|Parent company||Chrysler Corporation|
The Plymouth Valiant is an automobile manufactured by the Plymouth division of Chrysler Corporation in the United States from 1960 to 1976. It was created to give the company an entry in the compact car market which was emerging in the late 1950s, and was eventually built and marketed worldwide including Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Switzerland, Sweden, and other countries in South America and Western Europe.
- 1 1960–1962
- 2 1963–1966
- 3 1967–1973
- 4 1974–1976
- 5 Derivative models
- 6 International variants
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Los Angeles, California
St. Louis, Missouri
|Body style(s)||4-door sedan (1960–62)|
4-door 3-seat wagon (1960–61)
4-door 2-seat wagon (1960–62)
2-door coupe (1961–62)
|Engine(s)||170 cu in (2.8 L) LG Slant-6 I6|
225 cu in (3.7 L) RG Slant-6 I6
3-speed Torqueflite automatic
|Wheelbase||106.5 in (2,710 mm)|
|Length||183.7 in (4,670 mm)|
|Width||70.4 in (1,790 mm)|
|Height||53.3 in (1,350 mm)|
|Curb weight||2,750 lb (1,250 kg)|
In May, 1957, Chrysler president Lester Lum "Tex" Colbert set up a committee to develop a competitor for the increasingly popular small imports. Virgil Exner, Chrysler's chief stylist, designed a car that was smaller and lighter than a full-size car without sacrificing passenger and luggage space. The result was the Valiant which first appeared at the 44th International Motor Show in London on October 26, 1959. The Valiant was its own marque and advertised as the Valiant by Chrysler Corp with the tagline 'Nobody's kid brother, this one stands on its own four tires.' Starting in 1961, the Valiant was marketed in the US as a Plymouth model. The 1961-62 Dodge Lancer was essentially a rebadged Valiant with different trim and styling details.
The Valiant was less radical in configuration than General Motors' compact Chevrolet Corvair, which had an air-cooled rear-mounted engine, but was considered more daring than the also-new Ford Falcon. The Falcon was totally conventional, while the Valiant boasted a radical design that continued Exner's Forward Look styling with "sleek, crisp lines which flow forward in a dart or wedge shape." The flush-sided appearance was a carried-over feature from Chrysler's Ghia-built D'Elegance and Adventurer concept cars which also gave the Valiant additional inches of interior room. With its semi-fastback and lengthy hood line, many automotive publications of the time thought the Valiant's styling was European inspired. While the Valiant was all new, specific design elements tied it to other contemporary Chrysler products. Features such as the canted tailfins tipped with cat's-eye shaped tail lamps and the simulated spare tire pressing on the deck lid were thematically similar to those on the Imperial and the 300F. According to Exner, the stamped wheel design was used not only to establish identity with other Chryslers, but to "dress up the rear deck area without detracting from the look of directed forward motion."
The Valiant also featured an all-new 6-cylinder engine, the famous Slant-6, which had its inline cylinders canted 30° to one side. This allowed a lower hoodline, a shorter overall engine—the water pump was shifted laterally—and efficient, long-branch individual-runner intake and exhaust manifolds that benefited from Chrysler's pioneering work in tuned intakes. The cast-iron block Slant-6 gained a reputation for dependability as it was initially engineered as an aluminum block engine with a robust casing to make durable the less-dense but lightweight metal. Over 50,000 die-cast aluminum versions of the 225 cu in (3.7 L) engine were produced between late 1961 and early 1963.
In fact, the 1960 Valiant exemplified Chrysler Engineering's leadership in aluminum die casting. While the aluminum Slant-6 engine block wouldn't make it to production until 1961, the Kokomo, Indiana foundry produced a number of aluminum parts for the 1960 Valiant and was instrumental in reducing the total weight of the car. The 1960 model contained as much as 60 lb (27 kg) of aluminum in structural and decorative forms, with the majority of the material used in cast form as chassis parts. These parts included the oil pump, water pump, alternator housing, Hyper-Pak (see below) and standard production intake manifolds, Torqueflite A-904 automatic transmission and torque converter housing and extension, and numerous other small parts. These cast-aluminum parts were roughly 60% lighter than corresponding parts of cast iron. A cast aluminum part had the benefit of reduced section thickness where strength was not a vital consideration. Section thickness of cast-iron parts were often dictated by casting practice, which required at least 0.1875in to ensure good castings. Exterior decorative parts stamped from aluminum were lighter than similar chromium plated zinc castings. The entire grille and surrounding molding on the Valiant weighed only 3 lb (1.4 kg). If this same assembly had been made of die-cast zinc, as many grilles of the era were, it would have weighed an estimated 13 lb (5.9 kg). An estimated 102 lb (46 kg) - about 4% of a Valiant's total shipping weight - was saved with the 60 lb (27 kg) of aluminum parts.
The Valiant A-body platform utilized "unit-body" or "unibody" construction (not used by the Chrysler Corporation since the Airflow models of the 1930s) rather than "body-on-frame" construction. Instead of a bolted-in forestructure used in other unibody designs, the Valiant incorporated a welded-in front understructure and stressed front sheet metal. The fenders, quarter panels, floor and roof contributed to the high bending and over-all stiffness of the body shell. A unit wheelbase comparison showed the Valiant to be 95% stiffer in torsion and 50% stiffer in beam than a 1959 Plymouth with separate body-on-frame construction. Dynamic testing showed that high structural resonant frequencies were attained, indicating greater damping and, therefore, reduced body shake.
The front suspension consisted of unequal length control arms with torsion bars, while the rear suspension used a live axle supported by leaf springs. Chrysler used this design through the entire production life of the Valiant and other A-body models, with revisions to the suspension components themselves for the 1962, 1967, 1968, and 1973 models.
Plymouth product planning director Jack Charipar gave impetus for a stock car racing version of the Valiant, and while Chrysler engineers developed the Hyper-Pak for the track, the Hyper-Pak dealer tuning kit option was made available in limited quantities on December 1, 1959. Features included 153 lb·ft (207.4 N·m) of torque, a 10.5:1 compression ratio, dual exhaust pipes on a single muffler, a manual choke and a larger 15 gallon (56.76 litre) fuel tank. Dick Maxwell, a Chrysler engineer responsible for many of the Super Stock Mopars, recalls that "When NASCAR decided to run a compact road race in conjunction with the 1960 Daytona 500, all the factories got involved. We built a fleet of seven Hyper Pak Valiants with 148-hp 170-ci [Slant] sixes having a single four-barrel with ram manifold." The race Hyper-Paks also featured high-load valve springs and long-duration, high-lift camshafts.
NASCAR's new Compact Car category debuted at the Daytona International Speedway on January 31, 1960. The first of two races was a road course, which used a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) portion of the high-banked tri-oval together with an twisting infield road for a lap distance of 3.81 miles (6.13 km). The race length was 10 laps, 38.1 miles (61.3 km). Averaging a speed of 88.134 mph (141.838 km/h), Marvin Panch drove his Hyper-Pak into first place; all the Hyper-Paks swept the field taking the first seven places. The second race of the day used only the tri-oval track 20 laps on its full 2.5 mile (4.02 km) length totaling 50 miles (80.4672 km). A multi-car accident on the fourth lap took out the four Valiant leaders including one driven by Richard Petty. Panch was not among them because car trouble delayed his start and he was busy passing slower cars from the rear of the field when the leaders crashed. After a restart, Panch worked to first place and stayed there averaging a speed of 122.282 mph (196.794 km/h). The remaining Valiants placed 1-2-3 and Panch again went into the winner's circle. Maxwell again recalls that "It was a Plymouth runway. We finished first through seventh. Our cars were so fast, NASCAR never did that race again."
Design and mechanical revisions
The first-generation Valiants, though sold in three model years, existed in four distinct configurations: early 1960, late 1960, 1961, and 1962. The base-model V100 cars received relatively minimal ornamentation.
Early 1960 models, particularly the V200 highline cars, featured extensive brightwork and ornamentation. An 8" chrome spear atop each front fender, an inner reveal ring on the deck lid's spare tire stamping, a "V200" nameplate on the dashboard, and stainless steel windshield and backlight reveal mouldings were deleted from production — the latter replaced with less costly flexible mylar-faced plastic locking strips — in approximately January, 1960. Early and late V200s had a continuous stainless steel moulding following the tailfin crease as it swept down in front of the rear wheel, then continuing forward along the lower break line in both doors and the front fender. The radiator grille was brite-dipped stamped aluminum, and a central grille badge doubled as the hood release. Script "Valiant" callouts were placed in the centre of the deck lid's spare-tire stamping and on each front fender.
During the 1960 model year, there were also mechanical revisions to improve lubrication of the two rear connecting rods, voltage regulator function, cold starting and idling, acceleration, and to prevent breakage of the front and rear manifold mounting studs.
The four-door station wagon, assembled only at the Dodge Main plant in Hamtramck, was available in the V100 and V200 Valiant in both two-seat and three-seat models (the third seat in the three-seat model faced the rear). Both models were the lowest priced four-door station wagons in America. The two-seat model was $60 under both the four-door Lark and Rambler station wagons and the three-seater was $186 below the Rambler four-door. The Valiant station wagons had 72.3 cubic feet (22.037 cubic meters) of cargo space yet required two less feet of space than a full-size Plymouth. A locking luggage compartment on the two-seat models included the use of Captive-Aire tires. The compartmet, located in the cargo deck, doubled as a spare tire storage space for models equipped with standard tires in which case the lock was optional. Captive-Aire tires, which did not require a spare, were standard equipment on the three-seat models. An optional aluminum tail gate window screen was useful for the exclusion of insects when on vacation and camping trips.
For 1961, new 2-door models were released, but no changes were made to the 4-door sedan and wagon sheetmetal. The interior and exterior trim, particularly on the V200, were changed to provide model year identification, a mild form of planned obsolescence. The 1960 radiator grille stamping was carried over, but for 1961 it was painted with a pattern of black squares. The central grille ornament was still pulled from the bottom to release the hood, but it was now faced with an emblem having a white field with the blue-and-red stylized "V" Valiant logo, rather than 1960's red field with gold script "Valiant" callout. The side trim was changed; a 10" stainless spear was placed at the rear of each tailfin crease, a hockey stick-shaped trim was applied to the lower break line, and the front fender/door crease was capped with a long stainless spear. The tailfins were each topped with three transverse chrome strips, and a large horizontal emblem containing a round plastic "V200" callout was centred in the deck lid's spare-tire stamping. Matching round "V200" callouts were placed in round housings at the midpoint of the front fender spears. Inside the car, the instrument cluster was largely carried over, but 1960's black gauges with white callouts gave way to 1961's white gauges with black callouts.
Mechanical revisions for 1961 included new carburetors, the availability of positive crankcase ventilation (which was newly mandated on cars sold in California), the availability of dealer-installed air conditioning, the relocation of the alternator from the left to the right side of the engine, and extensive revisions throughout most of the Valiant's systems and components. Late in the 1961 model year, the larger 225 cu in (3.7 L) Slant-6 engine became available in the Valiant, its use having been expanded earlier in the year from the larger Dodges and Plymouths to the Valiant-sized Dodge Lancer.
The 1962 model year saw an extensive facelift. The radiator grille was flattened and made shorter. The hood release was moved to a knob at the top of the grille frame. The central grille emblem was deleted, except on the top-line Signet 200 2-door hardtop model, which received a black-painted grille with a round central emblem incorporating the red-and-blue stylized "V" Valiant emblem. The Signet 200 had pleated, leather-like bucket seats, custom tailored interior trim, deep-pile carpeting, special trunk lid emblem, different headlamp frames and special side moldings; it was America's lowest-priced hardtop with bucket seats.
Fender and hood stampings were similar to the 1960-'61 items, but neither identical nor interchangeable. At the rear, the cat's-eye tail lamps were deleted. A wraparound stainless trim was applied to the tailfins, below which were placed round tail lamps set into stamped aluminum bezels. These occupied the space formerly available for optional reversing lamps, which for 1962 flanked the license plate below the rear bumper. The spare-tire stamping was eliminated from the deck lid, which was now a smooth stamping with a small central ridge at its trailing edge. On V200 deck lids, a large round emblem surrounded an oblong block-letter "VALIANT" callout on a black field. Similar block-letter/black-field callouts were placed on each front fender. On the Signet, the deck lid was adorned with a smaller round emblem surrounding the red-and-blue stylised-V Valiant logo.
V200 side trim reverted to the 1960 concept, following the tailfin crease and lower body break crease. However, the 1962 trim was more massive and contained an oblong triple-window effect at the rear of the body break crease. On Signets, the front fenders had an open-centred double spear, connected at the front and back, within which was contained a secondary body paint colour.
The 1962 Valiant was given a completely new instrument cluster. Like that of the larger 1962 Plymouth models, the new Valiant cluster was highly regarded for its clean design and easy legibility. A large round speedometer was placed at the left of the cluster, with separate round gauges for fuel level, engine temperature, and charging system condition (amperes) in a row to the right of the speedometer. Automatic transmission pushbuttons were in a column at the left edge of the panel, and heater pushbuttons were in a column at the right edge. A new shallower-dish steering wheel was also introduced.
Mechanical revisions for 1962 were extensive. The electrical system was extensively upgraded, with a new starter, new alternator, more fuses, and printed circuit boards rather than individual wires for the instrument cluster. Carburetors were improved again, the manual transmission gearshift was moved from the floor to the steering column, there were new 45°-shear engine mounts replacing the previous vertical-shear items, exhaust systems were made of more corrosion-resistant materials, and axle ratios were altered for better fuel economy. Manual steering ratio was changed from 20:1 to 24:1, and both power and manual steering gearboxes were new, the latter now housed in aluminum rather than iron. Most of the front suspension components were redesigned, and it was claimed they needed lubrication only every 32,000 miles (51,000 km).
In October 1961, the Society of Illustrators presented Exner the 1962 styling award for outstanding design of the 1962 Signet 200. The citation lauded Exner's "creative sculpted design" and said the Valiant model was "an automobile of outstanding originality, restraint and spirited beauty."
Los Angeles, California
St. Louis, Missouri
|Body style(s)||2-door convertible|
4-door 2-seat wagon
|Engine(s)||170 cu in (2.8 L) LG Slant-6 I6|
225 cu in (3.7 L) RG Slant-6 I6
273 cu in (4.5 L) LA V8
|Wheelbase||2692 mm (106 in)|
The Valiant was totally reskinned for 1963 with a 1/2 in (13 mm) shorter wheelbase; it had a wide, flat hood and a flat square rear deck. The upper belt feature line ran from the rear body, in a gentle sweep, to the front fender tip. Here it was 'veed' back and down to the trailing edge of the front fender. The roofline was flatter and sharpened in profile. The grille was a variation of the inverted trapezoid shape that characterized contemporary Chryslers, with a fine mesh insert. Advances in body structure, many accessories and a new spring-staged choke were promotional highlights. The Valiant was offered as a 2-door coupe or hardtop, a 4-door sedan and a station wagon. The hardtop and the convertible, with manual- or optional power-operated top, were offered only in the high V200 and premium Signet trim levels. The optional 225 cu in (3.7 L) slant-6 engine was initially offered with the die-cast aluminium block introduced in late 1961, but early in the 1963 model year the aluminum block was discontinued; both the 170 and 225 engines were thenceforth available only with iron blocks. In December 1962, Plymouth's first-ever vinyl-covered roof became available as an option on the Signet. The 1963 Valiant was much better received by the public, and sales for the year rose to 225,056.
Building on a worldwide record sales success in 1963, the Valiant moved into 1964 with design changes giving better economy, reliability and performance. Changes in the 1964 Valiant included a restyled front end featuring a new grille with a horizontal bars. A "Valiant" medallion was placed at the center of the grille where the bars formed a flat buldge. Vertical taillamps replaced the previous horizontal items. The ring-style rear deck decoration was replaced with a Valiant script located at the right-hand corner. There were few styling changes in the 1965 Valiants, but the 1966 Valiants had a split grille with fine-patterned insert; new front fenders; new rear fenders on the sedans; new bevelled-edge rear reck lid; heavier rear bumper; and a new roofline with large backlight.
The new Chrysler-built A833 four-speed manual transmission was offered together with a Hurst shifter. Another new option was the Sure-Grip limited slip differential, which was touted as a bad-weather safety feature and also offered traction benefits in performance driving.
The Valiant was extremely popular in the US, Canada, and numerous markets outside North America. Plymouth supported a successful team of Valiant two-door sedans in the 1965 and 1966 SCCA Manufacturers Rally Championships.
In mid-year 1964, Chrysler released an all-new 273 cu in (4.5 L) V8 engine as optional equipment in all Valiants. This compact V8 engine, the first in Chrysler's LA engine range that would last until 2002, was specifically engineered to fit in the compact A-body engine compartment. Valiants with the optional 273 engine came with V-shaped emblems at the sides of the cowl. With the 180 bhp (134.2 kW) 273, the Valiant became the lowest-priced V-8 automobile in the world. For 1965, a hotter 235 bhp (175.2 kW) version of the 273 called the Commando 273 was made available with 10.5:1 compression, a 4-barrel (0.64 m3) carburetor, solid tappets and other modifications.
The Dodge Lancer, which had been almost identical to the Valiants of 1961–62, was replaced in 1963 by the Dart. The Dart was available in all the same body styles as the Valiant, except there was no Dodge equivalent of the Barracuda. All Darts used a larger, 111 in (2,800 mm) wheelbase, except for wagons which used the Valiant's 106 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase.
Los Angeles, California
St. Louis, Missouri
|Body style(s)||4-door sedan (1967–73)|
2-door coupe (1967–69)
2-door hardtop (1971–73)
|Engine(s)||170 cu in (2.8 L) LG Slant-6 I6|
198 cu in (3.2 L) RG Slant-6 I6
225 cu in (3.7 L) RG Slant-6 I6
273 cu in (4.5 L) LA V8
318 cu in (5.2 L) LA V8
340 cu in (5.6 L) LA V8
|Wheelbase||2743 mm (108 in)|
Scamp: 110.0 in (2794 mm)
The Valiant was completely redesigned for 1967 model year and the station wagons were dropped. The model range included 2-door coupe and 4-door sedans on a newly-lengthened 108 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase. The design was straightforward and rectilinear. The body sides were mildly sculptured with a tapering lower feature line that widened toward the wheels. The new fenders had a vertical slab look. The grille was vertically split and subdivided horizontally. Vertical taillights were segmented and had a fanned-out look. Horsepower rating for the 170 cu in (2.8 L) Slant-6 engine was raised from 101 bhp (75.3 kW) to 115 bhp (85.8 kW) by installation of the slightly bigger camshaft introduced on the 225 in 1965, together with Carter BBS and Holley 1920 carburetors using the larger 1.6875 in (42.86 mm) throttle bore previously reserved for the 225, rather than the smaller 1.5625 in (39.69 mm) carburetors formerly used on the 170 engine.
For the 1968 model, the horizontal division bar was removed from the grille. A fine cross hatched insert was framed by a segmented chrome surround. Model nameplates were moved from the rear fender to the front fender. The 318 cu in (5.2 L), 230 bhp (171.5 kW) V8 was a Valiant option for the first time.
For 1969, a new one-piece, full-width grille, new tailights and trim were featured. Standard engines were unchanged, although refinements in the Chrysler Clean Air System (formerly Clean Air Package) produced better operating economy from the 6-cylinder engines. Improved brake adjusters, a more efficient power steering pump, and improvements to the optional Sure-Grip differential were also highlighted.
For 1970, the Valiant was carried over with detail changes, including a new black plastic grille sculptured differently from 1969's metal item. The central portion protruded flush with the forward edge of the hood, while the remainder of the grille was set back from the front plane. For all except export Valiants, the base 170 engine was replaced by a new 198 cu in (3.2 L) version of the Slant-6. The 198 gave better performance than the 170, and was less costly to make, since it used the same cylinder block as the 225. The Valiant was virtually unchanged for 1971; small revisions included removal of the center grille emblem and a new kind of finish treatment on the grille surround. It now had a blacked-out look instead of the previous argent silver treatment. For the 1970 and 1971 models, exterior and interior trim were slightly revised, and there were engineering changes for better driveability, improved soundproofing and decreased emissions, the latter in compliance with regulations mandated by the newly-created Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implementing new devices such as an EGR valve and an activated charcoal filter. The 1971 Valiant eventually set sales records with 256,930 calendar year deliveries, so there was little motivation to change it for 1972. Only details of the taillights and grille were altered for the 1972 Valiants. New surface-mount sidemarker lamp-reflector units replaced the more costly previous flush-mount items.
Beginning in 1971, a badge-engineered version of the 111 in (2,800 mm) wheelbase Dodge Dart Swinger called the Valiant Scamp was offered. This used the Dart Swinger 2-door hardtop body shell with Valiant front sheetmetal and dual taillamps carried over from the 1970 Dodge Dart.
For 1973, the vent wing windows were deleted from the Scamp, and all models were given a new grille and front bumpers able to withstand damage at a 5 mph (8.0 km/h) impact, as well as steel beams inside the doors to protect vehicle occupants in side-impact collisions as mandated by NHTSA. The door beams, the new bumpers and their impact-absorbing mounts, a rubber-booted telescoping system attached to the car's structure, added mass to the Valiant. At the same time, engines were being progressively detuned to comply with increasingly-stringent emissions regulations. Performance and economy suffered as a result.
Through the early 1970s, the Valiant took more than 40% of Plymouth's total sales volume. These models also had considerable success in foreign markets. Worldwide, Chrysler affiliates and subsidiaries sold American- or Canadian-made Valiants from complete knock down kits, as well as locally-designed and engineered Valiants and Valiant-based vehicles incorporating a mix of North American and local design and components.
St. Louis, Missouri
|Body style(s)||2-door hardtop|
|Engine(s)||198 cu in (3.2 L) RG Slant-6 I6|
225 cu in (3.7 L) RG Slant-6 I6
318 cu in (5.2 L) LA V8
340 cu in (5.6 L) LA V8
360 cu in (5.9 L) LA V8
|Wheelbase||2819 mm (111 in)|
In 1974, the 108" wheelbase variant of the A-body sedan was dropped, and the Valiant sedan became a rebadged Dart. The larger size resulted in thicker C-pillars and new rear fender contours. Thenceforth, the only differences between the Valiant and Dart were minor cosmetics. The 1973 Valiant grille and front sheetmetal were retained for 1974, but the front bumper's rubber guards were chromed. The US Federal 5 mph (8.0 km/h) bumper standards were applied to rear bumpers for the 1974 models, adding even more weight to the Valiant.
1974 introduced the Valiant Brougham and its twin, the Dodge Dart Special Edition. Available in two- or four-door models, they were a compact luxury car meant as an attractive alternative to larger luxury cars following the 1973 oil crisis. The Brougham had generous chrome trim, a vinyl top, deep cut-pile carpeting, velour cloth upholstery, interior door padding, color-keyed or simulated wire wheel covers, and a special selection of paint and trim combinations. Much of the optional equipment on a regular Valiant became standard equipment on Brougham models such as power steering, power disc brakes, air conditioning, cruise control, electric rear window defroster and an AM/FM radio.
With a slightly restyled grille, 1975 models were essentially carry-overs from 1974 except that California and certain high-altitude models received catalytic converters and required unleaded gasoline. The 1975 Valiants had several new items available to buyers with increasing interest in fuel economy. These included radial tires and a "Fuel Pacer" system that lit a warning light to tell the driver he was driving uneconomically, as well as Chrysler's A833OD 4-speed manual transmission, the first 4-speed Chrysler had offered with a 6-cylinder engine in the North American market since 1965. There were new 50,000-mile (80,000 km) spark plugs and batteries and a 'Clincher' warranty that covered everything on the car except trim for 12 months with no milage restrictions.
1976 models were virtually identical to 1975s; amber rather than clear front park/turn signal lights were used, and the parking brake pull-handle was changed to a foot pedal. More variants received catalytic converters and required unleaded fuel.
A38 police package
In 1976, the Valiant was available as a Code A38 police package car and offered in three basic engine sizes: E24 (California emission standards) and E25 (Federal) 225 ci 1 bbl (0.16 m3) Slant-6; E44 318 ci, 2 bbl (0.32 m3) V-8; E58 360 ci, 4 bbl (0.64 m3) V-8 with single (California) or dual (Federal) exhaust. It was the E58 that Chrysler recommended for police service as it was the only one with "added endurance features to improve durability." The E58 produced 175 net hp in California trim and 220 net hp in Federal form. The E58 dual exhaust engine made for a very fast Valiant squad car. So equipped, this compact Chrysler cop car tripped the quarter-mile lights in 16.4 seconds with trap speeds of 84.6 mph (136.2 km/h) and could catch nearly all the so-called "performance cars" of the day. The Seattle Police Department using the Valiant A38 reported a 46 percent drop in the preventable accident rate among police officers, and according to a Motor Trend police survey, the A38 Valiant had much better evasive capabilities, better overall visibility, and was generally easier to drive than the full-size squad cars. A special handling package applied to the A38 Valiant included front and rear antisway bars. Unfortunately, the Valiant wasn't physically durable enough; it lacked additional frame welds and rear cross-member reinforcements standard on all other Mopar A38 packages. More importantly, the front K-frame of the Valiant was prone to failure under severe police use.
Also in 1976, the Plymouth Volaré and Dodge Aspen F-body cars were introduced mid-year replacing the Valiant and Dart, respectively. Unfortunately, the F-body cars did not maintain their predecessors' reputation for quality and durability; in fact, they reversed it. The change hurt Chrysler's reputation and profitability, contributing to its near-bankruptcy in 1979-80.
Automotive trends in the early middle 1960s had all the US automakers looking at making compact sporty cars. The Valiant was a natural choice of basis for Chrysler's efforts in this direction. Ford's Mustang gave this type of vehicle its common "pony car" moniker, but in fact Chrysler beat Ford to market by two weeks with the April 1, 1964 release of the Barracuda fastback. The Barracuda used the Valiant's 106 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase and the Valiant hood, headlamp bezels, windshield, vent windows, quarter panels and bumpers; all other sheetmetal and glass was new. This hybrid design approach significantly reduced the development and tooling cost and time for the new model. Unfortunately, the Barracuda was as similar to the Valiant as the Mustang was different from the Falcon, and its introduction was, at first, barely noticed by most buyers.
The fastback body shape was achieved primarily with an enormous rear window, or backlight, which wrapped down to the fenderline. Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) collaborated with Chrysler designers in producing this 14.4 sq ft (1.34 m2) rear window, the largest ever installed on a standard production car up to that time. The following year, the fenders and taillamps that had been introduced on the 1964 Barracuda were used on the whole 1965 Valiant range except for the wagon, which got different taillamps.
The second-generation Barracuda, though still a 108 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase A-body sharing many components with the Valiant, was given Barracuda-specific styling and its own range of models including convertibles and fastback and notchback hardtops.
Although the first and second generation Barracudas were heavily based on the contemporary Valiants, Plymouth wanted them perceived as a distinct models. Consequently, the "Valiant" chrome script that appeared on the 1964 model's trunk lid was deleted on the 1965 model in the US market. For 1966, the stylized red-and-blue Valiant "V" emblems were replaced on the Barracuda with a model-specific stylized fish logo. For 1967, the new 4-bbl 383 ci V-8 with 280 hp (210 kW) was optional only in the Formula S which boosted the Barracuda's performance with 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds and the quarter mile covered in 15.9 seconds. In other markets such as Canada and South Africa, where Valiant was a marque in its own right, the car remained known as Valiant Barracuda until the A-body Barracuda was discontinued after 1969.
For 1970, the Barracuda lost all commonality with the Valiant as an all-new E-body Barracuda was produced.
Plymouth introduced a sporty new model for 1970: the 2-door fastback Plymouth Valiant Duster. The same technique that spawned the 1964 Barracuda was employed for the Duster. It was designed to use the same front end sheetmetal, running gear, and 108-inch (2,700 mm) wheelbase as the Valiant, but Plymouth's stylists gave the car an entirely new look by using a modified fastback configuration with radically-curved side glass having only half the curvature radius of conventional side glass. Though the 340 cu in (5.6 L) V8 engine with 10.5:1 compression, 275 bhp (205.1 kW) and 340 lb·ft (461 N·m) of torque had been available for special order in Valiants and Barracudas since 1968, the 340 was offered as a regular production option in the Duster 340, Plymouth's analogue to the Dodge Demon 340 and the Dodge Dart Swinger 340. The Duster was an immediate hit as a sporty alternative to the now larger and more expensive Barracuda.
An aggressive "shark tooth" grille was offered on the fastback Duster 340 and new-for-1971 Duster Twister models. The Twister was a "performance appearance package" produced in response to increasing premiums on muscle cars, many of which were calculated using the vehicle's power-to-weight ratio as an actuarial gauge. Despite the "dust whirl" side stripes and Twister decals, Rallye road wheels, dual racing mirrors, twin hood scoops, flat-black hood paint with strobe stripes, and plaid cloth-and-vinyl trim interior available in four colors, the biggest engine available was the 318 cu in (5.2 L) V8.
Chrysler increased the displacement of its highest-performance small block V-8 engine from 340 cu in (5.6 L) to 360 cu in (5.9 L) for 1974. The 360 was rated at 245 hp (183 kW) and placed in the Duster 360. However, the 1974 Duster was nearly 150 pounds heavier than the 1971 model on account of the heavier bumpers, side-impact door beams, emission control equipment, and added soundproofing. Even with performance options such as the four-speed manual transmission, Hurst shifter and Sure-Grip differential with 3.55:1 axle ratio, 0-60 mph and quarter-mile times increased roughly two seconds compared to those for the 1970 Duster. Unfortunately, higher fuel prices and performance-car insurance surcharges deterred many buyers as the interest in high performance waned.
Chrysler Canada marketed the Valiant at Dodge and Plymouth dealers under a standalone "Valiant" marque. The Canadian 1960–62 Valiant was visually similar to its American counterpart except the badge on the trunk lid read "by Chrysler" instead of "Plymouth". Besides minor differences in interior and exterior trim, the alternator was an extra-cost option in Canada through 1962 while it was standard equipment in America. An anti-ice system for the carburetor's throttle body, engine block heater, battery warmer, electric car interior heater and other cold-climate items were available as factory and/or dealer-installed options. Air conditioning, which was first offered in the US 1961 models, was not made available North of the border until 1966. Some Canadian-made Auto-Lite (now Prestolite) electrical components were used in lieu of the American-production Chrysler-built components. The Windsor, Ontario plant was a source for left- and right-hand-drive export Valiants as knock down kits.
For 1963 and 1964, in the Plodge tradition, the Canadian Valiant used the US Dodge Dart body and 111 in (2,800 mm) wheelbase with US Valiant front sheetmetal.
For 1965, Chrysler Canada sold both the 106 in (2,700 mm) wheelbase and the 111 in (2,800 mm) wheelbase A-body vehicles, all badged as Valiants, and all with the U.S. Dart dashboard and instrument cluster. For 1966, the shorter Valiant was dropped from the Canadian market, and all Valiants were rebadged US Darts.
The Canadian Barracuda, badged as the Valiant Barracuda, was built in Canada in 1964 and 1965 but was imported for 1966. Like the Valiant, the Barracuda had no Plymouth markings.
With the coming of the US-Canada Auto Pact of 1965, Chrysler could ship cars and parts both ways over the border and in 1967 the company began importing Plymouth Valiants and Dodge Darts from Detroit, as well as exporting Darts and Valiants from Windsor to the US.
From 1963 on, Chrysler Australia assembled Valiants at the Tonsley Park plant in Adelaide, Australia. These Valiants were built on the American A-body platform with many parts and components from local suppliers. With the Detroit headquarters half a world away, the Australian Valiants began differing from their US counterparts; the 1967 Valiant VE series four-door sedan had a different bodyshell, more similar to the U.S. Dodge Dart. The Valiant VE was embraced by the Australian motoring press with Wheels magazine naming it Car of the Year for 1967. The VF series of 1969 and the VG of 1970, the latter of which featured the introduction of the Hemi-6 and the discontinuation of the Slant-6, departed even further from its American cousins in both styling and performance. Unlike the U.S., Australia continued to produce a station wagon model called the Safari. From 1965 on, a pick-up version was produced called the Wayfarer utility or "ute", which was later sold in South Africa as the Rustler. Beginning in 1971 with the VH model, Chrysler Australia developed their entire lineup locally and introduced their own version of the Charger on the A-body platform under the Valiant marque. The CM model, released in 1979, was to be the final model as production ended in 1981 when the Tonsley Park plant was sold to Mitsubishi Motors Australia.
- 'Mighty Mopars 1960-74" by Tony Young p. 16 ISBN 978-0879381240
- The Strange Development Story of the Plymouth Valiant
- '"British to See Valiant First" by Ralph R. Watts, The Detroit News, October 21, 1959, p. 15'
- '"The Valiant - A New Motoring Concept" by A.G. Loofbourrow, V.M. Exner & R.M. Sinclair, Chrysler Corp., Engineering Division, for presentation of the Society of Automotive Engineers Annual Meeting at The Sheraton-Cadillac Hotel, and Statler Hotel, Detroit, Michigan, January 11-15, 1960'
- Aluminum Saves Weight in the Valiant (Product Information Bulletin, Chrysler Corp., Engineering Division, Technical Information Sevices, November, 1959)
- Weertman, Willem (2008). Chrysler Engines 1922-1998. Warrendale, PA: SAE International, 419. ISBN 9780768016420
- '"Up Goes Valiant-Junior HP Race On?" by Fred Olmsted, The Detroit Free Press, January 21, 1960, p. 18'
- '"Valiants Survive a 4-Car Smashup, Win at Daytona," The Detroit Free Press, February 1, 1960, p. 26'
- Young, Tony (1984). Mighty Mopars 1960-1974. Motorbooks International. pp. 25. ISBN 978-0879381240.
- Chrysler Corporation: 'Valiant Master Parts Catalogue, 1960-1963'
- Chrysler Corporation: '1960 Valiant Technical Service Bulletins'
- "Valiant Wagon Lowest Priced" by Ralph R. Watts, The Detroit News, November 6, 1959, p. 17
- Chrysler Corporation: '1961 Valiant Technical Service Bulletins'
- Chrysler Corporation: '1962 (S-series) Valiant'
- '"Valiant Gets Styling Award" by Fred Olmsted, The Detroit Free Press, October 18, 1961, P.16'
- Best of the carryovers: Plymouth for 1964
- Year by year history of the Plymouth Valiant
- '"The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile Vol. 2 M-Z," multiple editors, p.1240, ISBN 1-57958-293-1'
- ['The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975, 4th Edition' Edited by Ron Kowalke P. 681 ISBN 0-87341-521-3]
- Flory, J. Kelly (2004). American Cars, 1960-1972: Every Model, Year by Year. McFarland & Company. pp. 924. ISBN 978-0786412730.
- Sanow, Edwin J.; John L. Bellah (1994). Dodge, Plymouth & Chrysler Police Cars 1956-1978. Motorbooks International. pp. 150. ISBN 978-0879389581.
- Young, p. 33
- Plymouth Barracuda @ Allpar
- Flory, p. 319
- Young, p. 41
- Flory, p. 771
- Young, p. 159
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