Original post: There’s enough evidence here to ID the make, model, and year of these car remains found in a dry lakebed. The actual, singular year, not a year range. Do you see it? Show your work (state what supports your answer). No peeking at the comments on YouTube!
And now, the exciting conclusion: Several guesses were correct, but none identified the evidence showing it
is was a 1960 Valiant, not a 1961.
Firstly, take a look at that Slant-6 engine (0:00, 0:06, 0:10, 0:15, 0:36). It’s a lump of rust…except the intake manifold, which has none. That’s because it’s aluminum. In its first year of 1960, the Slant-6 had an aluminum intake manifold. Chrysler bought them from nine different foundries—some sandcast, some semipermanent-mould cast—and still couldn’t get enough of them to meet projected demand for Slant-6 engines, so for 1961 an iron intake was substituted. Barring the ’60-’61 long-ram Hyper-Pak intake, there wouldn’t be another factory aluminum intake on a Slant-6 engine until the 1976 Plymouth Feather Duster & Dodge Dart Lite.
There were comments on the cat’s-eye taillamps (0:55) and the stainless steel hoop from the spare-tire deck lid (0:50), but those are common to ’60 and ’61 Valiants. We can’t really tell if this was a basic V-100 model or a de luxe V-200, because while early-production V-200s also got a smaller inner trim ring on the deck lid, it was deleted along with the front fendertop “shark fin” trim before very much of the ’60 model year had passed.
There was a comment about the instrument cluster housing (0:40, 1:01), but that’s not injection-moulded plastic—the faceplate was, but it’s not present. The housing is actually cast metal covered with surprisingly durable and protective white (likely lead) paint. And in this instrument cluster lies the other clue that this was a ’60: note the three tunnels above the central blue gauge light bulb dome. The central one’s for the high-beam indicator, flanked by left and right turn signal pilot lights. The cluster and circuitry was cost-reduced by perhaps 1.3¢ for ’61 by dint of a single turn signal pilot that flashed whether a left or right was being indicated; ’61 clusters have only two of the three tunnels we see here.
So there it is: your (over)dose of early A-body and Slant-6 minutiæ for the week!
Slant 6 for sure.
That’s a Slant Six, and the hoop-looking thing looks like the surround for the toilet seat tire hump on a 1960 Valiant.
Whatever it turns out to be it’s definitely early-’60s Mopar.
That is a Slant-6, but the ’60 Valiant was not the only car with a Slant-6 engine and a hoop-shaped trim piece like that.
Failed early Amphicar test mule?
Ran when Parked…
One of the Chrysler show cars that went down in the crash of the Andrea Doria?
Has to be ’60 Valiant. The taillight reflector around 0:58 pins it.
No, it doesn’t; the ’60 Valiant was not the only car to use that taillamp.
I generally suck at this, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess a ’67 Valiant.
The instrument panel bezel appears to have a square opening for the speedometer and ancillary gauges.
Hmmm… was this the lake by the Bates Motel in “Psycho”?
No, I’m not going to research this because I really don’t care on a Monday morning.
I’m going with ’61 Valiant because of the toilet seat ring that was on the trunk lid, the cat’s eye tail lamp and the 225 aluminum slant 6 engine.
That’s not an aluminum 225 engine.
Is a Slant 6, no doubt… but, what the former owner of it is, is pure speculation.
1960-66 Plymouth Valiant or 1963-68 Dodge Dart? Maybe 1960-62 Plymouth Belvedere?
Chassis might not be long enough to be a Belvedere, though.
The picture of the remains of the injection-molded plastic instrument cluster shell (with the blue backlighting lenses) at 0:42 – were they already using that technology in the early 1960s? I know it was common by the end of the decade.
I don’t what it is, but restoration will be a bear.
Amelia Earhart has been found!
j/k, other than early 60s Mopar, I’m clueless.
This should have been a “CC Clue.” Can’t wait for the reveal! (c:
I’m pretty sure it’s not a Hesston… https://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/fieldside-classic-dodge-slant-six-industrial-engines-making-hay-while-the-sun-shines/
I am spending way too much time looking at this video. I should be researching and making a final decision on who to vote for tomorrow.
We all agree it is a slant 6. From there the waters are still muddy, even though they have drained off or evaporated. The video title claims it is a car, and I agree. There is no evidence of a frame around the rear axle, plus the front portion does not look like a truck frame. The three parts that are probably positive identifiers are the hoop molding, the instrument cluster piece, and the ‘cat’s eye’ lamps. I can’t fit those three parts to the same car. The hoop molding would be a ’60 full sized Plymouth and the ’60 – ’61 Valiant. The dash piece does not fit the ’60 full sized, and the part is not symmetrical, but the Valiant cluster is. One of the lamps in the video is sitting next to what appears to be a headlamp ring. This comparison makes the lamps too large to be Valiant tail lamps, in my opinion. To me, they look more like ’63 full sized Plymouth park lamps. There also are what appears to be some rubber gaskets for a rectangular shaped glass. They could be the windshield or back glass on a Valiant, or the quarter glass on a station wagon. But a wagon would not have a hoop molding.
The evidence seems to fit the ’60 -’61 Valiant the best, as some others have decided. I will also list the ’63 full sized Plymouth as second place.
Welcome Daniel, I am enjoying your contributions. Good mental exercise.
Impressive recall of Slant Six history and interesting application of it to an automotive mystery, Daniel! I enjoyed the exercise of trying to figure out the puzzle, although I got no further than identifying the intake manifold as being from a Slant Six.
Call me crazy, or ignorant of the effects of several decades of water on cast aluminum, but I would love to see that intake manifold resurrected and re-used, ideally in a hot-rodded Slant Six. Having an impressive Slant Six featured under the hood of a restored/restomod Mopar, and being able to say that the prominent intake manifold was salvaged from several decades at the bottom of a lake, would be something.
Daniel, you are the king/expert of these cars, with out a doubt! I thought the block looked white and not so corroded, like the transmission case, but it’s hard to tell from the picture.
This is a fun read .
my interest is more how did it end up on the lakebed in the first place?
was this something to do with Louis Broderick’s early years? 🙂