Plymouth Valiant

From Academic Kids

The Plymouth Valiant was 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. The vehicle was sold in Australia (and other export markets such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand) as the Chrysler Valiant.



The Valiant appeared in 1960 as its own marque and was advertised as the Valiant by Chrysler Corp. For 1961, it was assigned to Plymouth, while Dodge's 1961 version was called the Lancer. The 1960–1962 Valiant and Lancer rode on a 106.5 in (2705 mm) wheelbase.

The Valiant was not nearly as radical as the competition from GM, the Chevrolet Corvair, which was rear-engined and air-cooled. It was considered more daring than the also-new Ford Falcon, however. The Falcon was totally conventional, while the Valiant boasted fairly radical styling and a new engine configuration, the famous Chrysler Slant 6 engine, which had its cylinders inline but canted sharply to one side.

Chrysler used the name Valiant in Canada from 1960 to 1966 as a stand alone product. The 1960 to 1962 Canadian Valiants were all but identical to the U.S. originals, except the trink lid had by Chrysler instead of by Plymouth.


Missing image
A 1965 Plymouth Valiant V-100.

The Valiant was mildly refreshed for 1963, with a ½ in (12.7 mm) shorter 106 in (2692 mm) wheelbase. The Valiant was successful, and as was the usual Detroit practice, several different models were spun off it. Dodge's Lancer was renamed the Dart with this redesign, and it rode on a longer 111 in (2819 mm) wheelbase. The Plymouth Barracuda, considered by some to be the first pony car, was built off the Valiant platform in 1964. This generation featured a station wagon version, but this bodystyle was not continued in 1967. Also manufactured for the 1963 through 1966 model years was a five passenger convertible.

For 1963 the Canadian Valiant used the Dodge Dart body with a Valiant front clip. This continued for 1964. For 1965 Chrysler Canada sold both the 106 in (2692 mm) wheelbase Valiant and the 111 in (2819 mm) wheelbase Dart as Valiants, with all using the Dart dashboard. For 1966 the Valiant was based on the Dart. With the coming of the US-Canada auto trade agreement in 1965, Chrysler could ship cars and parts both ways over the border and in 1967 began importing Plymouth Valiants and Dodge Darts from Detroit.

The Barracuda was built in Canada in 1964 and 1965 and imported for 1966. But it was sold as a Valiant, not Plymouth. The imported 1966 Barracuda did not have Plymouth nameplates on the trunk as the American market version did. The 1965 Barracuda also used the Dart dashboard.


The Valiant/Dart line reached its greatest heights after a total redesign in 1967, with the wheelbase now 108 in (2743 mm) for the Valiant. This generation acquired an excellent mechanical reputation and produced such hot-selling variants as the 1970-1976 Plymouth Valiant Duster/Dodge Dart Swinger, 1971-1976 Plymouth Scamp and 1971-1972 Dodge Demon. Dodge's ponycar. the 1970-1974 Dodge Challenger, shared its E body with the 1970-1974 Barracuda. There was a Dodge Demon for 1971 and 1972, and a Dodge Dart Sport from 1973 to 1976.

With these cars Chrysler took 40% of the total US compact market in the early 1970s. They also enjoyed considerable success in foreign markets, where they were often assembled by Chrysler affiliates or subsidiaries.

This version of the Valiant would also achieve worldwide movie fame in the 1971 road rage thriller Duel, directed by the then unknown Steven Spielberg.

It was also on this platform that the Australian Valiants began differing from their US counterparts, particularly with the VE series of 1968, the VF series of 1969 and the VG of 1970, where the four-door sedan had a different, though related, bodyshell, more like the Dodge Dart of the time.

The Valiant was Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for 1967.


The Australian Chrysler Valiant was revamped for 1971 to the VH series and included a short-wheelbase fastback model called the Charger, favoured for club sports due to its six-cylinder Hemi engine. Other model variants included a sedan, a station wagon, a pick-up ('Ute') and two long-wheelbase luxury models, a two-door hardtop coupé and a four-door. The latter was called, ridiculously, the ‘Chrysler by Chrysler’, while the coupé was officially known as the Chrysler Hardtop. The Australian models featured swoopier bodywork than their American counterparts.

Chrysler was not that consistent with its use of its own name. As with the United States in 1959, Valiant was considered a separate marque by Chrysler Australia, and the first 1970s Mitsubishi Galants sold in Australia were badged as Valiant Galants.

The VJ series, with some revisions, débuted in 1973. The VK was launched in 1975.

The CL took over in 1976, with a more formal grille. A panel van version (including a sports version called the Drifter) was added in this model series, and the long-wheelbase models were dropped. The Charger was cancelled after 1978. The late-1970s models were not known for good build quality.

The CM was released in 1980 and was cancelled in 1981.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia, which took over Chrysler's Australian operations, did not renew the Valiant, although there had been some development work in Detroit on project 'CM-41', a boxier replacement reminiscent of the Dodge St. Regis and Plymouth Gran Fury of 1979, that was to have been launched in 1980.

In fact, under-bonnet compliance plates for the Valiant began to have the Mitsubishi name on them with the Chrysler name being mentioned as used 'under licence'.


Missing image
A 1974 Plymouth Valiant swedish police car.

The Valiant was refreshed again in 1974, with the sedan getting the Dart's longer 111 in (2819 mm) wheelbase. In 1976, the somewhat larger Plymouth Volaré and Dodge Aspen were introduced. Unfortunately, these did not maintain their predecessors' reputation for quality; these replaced the Valiant (and Dart) which were discontinued for 1977. The change hurt Chrysler's reputation and profitability, contributing to its near-bankruptcy in 1979.


From 1982 through 1984, Plymouth also sold a version of the odd front wheel drive Dodge Rampage pickup truck as the Scamp.


Motor Vehicle Data Book, Sanford-Evans Communications, Ltd., Winnipeg, MB : Published annually, 1948 to date

Valiant sales literature, Chrysler Canada Limited, 1960 to 1966.

External links

Muscle Car Club Links:

  • Barracuda (
  • Challenger (
  • Dart (
  • Duster ( Valiant

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