Want to Become a Mechanic? Here are 4 Facts about the Car Behind Stephen King's 'Christine'
October 18, 2018
There are few more iconic cars in pop culture than Christine, the titular character behind Stephen King’s classic horror story. The killer car, a 1958 red Plymouth Fury possessed by a thirst for revenge, raced into theatres in the 1983 movie by John Carpenter, further cementing its place as one of the most famous cars in film and television.
Although the name is well-known today, in its original production, the 1958 Plymouth Fury was an unpopular model. King himself claimed that he chose to use the car in his novel because it had been almost completely forgotten. To resurrect this horror classic, here are a few facts about the car behind Christine.
The Design of the 1958 Plymouth Fury
After a successful run in 1957, Plymouth wanted to create a new model that was similar to its predecessor in almost every way. This meant that in an era where past designs were ousted annually by radically different changes, the Plymouth Fury stayed a constant, reliable type of car.
Its design featured hallmarks of American-made vehicles of the 1950s. A wraparound windshield, round lollipop taillights, and tailfins gave it a streamlined appearance, while the interior bench seats, chrome features, and skinny steering wheel made the driver feel as if they were in the cockpit of a spaceship.
A Fury is a Rare Collector’s Item
Plymouth models often sold less than the more popular Ford and Chevy models. Its costly sticker price, combined with an economic recession, meant that the 1958 model was relatively short-lived on the automotive market.
Those who want to become a mechanic might have a tricky time finding one of these cars. Only around 5,000 cars were produced in 1958, and it proved to be the last limited-edition Fury model that Plymouth ever made. Today, the car is a prized item among collectors, partially due to it rarity and partly due to the legacy of Christine.
Students in Auto Mechanic Courses Will Be Fascinated by the Engine
The V ornament on the Fury’s grille meant one thing: that the car housed a powerful V-8 engine. Buyers had the option of installing one of two V-8 engines, which had the additional support of the TorqueFlite A-488, one of the smoothest transmissions ever built.
Students in auto mechanic courses can look to the Fury as a standout model of the 1950s need for speed. The Fury had a subsequent maximum 305 horsepower, with the fastest Plymouth Fury clocking in at just over 230 kilometres per hour.
Christine: The Frankenstein Fury
Those who’ve seen the film will remember the opening scene of Christine on the auto assembly line, the only red car among off-white models. In reality, all of the Fury models were painted ‘Buckskin Beige’, and the colour was changed for the movie.
The off-white cars featured in the film were later painted red and used for both stunts and spare parts. Due to the nature of the killer car, at least 20 Plymouth models were needed on set, and not all of them were genuine 1958 Furys.
In order to match the look and feel of the original, crew members used earlier versions of the Plymouth Fury, Belvedere, and Savoy cars. Out of all of these scrapped-together Christines, only two currently survive, and in the same spirit as the cars from the film, are cobbled together from parts used during the shoot.
Are you interested in training for an auto mechanic career in Cambridge?
Contact your local Automotive Training Centre for more information!
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