Saturday, February 23, 2013

What I Learned from a 1960 Plymouth Fury

Although I have lived on Ocracoke for more than 40 years and my father was born here, as a child I only spent summers on the island. My father, like so many islanders, had moved up north to work on dredges and tug boats on the Delaware River. Several days ago, in a conversation with neighbors, I was reminded of the following story.

Every morning two friends and I would walk two miles to our high school. In the fall of the year we would stroll through the showroom of a new car dealership to inspect the latest models. In 1960 we were amazed to see a record player installed under the dashboard of a Plymouth Fury (that's the year with the huge tail fins!).

After school I was excited to tell my father and twenty-six year old brother about this fantastic accessory. They both explained to me that I had to be mistaken. A record player would never work in a car. The needle arm would bounce around and slide across the record with every tiny bump in the road. Even though I had seen the record player with my own eyes, I accepted their word of authority.

Next morning, on the way to school I told my friends that there could not possibly be a record player in the Plymouth, and I explained why. We must have been mistaken, I insisted, but they protested. So we walked through the showroom again. This is what we saw:

So that's when I learned to trust evidence, and not blind authority, not even my own father and older brother...although they were definitely smarter than the automotive engineers! Record players in cars really were not such a great idea.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the unique "Ocracoke Greeting." You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous2:37 PM

    i had a 1961 plymouth Sports Fury convertible when I was in the 12th grade. Yes, it did have a record player but I think only records manufactured by CBS could be played because the speed was not the same as a regular 45rpm record. anyway the car was more fun than the record player. It skipped a lot of the time. But the volume and tone controls were the same for the radio's you just flipped the switch between the player and the radio. I wish I still had the car not you can have the record player.

  2. Anonymous7:59 PM

    1960 the beginning of distracted driving. Changing a record at a stop light, drive in hamburger joints, driving while eating, drinking, drinking coffee, applying make up, shaving, yalking on mobile phones, slapping kids in the back seat, etc, etc-- now technology "catches up' AND we have gps and cars that drive themselves allowing passengers to engage in activities other than driving the car -- thereby putting the AUTO in auto insurance Oy Vey!