1971 Plymouth Valiant

Illustration for article titled 1971 Plymouth Valiant

A while back, I promised we'd see more Chrysler A-bodies... but it's been over a month since we saw our last one. Poor Darts and Valiants, the wallflowers of their era, slogging along tirelessly for decades with their super-indestructo slant sixes and 318s, yet constantly overlooked in favor of flashier iron. So today we're all going to admire one of Alameda's numerous surviving Valiants.

Illustration for article titled 1971 Plymouth Valiant
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The coolest thing about the '71 Valiant is that it's the car Spielberg used in The Greatest Valiant Movie of All Time. The only problem with the '71 was that Chrysler had axed the pushbutton shifter by that time.

Illustration for article titled 1971 Plymouth Valiant


Sure, the Valiant was a low-priced car, but it still had style.

Illustration for article titled 1971 Plymouth Valiant
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Generally, if you're willing to apply the Bondo, you're willing to sand it. Primer helps, too. Looks like this car's owner ran out of bodywork ambition early in the project.

Illustration for article titled 1971 Plymouth Valiant
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You still get a hint of fins in this design, just enough to remind us of the crazy machinery Chrysler was building in the late 50s. Check out the mid-80s CSM parking permits. Vintage!



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DISCUSSION

The perennial wallflower had another thing going for her - twenty, thirty, forty years later, she doesn't look any better, but she doesn't look any worse, either. What beauty they have is humble and durable. A lot of the flashier Chrysler products back in the day look pretty damned peculiar now, and some of the most noticeable girls of my misspent youth now look like overweight hookers. The plain girls found guys who actually LIKED them, instead of merely wanted them.

I never loved the Dart, but I never despised it, either. And now that I have a modern car that has failure modes that can only be diagnosed by - and repaired with! - a computer, the ol' Dart and its contemporaries look better and better, with its uncomplicated styling and absolutely rock-solid two-wrenches-get-it-running engineering.