(1978 Plymouth Fury – NYPD)
I’m going to try and cover (3) cars on this page:
- 1975-1978 Plymouth Fury
- 1975-1976 Dodge Coronet
- 1977-1978 Dodge Monaco
Basically these cars were all built with the same chassis and body. Other than the name tags, and Dodge calling it the Coronet and then the Monaco, the only real visual difference between these cars are the grill. The Plymouth’s have a solid grill, and the Dodge’s are split in the middle.
1975-1978 Plymouth Fury
For the 1975 model year, Chrysler moved the Fury name, which had been part of the full-size C-body Plymouth model line up during the previous ten model years, over to the restyled mid-size B-body line, which had been marketed as the Satellite previously.
Only minor styling changes occurred from the 1975 to the 1978 model years, most notably, during the 1977 model year when quad stacked square headlights (see photo above) replaced the previous round dual beam headlights, the front turn signals, previously on the outboard edges of the grille, were moved over to the cutouts in the front bumper. Tail lights received amber turn signal lenses in place of the previous red turn signal lenses.
For 1975 the Plymouth Fury was available with (4) engine options; the 318, 360, 400, or 440 cid engines. 1975 saw a major drop in power, as the 360 fell to 190 hp, the 400 went to 245 hp, and the top 440 only made 250 hp.
1975-1976 Dodge Coronet
For 1975 the Coronet received a refreshed squarer-appearing body as well as a new front fascia with two round dual-beam headlights shared with its Plymouth Fury stablemate.
For the 1977 model year, the mid-size Dodge Coronet was renamed Monaco. Likewise, full-size Dodge Monaco was renamed the Dodge Royal Monaco for 1977.
1975-1978 Dodge Monaco
The 1977 model year brought changes to the Dodge Monaco line up as a lingering result of the 1973–1974 energy crisis, especially as Chrysler decided to move the Dodge Monaco, in name form only, from the full-size C platform-body to the mid-size B platform-body line up for the 1977 model year. The 1977 Dodge Monaco, for all marketing practices, were little-changed from the 1976 Coronet. The 1977 models received a revised front end design with stacked rectangular headlamps.
Plymouth / Dodge A38 Police Package
The A38 Plymouth Fury / Dodge Coronet / Dodge Monaco used the civilian platform: a 117.4-inch-wheelbase unit-body 4-door chassis that had seen little in dimensional evolution since 1975. This included its front torsion bar and rear leaf-spring suspensions and 62-inch track width. However, the A38 package added brawn to the otherwise sedate 218-inch-long sedan, beginning with heavy-duty tuned suspensions “matched for high-speed handling and police duty,” per period literature. The A38 also added slotted 7-inch-wide heavy-duty wheels, heavy-duty front disc/rear drum brakes, fabric-belted radial police pursuit tires, 500-ampere heavy-duty battery with heat shield, 100-ampere alternator, high-capacity radiator, calibrated 140-MPH speedometer, oil gauge, more responsive power steering with hose heat shields, and grass shields for the catalytic converters. Its differential was Chrysler’s 9-1/4-inch unit offered with an array of ratios for various department needs, while an engine oil cooler and more were optional. Interiors were all business. Instruments aside, police packages were trimmed with rubber floor mats and bench seats shod in heavy-duty cloth/vinyl upholstery combinations.
Four engines were offered, beginning with a standard two-barrel 318 altered for stressed service. Options including tuned versions of the 360, 400 and 440, all of which still featured four-barrel carburetors. The E86-coded 440 with a 2.71 rear gear found it’s way in to many highway patrol cars.
With the exception of a full-size Chrysler, the 440 was unavailable for public use, and even then, the civilian version was rated for 195 hp. Those destined for police cars were instead rated for 255 hp and 355-lb.ft. of torque. The extra power was enhanced by dual catalytic converters fitted to a true dual exhaust system and electronic spark advance (except in California) and supported by heavy-duty parts like a shot-peened nodular cast-iron crankshaft, double-roller timing chain drive, moly-filled top compression piston rings, high-load valve springs with dampers, a windage tray, chromed and hardened exhaust valves. Bolted against it was the stout TorqueFlite automatic.
Plymouth captured 80% of the police car market in the United States in 1978. The 1978 Dodge Monaco and Plymouth Fury were said to be among the best Mopar squads, having the 440 and 400 in their last years. The 440, thanks to Lean Burn and new catalytic converters, was back up to 255 hp. The Fury, in its final big-block year, beat the best of its competition in the Michigan State Police tests, recording a top speed of 132.7 mph, 0-60 MPH in 9.2 seconds, and reaching 100 mph in under 25 seconds.
The test Fury out accelerated a Corvette and could match a Ferrari’s pace at the top end; it was simply the fastest new car on the road in 1978. More so, the 1978 police Fury’s top speed would not be surpassed by another police-package model until the release of the Chevy Caprice 9C1 police package in 1994, with its LT1 engine. Officers would not celebrate the 440’s power advantage for long, as all variations of this engine were gone by 1979.
Click the photos to enlarge.