Plymouth Valiant

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For the 1962-81 Chrysler Valiant sold in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, see Chrysler Valiant.
Plymouth Valiant
Valiantname.JPG
Overview
Manufacturer Chrysler Corporation
Production 1960–1976
Body and chassis
Class Compact
Layout FR layout
Platform A-body
Chronology
Successor Plymouth Volare

The Plymouth Valiant is an automobile manufactured by the Plymouth division of Chrysler Corporation in the United States from 1960 to 1976. It was created to give the company an entry in the compact car market emerging in the late 1950s. The Valiant was built and marketed worldwide in countries including Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, as well as other countries in South America and Western Europe.

Road & Track magazine considered the Valiant to be "one of the best all-around domestic cars."[1]

1960–1962[edit]

First generation
J66105 Bazou 20130810-162312 45.52341,-73.56051,326,42m Valiant1960.jpg
Overview
Production 1960–1962
Assembly Dodge Main Assembly, Hamtramck, Michigan
Los Angeles Assembly, Maywood, California
Lynch Road Assembly, Detroit, Michigan
Newark Assembly, Newark, Delaware
Saint Louis Assembly, Fenton, Missouri
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan (1960–62)
4-door 3-seat wagon (1960–61)
4-door 2-seat wagon (1960–62)
2-door coupe (1961–62)
Related Dodge Lancer
Chrysler Valiant
Powertrain
Engine 170 cu in (2.8 L) LG Slant-6 I6
225 cu in (3.7 L) RG Slant-6 I6
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed Torqueflite automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 106.5 in (2,710 mm)
Length 183.7 in (4,670 mm)
Width 70.4 in (1,790 mm)
Height 53.3 in (1,350 mm)
Curb weight 2,750 lb (1,250 kg)
1961 Plymouth Valiant Wagon.
Plymouth Valiant dealer.

In May 1957, Chrysler president Lester Lum "Tex" Colbert established a committee to develop a competitor for the increasingly popular small imports. Virgil Exner designed a car that was smaller and lighter than a full-size car without sacrificing passenger and luggage space.[2] Originally named the Falcon after Exner's 1955 Chrysler Falcon concept car, the vehicle was renamed the 'Valiant' honoring Henry Ford II's request to use the name for the Ford Falcon.[3] The Valiant debuted at the 44th International Motor Show in London on October 26, 1959.[4] It was introduced as a 1960 model and was officially considered a distinct brand,[5] advertised with the tagline 'Nobody's kid brother, this one stands on its own four tires.' From the 1961 model year, the Valiant was classified as a Plymouth model.[6] The 1961-62 Dodge Lancer was essentially a rebadged Valiant with different trim and styling details.

The semi-fastback gave it a sleek, European look

The Valiant was less radical in configuration than General Motors' compact Chevrolet Corvair, which had an air-cooled rear-mounted engine, but was considered more aesthetically daring than the also-new Falcon which had a more conventional look, while the Valiant boasted a radical design that continued Exner's Forward Look styling with "sleek, crisp lines which flow forward in a dart or wedge shape."[7] The flush-sided appearance was a carried-over feature from Chrysler's Ghia-built D'Elegance and Adventurer concept cars which also gave the Valiant additional inches of interior room.[7] With its semi-fastback and lengthy hood line, many automotive publications of the time thought the Valiant's styling was European inspired. While the Valiant was all new, specific design elements tied it to other contemporary Chrysler products. Features such as the canted tailfins tipped with cat's-eye shaped tail lamps and the simulated spare tire pressing on the deck lid were thematically similar to those on the Imperial and the 300F. According to Exner, the stamped wheel design was used not only to establish identity with other Chryslers, but to "dress up the rear deck area without detracting from the look of directed forward motion."[7]

The Valiant featured an all-new 6-cylinder engine, the famous Slant-6, which had its inline cylinders canted 30° to one side. This allowed a lower hoodline, a shorter engine — the water pump was shifted laterally — and efficient, long-branch individual-runner intake and exhaust manifolds that benefited from Chrysler's pioneering work in tuned intakes. The cast-iron block Slant-6 gained a reputation for dependability as it was initially engineered as an aluminum block engine with a robust casing. Over 50,000 die-cast aluminum versions of the 225 cu in (3.7 L) engine were produced between late 1961 and early 1963.

The 1960 Valiant exemplified Chrysler's leadership in aluminum die casting. While the aluminum Slant-6 engine block wouldn't enter production until 1961, the Kokomo, Indiana foundry produced a number of aluminum parts for the 1960 Valiant, and was instrumental in reducing the total weight of the car. The 1960 model contained as much as 60 lb (27 kg) of aluminum in structural and decorative forms, with the majority of the material used in cast form as chassis parts.[8] These parts included the oil pump, water pump, alternator housing, Hyper-Pak (see below) and standard production intake manifolds, Torqueflite A-904 automatic transmission and torque converter housing and extension, and numerous other small parts. These cast-aluminum parts were roughly 60% lighter than corresponding parts of cast iron.[8] A cast aluminum part had the benefit of reduced section thickness where strength was not a vital consideration. Section thickness of cast-iron parts were often dictated by casting practice, which required at least 0.1875 in (4.76 mm) to ensure good castings.[8] Exterior decorative parts stamped from aluminum were lighter than similar chromium plated zinc castings. The entire grille and surrounding molding on the Valiant weighed only 3 lb (1.4 kg).[8] If this same assembly had been made of die-cast zinc, as many grilles of the era were, it would have weighed an estimated 13 lb (5.9 kg).[8] An estimated 102 lb (46 kg) — about 4% of a Valiant's total shipping weight — was saved with the 60 lb (27 kg) of aluminum parts.[8]

The Valiant A-body platform utilized "unit-body" or "unibody" construction (not used by the Chrysler Corporation since the Airflow models of the 1930s) rather than "body-on-frame" construction. Instead of a bolted-in forestructure used in other unibody designs, the Valiant incorporated a welded-in front understructure and stressed front sheet metal. The fenders, quarter panels, floor and roof contributed to the stiffness of the body shell. A unit wheelbase comparison showed the Valiant to be 95% stiffer in torsion and 50% stiffer in beam than a 1959 Plymouth with separate body-on-frame construction. Dynamic testing showed that high structural resonant frequencies were attained, indicating greater damping and reduced body shake.[7]

The front suspension consisted of unequal length control arms with torsion bars, while the rear suspension used a live axle supported by asymmetric leaf springs. Chrysler used this design through the entire production of the Valiant and other A-body models, with revisions to the suspension components themselves for the 1962, 1967, 1968, and 1973 models.

Hyper-Pak[edit]

An all-aluminum Slant-6 engine with reproduction Hyper Pak intake manifold

Plymouth product planning director Jack Charipar gave impetus for a stock car racing version of the Valiant,[9] and while Chrysler engineers developed the Hyper-Pak for the track, the Hyper-Pak dealer tuning kit option was made available in limited quantities on December 1, 1959. Features included 153 lb·ft (207 N·m) of torque, a 10.5:1 compression ratio, dual exhaust pipes on a single muffler, a manual choke and a larger 15 gal (56.76 L) fuel tank.[10] Dick Maxwell, a Chrysler engineer responsible for many of the Super Stock Mopars, recalls that "When NASCAR decided to run a compact road race in conjunction with the 1960 Daytona 500, all the factories got involved. We built a fleet of seven Hyper Pak Valiants with 148-hp 170-ci [Slant] sixes having a single four-barrel with ram manifold." The race Hyper-Paks also featured high-load valve springs and long-duration, high-lift camshafts.

NASCAR's new Compact Car category debuted at the Daytona International Speedway on January 31, 1960. The first of two races was a road course, which used a 1.5 mi (2.4 km) portion of the high-banked tri-oval together with a twisting infield road for a lap distance of 3.81 mi (6.13 km). The race length was 10 laps, 38.1 mi (61.3 km). Averaging a speed of 88.134 mph (141.838 km/h),[11] Marvin Panch drove his Hyper-Pak into first place; all the Hyper-Paks swept the field taking the first seven places. The second race of the day used only the tri-oval track 20 laps on its full 2.5 mi (4.0 km) length totaling 50 mi (80 km). A multi-car accident on the fourth lap took out the four Valiant leaders including one driven by Richard Petty. Panch was not among them because car trouble delayed his start and he was busy passing slower cars from the rear of the field when the leaders crashed. After a restart, Panch worked to first place and stayed there averaging a speed of 122.282 mph (196.794 km/h).[11] The remaining Valiants placed 1-2-3 and Panch again went into the winner's circle. Maxwell again recalls that "It was a Plymouth runway. We finished first through seventh. Our cars were so fast, NASCAR never did that race again."[12]

Design and mechanical revisions[edit]

The first-generation Valiants, though sold in three model years, existed in four distinct configurations: early 1960, late 1960, 1961, and 1962. The base-model V100 cars received relatively minimal ornamentation.

1960[edit]

1960 back showing the spare-tyre stamping on the lid

Early 1960 models, particularly the V200 high-trim cars, featured extensive brightwork and ornamentation. An 8 in (20 cm) chrome spear atop each front fender, an inner reveal ring on the deck lid's spare tire stamping, a "V200" nameplate on the dashboard, and stainless steel windshield and backlight reveal mouldings were deleted from production — the latter replaced with less costly flexible mylar-faced plastic locking strips — in approximately January, 1960.[13] Early and late V200s had a continuous stainless steel moulding following the tailfin crease as it swept down in front of the rear wheel, then continuing forward along the lower break line in both doors and the front fender. The radiator grille was brite-dipped stamped aluminum, and a central grille badge doubled as the hood release. Script "Valiant" callouts were placed in the centre of the deck lid's spare-tire stamping and on each front fender.

During the 1960 model year, there were revisions to improve lubrication of the two rear connecting rods, voltage regulator function, cold starting and idling, acceleration, and to prevent breakage of the front and rear manifold mounting studs.[14]

The Valiant station wagons had 72.3 cu ft (2.0 m3) of cargo space yet required two feet less parking space than a full-size Plymouth.[15] A locking luggage compartment on the two-seat models included the use of Captive-Aire tires. The compartment, located in the cargo deck, served as a spare tire storage space for models equipped with standard tires in which case the lock was optional. Captive-Aire tires, which did not require a spare, were standard equipment on the three-seat models. An aluminum tailgate window screen was available for the exclusion of insects when on vacation and camping trips.[citation needed]

The four-door station wagon, assembled only at the Dodge Main plant in Hamtramck,[15] was available in V100 and V200 trim in two- and three-seat configurations; the third seat faced the rear. Both models were the lowest priced four-door station wagons in America.[15] The two-seat model was $60 under both the four-door Lark and Rambler station wagons, and the three-seater was $186 below the Rambler four-door.[15]

1961[edit]

1960-61 tail lamp with reversing lamp

For 1961, new 2-door sedan and hardtop models were released, but no changes were made to the 4-door sedan and wagon sheetmetal. The interior and exterior trim were changed to provide model year differentiation, a mild form of planned obsolescence. The radiator grille stamping was the same as in 1960, but for 1961 it was painted with a pattern of black squares. The central grille ornament was still pulled from the bottom to release the hood, but it was now faced with an emblem having a white field with the blue-and-red stylized "V" Valiant logo, rather than 1960's red field with gold script "Valiant" callout. The side trim was changed; a 10 in (25 cm) stainless spear was placed at the rear of each tailfin crease, a hockey stick-shaped trim was applied to the lower break line, and the front fender/door crease was capped with a long stainless spear. The tailfins were each topped with three transverse chrome strips, and a large horizontal emblem containing a round plastic "V200" callout was centred in the deck lid's spare-tire stamping. Matching round "V200" callouts were placed in round housings at the midpoint of the front fender spears. Inside the car, the instrument cluster was largely carried over, but 1960's black gauges with white callouts gave way to 1961's white gauges with black callouts.

Mechanical revisions for 1961 included new carburetors, the availability of positive crankcase ventilation (which was newly mandated on cars sold in California), the availability of dealer-installed air conditioning, the relocation of the alternator from the left to the right side of the engine, and extensive revisions throughout most of the Valiant's systems and components.[16] Late in the 1961 model year, the larger 225 cu in (3.7 L) Slant-6 engine became available in the Valiant, its use having been expanded earlier in the year from the larger Dodges and Plymouths to the Valiant-sized Dodge Lancer.

1962[edit]

1962 Valiant with Hyper Pak

The 1962 model year saw an extensive facelift. The radiator grille was flattened and shortened. The hood release was moved to a knob at the top of the grille frame. The central grille emblem was deleted, except on the top-line Signet 200 2-door hardtop model, which received a black-painted grille with a round central emblem incorporating the red-and-blue stylized "V" Valiant emblem. The Signet 200 had pleated, leather-like bucket seats, custom tailored interior trim, deep-pile carpeting, special trunk lid emblem, different headlamp frames and special side moldings; it was America's lowest-priced hardtop with bucket seats.

1962 tail lamp

Fender and hood stampings were similar to the 1960-'61 items, but neither identical nor interchangeable. At the rear, the cat's-eye tail lamps were deleted. A wraparound stainless trim was applied to the tailfins, below which were placed round tail lamps set into stamped aluminum bezels. These occupied the space formerly available for optional reversing lamps, which for 1962 flanked the license plate below the rear bumper. The spare-tire stamping was eliminated from the deck lid, which was now a smooth stamping with a small central ridge at its trailing edge. On V200 deck lids, a large round emblem surrounded an oblong block-letter "VALIANT" callout on a black field. Similar block-letter/black-field callouts were placed on each front fender. On the Signet, the deck lid was adorned with a smaller round emblem surrounding the red-and-blue stylised-V Valiant logo.

V200 side trim reverted to the 1960 concept, following the tailfin crease and lower body break crease. However, the 1962 trim was more massive and contained an oblong triple-window effect at the rear of the body break crease. On Signets, the front fenders had an open-centred double spear, connected at the front and back, within which was contained a secondary body paint colour.

1962 instrument cluster— transmission pushbuttons on the left

The 1962 Valiant was given a completely new instrument cluster. Like that of the larger 1962 Plymouth models, the new Valiant cluster was highly regarded for its clean design and easy legibility. A large round speedometer was placed at the left of the cluster, with separate round gauges for fuel level, engine temperature, and charging system condition (amperes) in a row to the right of the speedometer. Automatic transmission pushbuttons were in a column at the left edge of the panel, and heater pushbuttons were in a column at the right edge. A new shallower-dish steering wheel was also introduced.

Mechanical revisions for 1962 were extensive. The electrical system was extensively upgraded, with a new starter, new alternator, more fuses, and printed circuit boards rather than individual wires for the instrument cluster. Carburetors were improved again, the manual transmission gearshift was moved from the floor to the steering column, there were new 45°-shear engine mounts replacing the previous vertical-shear items, exhaust systems were made of more corrosion-resistant materials, and axle ratios were altered for better fuel economy. Manual steering ratio was changed from 20:1 to 24:1, and both power and manual steering gearboxes were new, the latter now housed in aluminum rather than iron. Most of the front suspension components were redesigned, and it was claimed they needed lubrication only every 32,000 mi (51,000 km).[17]

In October 1961, the Society of Illustrators presented Exner the 1962 Styling Award for outstanding design of the 1962 Signet 200; the award lauded Exner's "creative sculpted design" of the Valiant, "an automobile of outstanding originality, restraint and spirited beauty."[18]

1963–1966[edit]

Second generation
'63 Plymouth Valiant Signet (Les chauds vendredis '10).jpg
Overview
Production 1963–1966
Assembly Detroit, Michigan, United States
Hamtramck, Michigan, United States
Los Angeles, California, United States
Newark, Delaware, United States
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door convertible
2-door hardtop
4-door sedan
4-door 2-seat wagon
Related Dodge Dart
Plymouth Barracuda
Chrysler Valiant
Powertrain
Engine 170 cu in (2.8 L) LG Slant-6 I6
225 cu in (3.7 L) RG Slant-6 I6
273 cu in (4.5 L) LA V8
Transmission A833 4-speed manual
Torqueflite 3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,692 mm (106.0 in)
1965 Valiant V100

The Valiant was totally reskinned for 1963 with a 0.5 in (13 mm) shorter wheelbase; it had a wide, flat hood and a flat square rear deck. The upper belt feature line ran from the rear body, in a gentle sweep, to the front fender tip. Here it was 'veed' back and down to the trailing edge of the front fender. The roofline was flatter and sharpened in profile. The grille was a variation of the inverted trapezoid shape that characterized contemporary Chryslers, with a fine mesh insert. Advances in body structure, many accessories and a new spring-staged choke were promotional highlights. The Valiant was offered as a 2-door coupe or hardtop, a 4-door sedan and a station wagon. The hardtop and the convertible, with manual- or optional power-operated top, were offered only in the high V200 and premium Signet trim levels. The optional 225 cu in (3.7 L) slant-6 engine was initially offered with the die-cast aluminium block introduced in late 1961, but early in the 1963 model year the aluminum block was discontinued; both the 170 and 225 engines were thenceforth available only with iron blocks. In December 1962, Plymouth's first-ever vinyl-covered roof became available as an option on the Signet. The 1963 Valiant was much better received by the public, and sales for the year rose to 225,056.[19][20]

Building on a worldwide record sales success in 1963, the Valiant moved into 1964 with design changes giving better economy, reliability and performance. Changes in the 1964 Valiant included a restyled front end featuring a new grille with a horizontal bars. A "Valiant" medallion was placed at the center of the grille where the bars formed a flat buldge. Vertical taillamps replaced the previous horizontal items. The ring-style rear deck decoration was replaced with a Valiant script located at the right-hand corner. There were few styling changes in the 1965 Valiants, but the 1966 Valiants had a split grille with fine-patterned insert; new front fenders; new rear fenders on the sedans; new bevelled-edge rear reck lid; heavier rear bumper; and a new roofline with large backlight.

The new Chrysler-built A833 four-speed manual transmission was offered together with a Hurst shifter. Another new option was the Sure-Grip limited slip differential, which was touted as a bad-weather safety feature and also offered traction benefits in performance driving.

The Valiant was extremely popular in the U.S., Canada, and numerous markets outside North America. Plymouth supported a successful team of Valiant two-door sedans in the 1965 and 1966 SCCA Manufacturers Rally Championships.[21]

V8 engine[edit]

In 1964, Chrysler released an all-new 273 cu in (4.5 L) V8 engine as optional equipment in all Valiants. This compact V8 engine, with solid tappets, the first in Chrysler's LA engine range that would last until 2002, was specifically engineered to fit in the compact A-body engine compartment. Valiants with the optional 273 engine came with V-shaped emblems at the sides of the cowl. With the 180 bhp (130 kW) 273, the Valiant became the lowest-priced V-8 automobile in the world. For 1965, a hotter 235 bhp (175 kW) version of the 273 called the Commando 273 was made available with 10.5:1 compression, a 4 bbl (0.64 m3) carburetor, performance camshaft, low restriction exhaust and other modifications.

The Dodge Lancer, which had been almost identical to the Valiants of 1961–62, was replaced in 1963 by the Dart. The Dart was available in all the same body styles as the Valiant, except there was no Dodge equivalent of the Barracuda. All Darts used a larger, 111 in (2,800 mm) wheelbase, except for wagons which used the Valiant's 106 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase.


1967–1973[edit]

Third generation
Plymouth Valiant 1970.jpg
Overview
Production 1967–1973
Assembly Belvidere, Illinois, United States
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Hamtramck, Michigan, United States
Los Angeles, California, United States
Newark, Delaware, United States
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan (1967–73)
2-door sedan (1967–69)
2-door hardtop (1971–73)
Related Dodge Dart
Dodge Demon
Plymouth Barracuda
Plymouth Duster
Chrysler Valiant
Chrysler Valiant Charger
Powertrain
Engine 170 cu in (2.8 L) LG Slant-6 I6
198 cu in (3.2 L) RG Slant-6 I6
225 cu in (3.7 L) RG Slant-6 I6
273 cu in (4.5 L) LA V8
318 cu in (5.2 L) LA V8
340 cu in (5.6 L) LA V8
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,743 mm (108.0 in)
Scamp: 110.0 in (2,794 mm)
1969 Valiant Signet

The Valiant was completely redesigned for 1967 model year and the station wagons and convertibles were dropped. The model range included 2- and 4-door sedans on a newly lengthened 108 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase. The design was straightforward and rectilinear. The body sides were mildly sculptured with a tapering lower feature line that widened toward the wheels. The new fenders had a vertical slab look. The grille was vertically split and subdivided horizontally. Vertical taillights were segmented and had a fanned-out look. Horsepower rating for the 170 cu in (2.8 L) Slant-6 engine was raised from 101 bhp (75 kW) to 115 bhp (86 kW) by installation of the slightly bigger camshaft introduced on the 225 in 1965, together with Carter BBS and Holley 1920 carburetors using the larger 1.6875 in (42.86 mm) throttle bore previously reserved for the 225, rather than the smaller 1.5625 in (39.69 mm) carburetors formerly used on the 170 engine.

For the 1968 model, the horizontal division bar was removed from the grille. A fine cross hatched insert was framed by a segmented chrome surround. Model nameplates were moved from the rear fender to the front fender. The 318 cu in (5.2 L), 230 bhp (170 kW) V8 was a Valiant option for the first time.

For 1969, a new one-piece, full-width grille, new taillights and trim were featured. Standard engines were unchanged, although refinements in the Chrysler Clean Air System (formerly Clean Air Package) produced better operating economy from the 6-cylinder engines. Improved brake adjusters, a more efficient power steering pump, and improvements to the optional Sure-Grip differential were also highlighted.

For 1970, the Valiant was carried over with detail changes, including a new black plastic grille sculptured differently from 1969's metal item. The central portion protruded flush with the forward edge of the hood, while the remainder of the grille was set back from the front plane. The two-door sedan was dropped, replaced by the new Duster coupe. For all except export Valiants, the base 170 engine was replaced by a new 198 cu in (3.2 L) version of the Slant-6. The 198 gave better performance than the 170, and was less costly to make, since it used the same cylinder block as the 225. The Valiant was virtually unchanged for 1971; small revisions included removal of the center grille emblem and a new kind of finish treatment on the grille surround. It now had a blacked-out look instead of the previous argent silver treatment. For the 1970 and 1971 models, exterior and interior trim were slightly revised, and there were engineering changes for better driveability, improved soundproofing and decreased emissions, the latter in compliance with regulations mandated by the newly created Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implementing new devices such as an EGR valve and an activated charcoal filter. The 1971 Valiant eventually set sales records with 256,930 calendar year deliveries,[22] so there was little motivation to change it for 1972. Only details of the taillights and grille were altered for the 1972 Valiants. New surface-mount sidemarker lamp-reflector units replaced the more costly previous flush-mount items.

1971 Valiant Scamp

Beginning in 1971, a badge-engineered version of the 111 in (2,800 mm) wheelbase Dodge Dart Swinger called the Valiant Scamp was offered. This used the Dart Swinger 2-door hardtop body shell with Valiant front sheetmetal and dual taillamps carried over from the 1970 Dodge Dart.

1972 saw the Valiant's best sales ever,[23] with 330,373 sold.[24]

For 1973, the vent wing windows were deleted from the Scamp, and all models were given a new grille and front bumpers able to withstand damage at a 5 mph (8.0 km/h) impact, as well as steel beams inside the doors to protect vehicle occupants in side-impact collisions as mandated by NHTSA. The door beams, the new bumpers and their impact-absorbing mounts, a rubber-booted telescoping system attached to the car's structure, added mass to the Valiant. At the same time, engines were being progressively detuned to comply with increasingly stringent emissions regulations. Performance and economy suffered as a result.

Through the early 1970s, the Valiant took more than 40% of Plymouth's total sales volume.[25] These models also had considerable success in foreign markets. Worldwide, Chrysler affiliates and subsidiaries sold American- or Canadian-made Valiants from complete knock down kits, as well as locally designed and engineered Valiants and Valiant-based vehicles incorporating a mix of North American and local design and components.

1974–1976[edit]

Plymouth Valiant
Plymouth Valiant Scamp.jpg
Overview
Production 1974–1976
Assembly Belvidere, Illinois, United States
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Hamtramck, Michigan, United States
Newark, Delaware, United States
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop
4-door sedan
Related Dodge Dart
Plymouth Duster
Chrysler Valiant
Chrysler Valiant Charger
Powertrain
Engine 198 cu in (3.2 L) RG Slant-6 I6
225 cu in (3.7 L) RG Slant-6 I6
318 cu in (5.2 L) LA V8
340 cu in (5.6 L) LA V8
360 cu in (5.9 L) LA V8
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,819 mm (111.0 in)
1974 Swedish police Valiant (Canadian-built export version) with headlight bezels removed to clear added headlight wipers

In 1974, the 108 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase variant of the A-body sedan was dropped, and the Valiant sedan became a rebadged Dart. The larger size resulted in thicker C-pillars and new rear fender contours. Thenceforth, the only differences between the Valiant and Dart were minor cosmetics. The 1973 Valiant grille and front sheetmetal were retained for 1974, but the front bumper's rubber guards were chromed. The U.S. Federal 5 mph (8.0 km/h) bumper standards were applied to rear bumpers for the 1974 models, adding even more weight to the Valiant.

1974 introduced the Valiant Brougham and its twin, the Dodge Dart Special Edition. Available in two- or four-door models, they were a compact luxury car meant as an attractive alternative to larger luxury cars following the 1973 oil crisis. The Brougham had generous chrome trim, a vinyl top, deep cut-pile carpeting, velour cloth upholstery, interior door padding, color-keyed or simulated wire wheel covers, and a special selection of paint and trim combinations. Much of the optional equipment on a regular Valiant became standard equipment on Brougham models such as power steering, power disc brakes, air conditioning, cruise control, electric rear window defroster and an AM/FM radio.

1975 Plymouth Valiant Brougham, the most luxurious Valiant available

With a slightly restyled grille, 1975 models were essentially carry-overs from 1974 except that California and certain high-altitude models received catalytic converters and required unleaded gasoline. The 1975 Valiants had several new items available to buyers with increasing interest in fuel economy. These included radial tires and a "Fuel Pacer" system that lit a warning light to tell the driver he was driving uneconomically, as well as Chrysler's A833OD 4-speed manual transmission, the first 4-speed Chrysler had offered with a 6-cylinder engine in the North American market since 1965. There were new 50,000 mi (80,000 km) spark plugs[citation needed] and batteries and a 'Clincher' warranty that covered everything on the car except trim for 12 months with no milage restrictions.

1976 models were virtually identical to 1975s; amber rather than clear front park/turn signal lights were used and the parking brake pull-handle was changed to a foot pedal.

A38 police package[edit]

In 1976, the Valiant was available as a Code A38 police package car and offered in three basic engine sizes: E24 (California emission standards) and E25 (Federal) 225 ci 1 bbl (0.16 m3) Slant-6; E44 318 ci, 2 bbl (0.32 m3) V-8; E58 360 ci, 4 bbl (0.64 m3) V-8 with single (California) or dual (Federal) exhaust. It was the E58 that Chrysler recommended for police service as it was the only one with "added endurance features to improve durability." The E58 produced 175 net hp in California trim and 220 net hp in Federal form. The E58 dual exhaust engine (sans catalytic converters) made for a very fast Valiant squad car. So equipped, this compact Chrysler cop car tripped the quarter-mile lights in 16.4 seconds with trap speeds of 84.6 mph (136.2 km/h) and could catch nearly all the so-called "performance cars" of the day.[26] The Seattle Police Department using the Valiant A38 reported a 46 percent drop in the preventable accident rate among police officers,[26] and according to a Motor Trend police survey, the A38 Valiant had much better evasive capabilities, better overall visibility, and was generally easier to drive than the full-size squad cars.[26] A special handling package applied to the A38 Valiant included front and rear antisway bars. Unfortunately, the Valiant wasn't physically durable enough;[26] it lacked additional frame welds and rear cross-member reinforcements standard on all other Mopar A38 packages. More importantly, the front K-frame of the Valiant was prone to failure under severe police use.[26]

Also in 1976, the Plymouth Volaré and Dodge Aspen F-body cars were introduced mid-year replacing the Valiant and Dart, respectively. Production of the A-body shifted to St. Louis Assembly while Hamtramck Assembly was dedicated to the new F-body,[citation needed] which unfortunately, did not maintain their predecessors' reputation for quality and durability and in fact reversed it. The change hurt Chrysler's reputation and profitability, contributing to its near-bankruptcy in 1979-80.

Derivative models[edit]

Barracuda[edit]

Main article: Plymouth Barracuda

Automotive trends in the early middle 1960s had all the U.S. automakers looking at making compact sporty cars. The Valiant was a natural choice of basis for Chrysler's efforts in this direction.[27] Ford's Mustang gave this type of vehicle its common "pony car" moniker, but in fact Chrysler beat Ford to market by two weeks[28] with the April 1, 1964 release of the Barracuda fastback. The Barracuda used the Valiant's 106 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase and the Valiant hood, headlamp bezels, windshield, vent windows, quarter panels and bumpers; all other sheetmetal and glass was new. This hybrid design approach significantly reduced the development and tooling cost and time for the new model. Unfortunately, the Barracuda was as similar to the Valiant as the Mustang was different from the Falcon, and its introduction was, at first, barely noticed by most buyers.[29]

1966 Barracuda backlight and fish badge

The fastback body shape was achieved primarily with an enormous rear window, or backlight, which wrapped down to the fenderline. Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) collaborated with Chrysler designers in producing this 14.4 sq ft (1.34 m2) rear window, the largest ever installed on a standard production car up to that time.[27] The following year, the fenders and taillamps that had been introduced on the 1964 Barracuda were used on the whole 1965 Valiant range except for the wagon, which got different taillamps.

The second-generation Barracuda, though still a 108 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase A-body sharing many components with the Valiant, was given Barracuda-specific styling and its own range of models including convertibles and fastback and notchback hardtops.

Although the first and second generation Barracudas were heavily based on the contemporary Valiants, Plymouth wanted them perceived as a distinct models. Consequently, the "Valiant" chrome script that appeared on the 1964 model's trunk lid was deleted on the 1965 model in the US market. For 1966, the stylized red-and-blue Valiant "V" emblems were replaced on the Barracuda with a model-specific stylized fish logo. For 1967, the new 4-bbl 383 ci V-8 with 280 hp (210 kW) was optional only in the Formula S which boosted the Barracuda's performance with 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds and the quarter mile covered in 15.9 seconds.[30] In other markets such as Canada and South Africa, where Valiant was a marque in its own right, the car remained known as Valiant Barracuda until the A-body Barracuda was discontinued after 1969.

For 1970, the Barracuda lost all commonality with the Valiant as an all-new E-body Barracuda was produced.

Duster[edit]

Main article: Plymouth Duster

Plymouth introduced a sporty new model for 1970: the 2-door fastback Plymouth Valiant Duster. The same technique that spawned the 1964 Barracuda was employed for the Duster. It was designed to use the same front end sheetmetal, running gear, and 108 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase as the Valiant, but Plymouth's stylists gave the car an entirely new look by using a modified fastback configuration with radically curved side glass having only half the curvature radius of conventional side glass. Though the 340 cu in (5.6 L) V8 engine with 10.5:1 compression, 275 bhp (205 kW) and 340 lb·ft (461 N·m) of torque had been available for special order in Valiants and Barracudas since 1968, the 340 was offered as a regular production option in the Duster 340, Plymouth's analogue to the Dodge Demon 340 and the Dodge Dart Swinger 340. The Duster was an immediate hit as a sporty alternative to the now larger and more expensive Barracuda.[31]

1970 Duster 340 with logo

An aggressive "shark tooth" grille was offered on the fastback Duster 340 and new-for-1971 Duster Twister models. The Twister was a "performance appearance package" produced in response to increasing premiums on muscle cars, many of which were calculated using the vehicle's power-to-weight ratio as an actuarial gauge. Despite the "dust whirl" side stripes and Twister decals, Rallye road wheels, dual racing mirrors, twin hood scoops, flat-black hood paint with strobe stripes, and plaid cloth-and-vinyl trim interior available in four colors, the biggest engine available was the 318 cu in (5.2 L) V8.

Chrysler increased the displacement of its highest-performance small block V-8 engine from 340 cu in (5.6 L) to 360 cu in (5.9 L) for 1974. The 360 was rated at 245 hp (183 kW) and placed in the Duster 360. However, the 1974 Duster was nearly 150 lb (68 kg) heavier than the 1971 model[32] on account of the heavier bumpers, side-impact door beams, emission control equipment, and added soundproofing. Even with performance options such as the four-speed manual transmission, Hurst shifter and Sure-Grip differential with 3.55:1 axle ratio, 0-60 mph and quarter-mile times increased roughly two seconds compared to those for the 1970 Duster. Unfortunately, higher fuel prices and performance-car insurance surcharges deterred many buyers as the interest in high performance waned.

International variants[edit]

Canada (1960–1966)[edit]

Chrysler Canada marketed the Valiant at Dodge and Plymouth dealers under a standalone "Valiant" marque. The Canadian 1960–62 Valiant was visually similar to its American counterpart except the badge on the trunk lid read "by Chrysler" instead of "Plymouth". Besides minor differences in interior and exterior trim, the alternator was an extra-cost option in Canada through 1962 while it was standard equipment in America. An anti-ice system for the carburetor's throttle body, engine block heater, battery warmer, electric car interior heater and other cold-climate items were available as factory and/or dealer-installed options. Air conditioning, which was first offered in the US 1961 models, was not made available North of the border until 1966. Some Canadian-made Auto-Lite (now Prestolite) electrical components were used in lieu of the American-production Chrysler-built components. The Windsor, Ontario plant was a source for left- and right-hand-drive export Valiants as knock down kits.

For 1963 and 1964, the Canadian Valiant used US Valiant front sheetmetal with the U.S. Dodge Dart body and 111 in (2,800 mm) wheelbase (except wagons, which—like all 1963-'66 Dart and Valiant wagons—were on the 106 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase).

For 1965, Chrysler Canada sold both the 106 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase and the 111 in (2,800 mm) wheelbase A-body vehicles, all badged as Valiants, and all with the U.S. Dart dashboard and instrument cluster. For 1966, the shorter Valiant was dropped from the Canadian market, and all Valiants were rebadged US Darts.

The Canadian Barracuda, badged as the Valiant Barracuda, was built in Canada in 1964 and 1965 but was imported for 1966. Like the Valiant, the Barracuda had no Plymouth markings.

With the coming of the U.S.-Canada Auto Pact of 1965, Chrysler could ship cars and parts both ways over the border and in 1967 the company began importing Plymouth Valiants and Dodge Darts from Detroit, as well as exporting Darts and Valiants from Windsor to the U.S.

Australia (1962–1981)[edit]

The Chrysler Valiant was produced in Australia by Chrysler Australia from 1962 to 1980, and by Mitsubishi Australia from 1980 to 1981.


Mexico (1963–1988)[edit]

Valiants assembled and sold in Mexico from 1963 through 1976 were essentially the same A-body compacts that were built in the U.S. with minor differences. This line included a convertible and unique 2-door hardtop from 1967 to 1969. These styles were never sold in the U.S. The Valiant Duster was introduced in Mexico in 1970, and it was the same car that was sold north of the border. Starting in 1972, the Valiant Duster got the same body as the U.S.-marker Dodge Demon/Dart Sport. In 1976, A-body cars were discontinued in North America, replaced by the Plymouth Volare/Dodge Aspen. Mexican Volares were badged as "Valiant Volares," and these had the Volare rear end but the Aspen grille. When the Volare was replaced with the Reliant "K" in 1981, these cars were marketed as "Valiant K" as well. The Reliant K was the last Valiant-badged car sold in Mexico.

Argentina (1962–1968)[edit]

In 1962, Chrysler Fevre Argentina started building the 1960 version of the U.S. Plymouth Valiant under the Chrysler nameplate (although later most of the cars were sold under the Valiant nameplate as an independent brand). Only the 4-door version was produced. Two models were offered, the Valiant V200 (Valiant I), with a 2.790 cm3 engine, and, since 1963, the Valiant II with a 3.687 cm3 engine. In 1965 the Valiant III was launched. Despite its name, this car was similar to the 1963 U.S. Dodge Dart. It was offered in three trims, standard, Coronado (luxury) and GT (sport). In 1967 the Valiant IV came out. This car also looked very much like the U.S. 1966 Dodge Dart, offering the same trims than the previous version. Production ceased for the Valiants in 1968, when they were replaced by the GTX /Coronado/Polara lineup. However, for the 1968 model year a basic "Valiant" trim of the Coronado/Polara was offered.

Collectibility[edit]

The Valiant is a collectable car today, particularly early models, as they are more rare. However, very few early Valiants survive as, until recently, sedans were not considered as attractive enough as pony cars for collectors; therefore, outstanding examples fetch high appraisal values today.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'Mighty Mopars 1960-74" by Tony Young p. 16 ISBN 978-0-87938-124-0
  2. ^ "The Strange Development Story of the Plymouth Valiant". Valiant.org. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  3. ^ Witzenburg, Gary. "The Name Game", Motor Trend, 4/84, p.82.
  4. ^ '"British to See Valiant First" by Ralph R. Watts, The Detroit News, October 21, 1959, p.15.
  5. ^ John Gunnell, Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975, Revised 4th Edition, page 656
  6. ^ John Gunnell, Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975, Revised 4th Edition, page 658
  7. ^ a b c d '"The Valiant - A New Motoring Concept" by A.G. Loofbourrow, V.M. Exner & R.M. Sinclair, Chrysler Corp., Engineering Division, for presentation of the Society of Automotive Engineers Annual Meeting at The Sheraton-Cadillac Hotel, and Statler Hotel, Detroit, Michigan, January 11–15, 1960'
  8. ^ a b c d e f Aluminum Saves Weight in the Valiant (Product Information Bulletin, Chrysler Corp., Engineering Division, Technical Information Services, November, 1959)
  9. ^ Weertman, Willem (2008). Chrysler Engines 1922-1998. Warrendale, PA: SAE International, 419. ISBN 978-0-7680-1642-0
  10. ^ '"Up Goes Valiant-Junior HP Race On?" by Fred Olmsted, The Detroit Free Press, January 21, 1960, p. 18'
  11. ^ a b '"Valiants Survive a 4-Car Smashup, Win at Daytona," The Detroit Free Press, February 1, 1960, p. 26'
  12. ^ Young, Tony (1984). Mighty Mopars 1960-1974. Motorbooks International. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-87938-124-0. 
  13. ^ Chrysler Corporation: 'Valiant Master Parts Catalogue, 1960-1963'
  14. ^ Chrysler Corporation: '1960 Valiant Technical Service Bulletins'
  15. ^ a b c d "Valiant Wagon Lowest Priced" by Ralph R. Watts, The Detroit News, November 6, 1959, p. 17
  16. ^ Chrysler Corporation: '1961 Valiant Technical Service Bulletins'
  17. ^ Chrysler Corporation: '1962 (S-series) Valiant'
  18. ^ '"Valiant Gets Styling Award" by Fred Olmsted, The Detroit Free Press, October 18, 1961, P.16'
  19. ^ Knutson, Lanny. "Best of the carryovers: Plymouth for 1964". Allpar.com. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  20. ^ "Year by year history of the Plymouth Valiant". Valiant.org. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  21. ^ '"The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile Vol. 2 M-Z," multiple editors, p.1240, ISBN 1-57958-293-1'
  22. ^ ['The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975, 4th Edition' Edited by Ron Kowalke P. 681 ISBN 0-87341-521-3]
  23. ^ Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1960-1972 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2004), p.922.
  24. ^ Flory, p.925.
  25. ^ Flory, J. Kelly (2004). American Cars, 1960-1972: Every Model, Year by Year. McFarland & Company. p. 924. ISBN 978-0-7864-1273-0. 
  26. ^ a b c d e Sanow, Edwin J.; John L. Bellah (1994). Dodge, Plymouth & Chrysler Police Cars 1956-1978. Motorbooks International. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-87938-958-1. 
  27. ^ a b Young, p. 33
  28. ^ "Plymouth Barracuda @ Allpar". Allpar.com. 1964-04-01. Retrieved 2012-06-10. 
  29. ^ Flory, p. 319
  30. ^ Young, p. 41
  31. ^ Flory, p. 771
  32. ^ Young, p. 159

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