.

I could see me driving this! Hmmm.

I wrote this without studying the car first. Then I saw the pictures above and said to myself, I would have bought one of these! Man! Hey, don't forget Ed's Swap Meet is just like those big events you go to for parts, car shows, and chats with expert restoration people. We have it on this website. Read more and see there's more than articles to read. HAVE FUN!

We love ya, JP

Cheers, Fast Eddie

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