No one weaves a scarier tale than Stephen King. One of his most popular works, adapted for the screen, is Christine. This creepy story about a haunted car that runs down unsuspecting victims is well-known to most. We’re diving in to learn more about the classic car that stars in this spooky Stephen King work. What kind of car is “Christine?”
The car at the heart of it all
The shiny, red killer car is the star of the story and the movie. Enthusiasts might be able to tell immediately what model is featured. But, for those who can’t, “Christine” is a 1958 Plymouth Fury. Stephen King reportedly chose this model in part because it was considered not as high-profile and partially forgotten.
King felt the Fury would embody the rage his story insisted this car possess. And, he didn’t want the leading vehicle to be one with an existing legendary reputation, like a Thunderbird. He wanted a classic car, with a good name, and minimal public perception.
The premise of the movie
If the story and film are new to you, it may help to understand the premise. Stephen King released Christine in book form in April of 1983. It was later that year the movie of the same name sent chills to an American public.
The story is a classic boy-meets-girl rendition; only the geeky teenage boy falls in love with his 1958 Plymouth Fury. He finds out soon that there’s something sinister under the hood and his beloved car is a killing machine, possessed by something evil. Fury is the theme throughout, as the evil-minded Plymouth wreaks havoc in the boy’s life. Worse yet, it just won’t die.
Fun facts about the car
Even if horror movies aren’t your thing, classic car aficionados appreciate the Plymouth Fury that is “Christine.” When filming the terrifying tale for the big screen, more than 20 cars were used in playing various scenes.
Producers bought up Fury models, but also Belvedere and Savoy cars as well. Most were featured or used for parts, and some were taken on the road for red carpet time at the movie’s premiere. Once the filming wrapped, those models still intact were sold to collectors.
One of the movie star cars sold for $198,000. The average value of a well-kept 1958 Plymouth Fury, not memorialized in the movies, is around $47,700, according to a Hagerty Valuation Tool.
The most painful part of the movie for car lovers
There’s one scene, despite all the mayhem, that classic car lovers cringe at watching the most. Realizing there’s something terrible about his car, the character takes a sledgehammer to his Plymouth Fury. His attempts to put the Fury’s reign of terror to an end are futile.
The car, in carefully filmed sequences, puts itself back together. The regeneration scenes were created by using hydraulic pumps attached to a body double. The pumps sucked in the panels of the car, and in reverse, made the car appear to be repairing itself.
“Christine” makes it to the car shows
At the 2019 SEMA Show, this year in Las Vegas, fans got to see “Christine” in person. On display was a 1958 Plymouth Fury tribute car that featured a 1,000-hp Hemi crate engine. Other tribute models show up at regional shows and auto auctions nationwide. It’s a classic car that became a movie star, thanks to Stephen King.
If you haven’t watched the movie or read the book, Christine comes highly recommended. Classic car enthusiasts recognize the added star power of the haunted car. Stephen King put a spotlight on the Plymouth Fury, and even those who don’t consider themselves horror genre fans love the tale — and the car.