posted at the Cohort by Colin
But don’t let the wheels fool you…could be a six or a V8.
A friend high school friend of mine in the mid 1980s inherited the old family car, a 1968 Dart (they had moved on to a K-Car and an Omni, loyal Dodge…). He repainted it and put Cragars on it….but the car still had the 225 six.
This is exactly the sort of “usable” muscle car I’d love to have. Plain jane wrapper and something you’re not afraid to leave in the grocery store parking lot, with (presumably?) something serious under the hood. Doesn’t help that I’ve been watching a lot of “Uncle Tony’s Garage” on youtube so I’ve been marinating in Mopar stuff the last month or so.
One of my first automotive loves! One of my mother’s friends (and later my piano teacher) bought one new, in that medium metallic green with tan vinyl interior. It was a near-total stripper 2 door sedan with only the extra-cost 225 slant six over the smaller version. Rubber mats, 3 on the tree, black tires and everything. I remember her telling me that she had special ordered it in Limelight Green, and that she was convinced the color that came on the car was not the one she had ordered. I think it probably was, but it certainly wasn’t what most of us think of when the word “lime” is used.
I used to sit in that car for long stretches when she would visit. I would practice shifting the gears and became intimately familiar with its every detail. I still find that single-year 1969 front end among the most attractive of all of them.
She eventually married someone as frugal as she was and they kept it as the run-around-town car into the late 70s, by which time it was amazingly rusty. The frame member/torsion bar mount finally succumbed to the rust and they gave it up. I think it had under 50k miles on it by then.
I didn’t have a V100, but I did own a 69 Valiant Signet, the least popular 69 Valiant. Mine was that “classic” bottle green with white interior, but to give it a more up-to-date look, I would eventually strip the chrome from around the windows/door posts.
One of the reasons why I bought that car was the bulletproof slant 6 and automatic transmission combo…not to mention that it was seriously affordable for a 6 year old car.
I’m in the minority, but I feel the Valiant 2-door sedan could have been a good seller through the mid seventies. Its square formal styling, with 70s domestic design touches, could have fit right in as competition for the two door Granada. And the popular attempt at the time to make US cars appear more formal and Mercedes/European-like.
I personally didn’t like the styling of the Plymouth Scamp and Dart Swinger (and Dart four door). As a kid of the 70s, they screamed mid to late 60s styling, with their dated late 60s full-sized Chrysler rooflines, and fender skirt like rear wheel openings. They looked already old-fashioned to me, upon introduction. I thought the Valiant 2-door sedan (and four door), would have looked more modern in the 70s. With 70s design tweaks. The 2-door sedan either pre-dating the Granada coupe, as a small domestic luxury car, or set to compete for a couple years with the Ford (’75-’76).
The Duster swept away all the other two-doors in popularity (the Scamp and Swinger did soldier on). It did “cure” what I found to be a high level of wind noise around the squared-off A pillars of my 1968 Valiant Signet four-door. My Signet was loaded (for a Valiant); those who didn’t have air conditioning may not have noticed the wind noise.
The 1967 body had a “mini-limo” look to it, many years before Ford gussied up the Falcon into the Granada, in much the same style. Especially in a dark color with the chromed upper door mouldings, viewed from the rear 3/4, it looked more expensive than would be expected from a Valiant.
Actually, I agree. It’s amazing, but 50 years on this car still looks fairly contemporary. IMO, the car’s styling has held up way better than the first generation U.S. version of the Grenada.
If Chrysler has updated the Valiant/Dart, this car could have been an ongoing contender. Chrysler Australia did a nice job updating the Valiant over time and some of those updates would have been nice to see on the U.S. versions.
Ideally, the Mexicana roof would have been included as that really spruced up the car’s look.
I like the Dart(Scamp) hardtop coupe better but I do agree that the 4 door body looked and aged significantly better than the Dart 4-door body. I think the Valiant 2 door is blemished mostly by its clunky pillars and window frames
I never knew these 2 door Valiants existed. Only had the Chrysler Valiant hardtop in my neck of the woods.
Mopar Action built an awesome street-legal road-race Valiant V100 that they named the Brick about 20 years ago. It surprised a bunch of people at evens like the One Lap of America. I’ve often wondered why the Hemi-Dart wasn’t a Hemi-Valiant-two-door-post-sedan instead. Those hardtop bodies were pretty floppy in my experience.
I once had a ’69 V100 in pale yellow with brown plastic interior, black rubber flooring and dog-dish hubcaps. That 225 Super Six, did seem to go faster after I swapped in a faux wood-grain and chrome steering wheel from a ’65 Barracuda. At the time it was just wheels but I sure would like to have it now.
I’d love to have one of these 2 or 4 door with either a 225 slant six or a 318 2bbl with a Torqueflite. Haven’t seen one lately that wasn’t hot rodded to an inch of its life, but I’d be happiest with one that was stock. The only upgrade I’d make would be electronic ignition if it didn’t already have it and a front anti sway bar.
From my ownership experience, I would spend my money on mods to the intake before I upgraded the ignition, I mean, a 1 barrel carb? A 2 barrel or even better a 4 barrel would improve breathing / fuel economy as well as up power.
The slant six received electronic ignition in 1972, which really helped with wet weather and hot weather starting. Many were the days where I had to pull the air cleaner cover to start my ’71 Scamp 225. Here’s an article that talks about some ways to see real performance returns. There’s got to be a pretty low threshold for spending money before a 318 with a 4 barrel and a cam starts making sense.
The restyle for 1967 was very attractive – both the 2-door and 4-door sedans looked crisp and well-proportioned. I never cared for the Duster/Scamp variants of the ’70s, even though they sold well. I’ve often wondered what year was “peak Valiant” – I think 1969 is a good candidate for that honor. The early emission controls by that time reduced pollution somewhat, without impacting driveability. By 1969, a number of significant safety improvements were in place, compared to the ’65 2-door that our family had: dual-circuit brakes, side marker lights, 4-way flashers, shoulder belts optional, collapsible steering column, headrests, etc. For ’69, you could actually get a 4-door with bucket seats and 4-on-the-floor, which no longer seem to be available on the 4-door for 1970, per the brochure. 1969 was also the final year for the 273 V-8, which added a nice alternative to the 225 or 318.
“I never cared for the Duster/Scamp variants of the ’70s”
From 1967-69 there was a lot of difference between the Valiant and the Dart, starting with the Dart having an extra 3 inches in wb over the 108 inch Valiant. The Dart got a hardtop and a convertible, in addition to the 2 and 4 door sedans the Valiant was limited to.
I agree that these have something going for them, but everyone seemed to love the Duster which replaced the 108 inch wb 2 door.
These two doors are rarely found now, as the drag racers love them for the structural strength. IF you can find a good one, the pricing may surprise you!
This is the 1969 Valiant of Richard Kay. He competes in NHRA’s Super Stock division. It’s powered by a 376 cu in small block Dodge, backed by a Torqueflite transmission. It covers the quarter-mile in the mid 8-second range at over 150 mph.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of new posts by email.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Copyright 2011 - 2023 Curbside Classics. All Rights Reserved.
Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.
Type your email…