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My 1964 Plymouth Valiant

Updated on July 14, 2013

My 1964 Valiant Station Wagon

I love my 1964 Plymouth Valiant station wagon. It's the first car my wife and I bought together (for only $500) and it's the car I taught her to drive in. I also like it because it reminds my of my best friend's 64 Valiant Signet he had when we were in high school.

The Valiant is the perfect project car if you're into vintage Mopars but don't have a lot of money. They're cheap and light compared to other vintage Mopars and they perform well on smaller engines, even the Slant Six. The Valiant was produced in 4 distinct styles over the years (1960-62, 1963-66, 1967-70, and 1970-76) so you can find a style to suit any taste. If you're looking for something different for your next project, the Plymouth Valiant is worth taking a look at.

(Photo: me)

My 64 Valiant Wagon - If I could only have one car, this would be it...

1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon
1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon

Here it is. As you can see, it's seen better days. My original plan was to restore it, but it needs so much body work that I might just leave the exterior the way it is. Besides, I love the patine:) The interior is a different story though... I'm going to make it factory new, including the shifter for the push-button 904 automatic. The engine will get a complete upgrade too, including an Offenhauser dual intake manifold modified for Weber carbs, ported head, higher compression ratio, Mopar electronic ignition, and an Offy valve cover. Suspension will be upgraded to full Barracuda Formula S specs, and I'm going to run Torque Thrust II wheels for that vintage look. I hope to get started on it this summer - it's been sitting way too long - with the goal of having it on the road in time for the Fall Colors Classic car show in Bishop, CA this October.

(Photo: me)

History of the Valiant

Why it's one of my favorite cars...

The Plymouth Valiant was manufactured by Chrysler Corporation from 1960 to 1976. During this time, three basic designs were produced. The first series ran from 1960 through 1962. For the first year, they were offered as 4 door sedans and 4 door station wagons. In 1961, a 2 door sedan and 2 door hard top were added to the lineup (in 1962, the 2 door hard top was renamed the "Valiant Signet"). Although the styling was considered daring for the time, with "sleek, crisp lines which flow forward in a dart or wedge shape," it looks very dated today. The second series ran from 1963 through 1967. All 4 configurations were carried forward from the first series with a 2 door convertible added to the lineup (the convertible was offered in both Valiant 200 and Signet configurations). In addition, a special fast back version of the Valiant called the Barracuda was introduced. The third version of the Valiant debuted in 1967. The car became larger (the engine compartment could now hold a big block!!!), and the 2 door hard top, convertible, and station wagon were all dropped from the lineup. The Barracuda also got its own model designation so was no longer considered a Valiant. The Valiant name lived on through 1976 as the Plymouth Duster and Plymouth Scamp.

Mopar: The Performance Years, Vol. II - The Valiant is a big part of Mopar's rich performance history

This book is out of print, but used copies are sometimes available from Amazon or EBay. If you are a fan of early Mopar performance, it is definitely worth your time and effort to track down a copy of this book. It includes 33 articles covering many aspects of early Mopar performance. Fans of the Plymouth Valiant or other early A Body Mopars will especially like "1964 - The Year of The Mini Wedge" and "Rally Around the Valiant." The first has tons of info about Mopar's 273 and the second is the story of (Plymouth Engineer) Scott Harvey's exploits in SCCA racing. If you can find a copy of this book you won't be disappointed.

Plymouth Valiant Innovations - The original Valiant had many innovative features...

The Plymouth Valiant is known mostly as a cheap, economical car that provides cheap and reliable basic transportation. In spite of this humble reputation, the original Valiant design included several features that were considered to be very innovative at the time.

  • Slant Six The Valiant featured a brand new engine for Mopar, the Chrysler Slant Six. Unlike most inline 6 cylinder engines, the Slant Six is canted 30° to one side. This allowed for a lower hood line and long, tuned runners which improved performance compared to other inline sixes available at the time.
  • Aluminum Castings and Stampings At a time when iron was used for most castings, the Plymouth Valiant made extensive use of die cast aluminum. Parts cast from aluminum included the oil pump, water pump, intake manifold, transmission housing, and numerous other small parts. Similarly, Chrysler replaced many chrome plated, cast zinc trim pieces (including the grill) with stamped aluminum parts, saving additional weight. In all, about 60 lbs. of aluminum parts were used in the first generation Valiants, resulting in a net weight savings of 102 lbs.
  • Unibody Construction While unibody construction was not unique to Chrysler or the Valiant, they certainly helped popularize it. Starting in 1960, all Chrysler models except the Imperial were built using unibody construction. Today, almost all passenger cars are built using this method.

First Generation Valiant - 1960 - 1962

1962 Plymouth Valiant
1962 Plymouth Valiant

Photo Credit: thatguyeric under Creative Commons license.

Valiant Wins SCCA

In 1964 and '65, Scott Harvey (driving a 1964 Plymouth Valiant sedan) won back to back U.S. Rally Driver Championships in the Sports Car Club of America's (SCCA) Club Class.

Second Generation Valiant - 1963 - 1966

1964 Plymouth Valiant 2-door Hardtop
1964 Plymouth Valiant 2-door Hardtop

Photo Credit: TheGeekiestMark under Creative Commons license.

The second generation Plymouth Valiant is by far my favorite. The styling on the earlier Valiant is a little too weird for my tastes, and the1967 - '69 model is a little too boxy (it would be a great choice for a sleeper though). I have 2 of the second generation Valiants, a 1964 station wagon and a 1966 Barracuda.

Third Generation Valiant - 1967 - 1970

1970 Plymouth Valiant Sedan
1970 Plymouth Valiant Sedan

Photo Credit: SoulRider.222 under Creative Commons license.

Fourth Generation Plymouth Valiant

1970 - 1976 Valiant Duster

For 1970, the Valiant was completely redesigned again and renamed to Duster. It was bigger, more streamlined, and had better performance potential than earlier models of the Valiant.

Please Sign my Guestbook - Share your Valiant stories...

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    • PickupTrucksFan1 profile image

      PickupTrucksFan1 4 years ago

      My dad bought a new Valiant. I think it was a 62, green 4 door.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      My favourite here is the 1967-70 Valiant - it was a great era in car design.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love the Third Generation Valiant. My first car was a Ford Falcon convertible. So much fun!

    • Richardryder profile image

      Risteard O'Marcahain 5 years ago from Wales

      great car - Thanks for the visit

    • profile image

      Pangionedevelopers 5 years ago

      parents had a 60's valient

      as a kid(probably 6-7 years old)

      i got in while it was in my driveway and took it out of park.

      rolled down our driveway and hit a tree

      That was the beginning of great things to come

    • QuirkySue profile image

      QuirkySue 6 years ago

      My very first car was a 1976 Valiant. A big ol' red four door that I bought for $1000 at age 16. aaaah the memories! That beast ran on for a good 2 minutes after shutting her off!

    • classicalgeek lm profile image

      classicalgeek lm 6 years ago

      My parents had a 1965 Valiant that they bought new. That car lasted until I was in college in the 1980s. (My own first car was a 1963 Rambler Classic--now that is a car I could write about for months on end!)

    • glenbrook profile image
      Author

      glenbrook 6 years ago

      @Swisstoons: You're not imagining - Valiants and other Mopars came with push button shifting through the 1964 model year. After that, performance models with automatic transmissions had floor shifters and the other models had column shifters like all the non-Mopars. I think the push button shifter was a really cool feature.

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 6 years ago from Michigan

      My brother-in-law was an engineer with Chryslers for many years and currently works several hours a week (in semi-retirement) as the Chrysler historian here in Michigan. Over the decades, he has restored, traded and collected numerous vintage Chrysler products. Years ago, he gifted one of his daughters with a vintage Valiant. I'm not really knowledgeable about cars, but I have a recollection of this car being equipped with unusual "push button shifting." I can see the buttons in my mind's eye. Am I imagining this?

    • glenbrook profile image
      Author

      glenbrook 7 years ago

      @Mickie Gee: Yes. I think 1946 was the last year of the push button transmission.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 7 years ago

      Was this the car that had the push buttons for the drive, reverse, etc...?