One memory that’s always stuck with me from my teenage years was getting a ride home one day with a friend who’d borrowed his dad’s car while he was interstate on business. It was a 1969 Valiant VIP, a top-of-the-range stretched Valiant with the 318 and automatic. It was just so effortless, sitting on those fancy brocade seats and cruising along to the muted burble of the 318 as it effortlessly slurred between gears. Such a contrast to the sticky vinyl seats and the roar of the 200 six in Dad’s manual Falcon, with the clank as the linkage clashed on the 1-2 shift – if it didn’t stick.
So in tribute to the Redlich family Valiant, we’ll look at small Mopars today.
The first of these was that rare find (opening image), an annual Revell model that had remained unsold on the shelf of an inner-city department store for ten years! I was always keen on these wild-looking Valiants, so of course I bought the kit – and built it with the hot engine setup. It’s not the Hyper Pak, as it has triple carbs and a finned valve cover. Built in 1973. In Australia these only came with the 225, so muscular small Mopars got off to a roaring start. Now, on to the gallery.
We’ll start with this ’69 Cuda. It’s an update of a tool from the 1960s, and I think still in the AMT catalog. This one’s from about 1980, “streetified” from a drag kit;
Here’s a later version of the same kit, updated with the proper wheels, engine and stripes;
I’ve built way too many of Revell’s 1968 and 1969 Dart kits. Something about that shape…
Then of course there’s the Duster. I built the original back when it was a new car. AMT tooled up a state-of-the-art kit in the nineties, still good today;
And a modern street machine version;
Here’s a 1976 Dart Sport;
This was an updated version based on the old 1971 annual and still reappears from time to time. What’s the difference between this and the Dusters I showed earlier? Detail;
Much better suspension and engine detail on the new one and generally finer engraving everywhere. Times move on and people want better, in models too.
I’ll finish off with a 1979 Volare annual model. Not a popular kit, to my knowledge it has never been reissued. Cutting the roof like that would be a disaster of course, but it looked cool at the time!
Next time, we might look at some fifties Fords. And an Edsel or three…