Curbside Classic: 1968 Plymouth Valiant Two Hundred – One Mean-Looking Compact

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I know there are some serious Valiant (and Dart) lovers here who can probably spout endless factoids about this car. Have at it, boys – let the comments be a veritable symposium of Mopar memories. I’ll watch from the sidelines, for I’m not one of the A-body cognoscenti. All I know is that when I came upon this example with an abysmal paint job but many of its chrome bits intact, I managed to recognize it as a ’68. I can’t recall the last time I saw a Valiant on the road, but I’m positive I haven’t seen one from before 1970 for two, maybe three, decades. Salted midwestern winter roads are not kind to such cars.

Chrysler’s A body has been a popular topic here at Curbside Classic. We’ve shared third-gen Valiants many times before, including this ’71 and this ’76. We’ve also briefly discussed the ’68 Valiant Signet here.

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This Valiant is a Two Hundred, which offers a little nicer trim over the entry-level 100 but isn’t as luxurious as the top-line Signet. And yes, it’s Two Hundred and 100; that’s how the cars were badged.

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This car’s enigmatic cosmetic condition left me scratching my head. “Charcoal Death” couldn’t have been a factory color. And aren’t those wheel covers from a later model year? The high bodyside trim strip that was unique to the Two Hundred is missing (see the clips?), but the front corner Valiant Two Hundred badges, the fender-mounted turn-signal indicators, and the entire grille are still here. Maybe the owner is slowly restoring his Valiant while it provides him daily transportation.

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The interior is rough, especially the dashboard cover. (I’m still figuring out how to get decent interior shots with my iPhone. With my normal digital camera I can stick the lens barrel right up to the glass, which cuts way back on glare.)

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After Chrysler learned its lesson from the oddly styled first-generation Valiant (CC here), subsequent Valiant styling defined conventionality. Is there any doubt what look Chrysler was going for here? It’s so upright, so crisp, so cribbed directly from the contemporary Mercedes sedan (at least in the greenhouse).

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I like to imagine what kind of person owns each Curbside Classic I find. I’m guessing this one is driven by a twentysomething proto-hipster (we don’t have real hipsters in Indiana). What do you think?