As I was driving out of the MG meeting I wrote about here (and here), I took a wrongful right instead of left at the end of the street, something I realized when I reached a dead end after some fifty meters. So, a three-point-turn was duly negotiated and as I was finally heading on my (right) way, I caught a very familier glimpse on the left, as you can witness from the dash-cam video above.
A bona-fida CC parked to the left, hidden behind the Hyundai IX35 and clearly having nothing to do with the aforementioned meeting I just left. This needs an up-close inspection. Time to park.
First look focuses on that nasty scratch-turned-dent on the front passenger door, but other than that it looks quite clean. Comparing it to other much younger car shapes around has you thinking how the world’s changed.
At the back the license plate reveals this car is an original import from 1973, plus you see the usual reflector strips mandatory in Israel on all cars older than 1995. The Hebrew emblem on the left says “A. Aharon’s Garage LTD.”. Notice how close the Valiant and the IX35 are parked next to each other…
… Which meant I could only photograph it from the Valiant’s right side. Here’s that nasty dent again, and it seems that the roof, including A and C pillars, was resprayed at some point.
Inside (in the failing evening light) it looks to be fairly common, nothing exiting or different- just the unavoidable marks of time and neglect.
And as usual for these cars, you can see the common holes that rust opens up in the body. I have no idea if this Valiant is parked outside at this spot regularly, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
Now there’s a fix for scratches, just paint over them with a brush. This reminds me of the “fixes” I used to do on my 1974 Firebird back in 1991. I was 19 and in the midst of my military service so access was limited to the same means of repair…
Last look of this Valiant is at the front, and I dare say it looks its best from this angle. Even the bumper seems to have been untouched.
In previous posts on CC I wrote that US made cars were mostly considered in Israel as more high-end than in the US, if for their size alone. The Plymouth Valiant (and its Dodge Dart brother, for that matter) was very successful in Israel, especially the”last” generation of this featured car (specific years would probably be 1969 to 1976). What was considered a compact car in the US was essentially a large car in Israel, and early Seventies cars would even serve high ranked IDF and police officers, no doubt spurring the public to purchase yet more Valiants. It was a good solution for people who wanted a large (for Israel) car, fitted with power-steering, automatic gear and perhaps other amenities such as power windows and/or locks – essentially an “executive” car (for lack of a better word), but were unable or unwilling to purchase German alternatives, which really, at that time, were the only rivals this car had.
As you might expect, survival rate of these cars (again, also their Dart brothers) was rather high, and many were photographed by myself at various classic meetings throughout the years. I will stick to Valiants in the coming photos, and leave the Darts for another post:
First two photos are of this 1969 Valiant, although I’m not entirely sure about that front bumper that carries huge overriders.
A later, 1972 Valiant “sporting” obviously not original two-tone paint. I believe this is the last year the difference between the Valiant and the Dart was clearly visible – especially looking at the car’s fascia.
On to 1973, as the featured car in this post, and at the front, the Valiant starts to look much like the Dart. The back will have to wait another year for the 5mph bumper, so the square Plymouth rear remains.
The two Valiants above are from 1974, and I think from this year on (until the end at 1976), an untrained eye will have a hard time distinguishing these from same model year Darts. What were once quite hansom cars were now transformed for the worse by those huge bumpers.
While still in 1974, I’ll include a photo of this Valiant Scamp with a somewhat modified paint job and some tasty wheels (with much fitting diameter). Well, basically a Dodge Dart Swinger as you know.
* Daniel at the comments corrects the model year to be from 1973, and I humbly agree.
I’ll finish off with this photo of another 1973 Valiant, much more neglected than the featured car of this post but at least, at true CC spotted near a curb and not at a car meeting. This was taken some years back, so who knows if it’s still there.