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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

What's your ride? A 1963 Plymouth Fury convertible

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 9:31 am

Open the trunk of Laura Thompson's 1963 Plymouth Fury Sport Convertible and you will find an autographed wheel cover on the spare tire signed by all the band members in Question Mark & the Mysterians.

In case you don't remember who they are, they wrote the 60's hit "99 tear drops." It was a few years ago in Garrett during heritage day when she took the cover up on stage as the band was setting up and got all the members to sign it. She also had the car autographed by one of the designers of the Fury. Look at the front windshield and on the driver's side you will see a decal of James Dean. Hanging from the mirror is a pair of fuzzy dice. The door locks all have matching red dice heads, and the license plate even has a red dice glued to it.

 The hot rod was a fifth wedding anniversary gift from Thompson's husband, Dan, a few years back. Shortly after the couple was married, Laura Thompson started helping her husband work on the engine of his hot rod. It wasn't too long before Dan Thompson got her a 1953 Ford Victoria, but she was never comfortable with the hopped-up suspension and a little afraid to drive it. So when Thompson was driving about a mile from their house and spotted the Fury, he quickly contacted the owner. The owner told him he had another guy in Indianapolis who was interested, so he didn't know whether he could sell it to him. But apparently the deal never came about, and the next day the couple was able to purchase the car. 

    "It was just dumb luck I happened to stumble across it," Dan Thompson said. 

    There were a few things they had to replace on the car, including the engine and top, and they reupholstered the vehicle. Originally it had a red interior; they replaced it with black. 

    Laura Thompson has a friend who knew she was into James Dean, so she was given the windshield decal. It turns out her husband, who grew up in Marion, knew Dean's dad. The car's name is Christine, but not the evil Christine of Stephen King fame, she is quick to tell you. 

    The couple attend 15-20 car shows and drive-ins a year, and they are members of the Northern Indiana Convertible Club. It's a hobby Laura Thompson grew up with; her dad restored his original car and takes it to car shows too. 

    Dan Thompson's grandfather used to work in the Chrysler plant in Kokomo, where they built Plymouth Fury Sports. He believes there is a possibility that his father could have helped build some part of the hot rod his wife now drives.