1957 Plymouth Savoy 'Christine'      

This car will be a replica of the 1958 Plymouth Fury made famous in the Stephen King novel and movie: "Christine". It is being built for a client who is interested in trying to get started in classic car auctions. When it came to what car was to be built, he told me to just do something I would enjoy building, and I haven't built one of these yet so I thought it was about time. Of course, when I decided on this car I didn't know how little enjoyment there was to be had in restoring 1950's era Plymouths!

Our car started life as a California owned 1957 Savoy. It was in good shape cosmetically, and was said to be a runner. Once it arrived though, it was soon evident that it needed everything mechanical, though the body was in decent shape.



Christine of course was a 1958 Fury, and there are some differences.

We purchased a 4-door 1958 Savoy for most of the 1958 specific parts, and here's the swap.



Alot done now. Every bit of stainless and chrome was sent to the chrome shop for replating, including 24k gold plating for the grill V and dual air cleaners. All told, roughly about $7000 in plating alone.


As we started tearing into this car, it became clear just how rare and difficult to work on this type of car is. No parts are available, and many things right down to the shocks we had to have hand made to get them just how we wanted.


The body parts were jambed and reinstalled for final painting. Everything was blocked to a glass surface.

Body work complete, and prepared for the painting.

Headliner installed, carpet installed, and the first shots of paint applied.


Dash painted and installed.


The original engine was cracked from top to bottom, completely unusable. We had to find another, and here it is.

Engine assembled and painted. It is a replica Golden Commando, dual quad, period correct engine.

Rear seat and door panels installed. We paid special attention to the upholstery, it is very vibrant and the custom door panels are a wonderful touch. Its not 1958 correct, but 10 times better in my opinion.


Time to start the driveline installation. The frame rails are coated in a semi-gloss POR-15 corrosion preventative paint, it shines well, what you see is simply a thick layer of dust from waiting on the engine.


The Engine is in, but we are not out of the woods yet. The exhaust was a nightmare, and we ended up going with remote oil filter for clearance reasons. Now to sort the wiring....

We ran into a problem with the engine, getting ALOT of water where it shouldn't be. Turns out its a problem with the heads and block interaction, so in the meantime we'll try to get some assembly done. This is the part I like.

Headlight assemblies completely restored.

I was looking at the headlights, and thought of the scenes in 'Christine' where the car flipped on the high-beams and then you knew it was about to run you over. Thinking of that and looking at the original lights, they seemed alittle dim....

I did alittle research and found out that original replacement headlights beams from your local parts store put out around 28,000 candle power, but they didn't feel like the 'Git-Yo-Ass' headlights I would expect Christine to have. They do sell a halogen replacement that ramps the output up to about 35,000 candle power, but I want something more.

After some searching, I managed to find a headlight for a train, putting out about 100,000 candle power. I know, sounds like alot, but I think I can do better.

What we settled on are a pair of lights taken from the front wing of a DC9 Jet Airplane, used for takeoff and landing. Now that will put the fear of God in you at 300,000 candle power,... if I can keep them from blistering the paint right off the fenders.....

And here they are... wait until you see them in action. Do I have to mention that these high-beams are not street legal??

We have a solution for the engine problem. Our original block was cracked, so we had to replace it with another 318 POLY block. The problem happened when we used our original heads. Turns out the engine we had was a heavy duty truck engine, with extra cooling ports, shown by the green arrow...

Well, the passenger car engine block we used instead did not have these, and the water was pouring into the valley.


We looked and looked, and after much searching were able to get a set of original light duty passenger car POLY 318 heads, without the extra cooling ports. Next step, reassemble the engine.

It is fairly stock in build, though even stock many of the parts were forged or reinforced, and I always upgrade to a performance camshaft and nickel seats, and other misc. hardened parts. Should make it a good runner. Back in the late 50's these were praised by law enforcement for their stability at speed over 100mph.

After the engine problems, the paint was really mangled. That's OK, I wasn't crazy about the color anyway, but House of Kolors has a heavy metalflake gold that will knock your socks off.

Of course, all new lines and hardware for the undercarriage, steering components and bearings. And the radiator was completely restored, as well as the gauges.  

Now, that's a Golden Commando.

And alittle custom work on the valve covers, with a 50's feel,... and she's happy again.

Engine reassembled and running.

We installed ALL new window rubber and sweeps and started putting in the custom interior with 50's Plymouth Forward Look styling.

Test fitting the radio and installation of the grill and 14k gold V.

I found some time this week while waiting on parts to continue buffing and polishing on the paint. The clear is thick, and it makes a difference. You can see the shine.

The seats installed, and gauges restored and installed. The headlight switch is fried, so we'll be having that rebuilt, tune in next time.

The headlight switch was rebuilt and installed, along with a few other small pieces. This car is being built for sale to the public, so I would like to have it finished in time for the spring auctions, which means I need it complete in January to give me time to advertise.

The front bumper being installed, still needs alignment.

That's one big mustachio....

Fender emblems installed, trunk cleaned and painted, but not yet finished.
Mirrors installed. I would like to point out, in my opinion 50's Plymouth's have the most interesting dashboards.
Headlights being wired, as well as taillights. Still needs brights connected, turnsignals and brake lights.
The air cleaner bases were custom made to fit the edlebrock carburetors. Here they are final installed.  
The drivers side trim being installed. This is without a doubt the worst part of building a 1958 Fury. Its IMPOSSIBLE to find, and when you do could cost you an arm and a leg.

I ended up buying 3-4 different cars worth of trim because some of the pieces were simply unavailable and I had to make them. Now that its done though, you can't tell them from the real thing, with the exception of the Mylar insert. Originally this was an aluminum panel.

Now all it needs is polishing!

More of the side trim installed, rear brakes rebuilt and below the steering wheel is painted and installed as is the horn and horn ring..
The windshield is now installed and the side trim is all on.

With the windshield installed, we were able to put the front windshield trim on as well as finish a few other minor detail items.

Below: The radio was completely restored. The internals are all brand new with FM and AM function, including an MP3 and alternate audio connection in the back, but retaining completely the classic appearance and controls.

For information on replica or restoration services: BKautomotive@sbcglobal.net