By on April 11, 2012

Gary Osbal’s grandfather purchased this brand new 1964 Valiant at a local Chrysler dealership. It was his last car. This is a barebones, radio delete, three on the tree 6 cylinder “stripper” car.

Grandpa was a practical man and this was a practical car, so he drove it until he was 80 years old.

That’s when Grandpa’s practical side kicked in. In 1974, after he hit a snow bank, he said, “that’s it, I’m not driving anymore” and he sold the car to his son. That son was Gary’s father.

Gary’s dad drove the now 22,000 mile Valiant for 9 reliable years until the body was done in 1983. After that the car went into hibernation for 26 years until Gary and his brother Nolan took the car to another level in a complete restoration.

The car did require new quarters and a fair amount of the grunt work that comes with any restoration. Gary admits that he doesn’t regret any of the time, money or effort when he drives the pristine Valiant.

One thing that didn’t have to be done was the engine. It hasn’t even had a head lifted in nearly 50 years. That’s the kind of reliability that Gary’s Grandfather was shopping for back in 64.

Gary didn’t have a wealth of experience in the Valiant as he explained, “ I was 17 when they bought it and I never really rode in it but my brothers did”. He did spend some time behind the wheel and admits, “he may have knocked back a beer or two in it” during his misspent youth.

Gary and his brother brought this Valiant to a class of show level, and even though it’s not a Hemi Cuda or Super Bird, this little Plymouth is much more than a mere commodity to the Osbal family. The family legacy is priceless.

Back in 1964, Gary’s grandfather bought the Valiant based on sheer pragmatism,whether he would agree with Gary’s investment is open for debate.

The end result is not.

For more of J Sutherland’s work go to mystarcollectorcar.com

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17 Comments on “Car Collector’s Corner: A 1964 Valiant With More Family History Than The Waltons...”


  • avatar
    Omnifan

    Out of curiousity, is this a Canadian Valiant? Looks to have a Dart rear end with a Valiant front end.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Love it.. Classic, simple and reliable.

  • avatar
    lubbock57

    If you look deep into the distance in the top photo, you can see what looks like a Canadian flag…..so it it’s likely a Cdn car.

  • avatar
    roger628

    Canadian for sure. Just one of many variances that ma Mopar marketed in the GWN. A tradition that carried into the 90s.
    Chrysler dealers in Canada carried either Dodge-Chrysler or Chrysler-Plymouth, so many of the Dodge-branded variants were not required up here, as opposed to the Dodge-only franchises in the US. This was also the reason that the US got Plymouth-branded Vans and SUVs (Trail Duster cum Ramcharger). We had no need of them because Dodge trucks were offered at any Mopar store.
    Valiants were treated as thier own line in Canada, and were sold at any Chrysler outlet.

  • avatar
    stevejac

    I had a ’63 valiant as my first car, a hand-me-down from my father. Same 3 on the tree, but it did have a radio.

    It was a great car except it was being consumed by rust.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      Rust was the one major vulnerability of the A-cars. I lived in coastal Florida and I watched as my ’75 Duster slowly crumbled away over six years.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      My dad had a ’63 Valiant from the late 60’s to the early 70’s. It was a white 4 door w/ 3 on the tree stick and it did have a radio. It was his commuter car and got a very good for the era 23 MPG. It lasted 175k with normal maintenance which for it’s time was really high mileage.

  • avatar
    yesthatsteve

    Thanks for the memories this post brings back. My grandmother bought a new ’62 Valiant a couple of years after my grandfather died. She drove it until she had a stroke in ’81. Then it went to my cousin, who was her live-in nurse, until a space opened in a nursing home. I don’t know what happened to it after that, but I do know that as a 15-year-old in 1982, I would have gladly taken it.

  • avatar
    carnick

    I owned almost the same car, a 1965 4-door sedan.

    I’ve owned 103 cars in my 38 years of driving. May the pagan car gods have mercy on my soul, but one of my favorite cars of all time was the Valiant. I owned it for the longest time of any car I’ve ever had, 8 years (second place was a 1992 Porsche 911 for 7 years, and I deeply regret ever selling either one of them).

    I bought the Valiant in 1990, literally from the ‘little old lady’ original owner who also literally only drove it to church on Sundays and to the market once a week. It had 18,000 miles on it at the time. It was glorious in its original pale blue color with matching medium blue interior. Also a stripper, though with an automatic (granny apparently didn’t drive a stick). I’ve owned almost every kind of (reasonably priced) “sports” car there is and currently drive a RX8, a S2000, and a G37, but I truly bonded with that Valiant.

    It was just such a pure, honest, straightforward car. The ultimate in simplicity and reliability. It was a second car, and in 8 years and 30,000 miles of use, the only thing I ever had to do (outside of oil and filter changes) was to rebuild the carburetor. Even that was a joy. It was the last carburetor equipped car I’ve had, and I rebuilt it in 45 minutes on my kitchen floor (just needed to have decades of gum and varnish cleaned out of it). Nothing else ever went wrong with it. Nothing.

    It was so simple and easy to work on I almost wanted things to do on it. The engine compartment was truly a sparse work of art, beautiful in its bare simplicity and elegance. You could literally stand in it to work on the engine. Everything was laid out and just right there. It was built like a tank, with guage steel that would not be out of place on the battleship New Jersey. The interior vinyl felt like it was a half inch thick. Of course it had no safety features (other than lap belts), but in any impact with a SUV, the Valiant felt like it probably emerge without a scratch (though the occupants wouldn’t survive hitting that elegant but unforgiving all-metal dash or being impaled by the solid steering column).

    It was the perfect car for its time and for the purpose of providing basic transportation. Which, for 1964, it did beautifully. It had everything it needed and not a thing more. The fresh air vents were truly a work of minimalist art: literally a square black metal box in each footwell, with a hinged metal door you would open with a latch, and a hurricane of fresh air would blast through the car. If that wasn’t enough, there were the vent windows. 8 humid Baltimore and Philadelphia summers and I never missed air conditioning. It was so over-built and under-stressed, if protected from rusting, it probably would literally run forever. What more could you ask of basic transportation?

    Driving it also made a ‘statement’, though I’m not sure what that statement was. To some of my co-workers, that statement screamed ‘cheapskate’. To others, it shouted ‘whacko’. But, they just didn’t understand. One of my co-workers, when I pulled up behind her at a traffic light one evening, commented that looking in her rearview mirror, seeing me in the blue steel beast (as she called it), my stubbled face alternately lit and plunged into darkness from the reflection of the bright orange turn signal lamp, her heart stopped and she became panic stricken, because she thought I looked like a mass murderer stalking his next victim.

    It is so different from today’s cars, which of course are loaded with safety, comfort, and convenience features, but usually lack soul, and also lack that feeling of tank-like solidity. Though it was far from my first car (it was around my 70th), it’s left a lasting impression on me of the simple feeling of comfort I get in an over-built car.

    I sold it in 1998, worried about safety because of its complete lack of any safety features (and things like a metal dash, solid steering column, etc., which didn’t make me feel comfortable having my wife in the car). I also rationalized that it’s ‘only a 4 door’ and not a true classic. But, I knew I was making a mistake when I felt the heartache seeing the new owner drive away.

    I still see it on the streets sometimes. The current owner uses it as an occasional fair-weather toy, more a curiosity, a relic of a bygone time. I’m tempted to leave him a note on the windshield and see if he would take twice what he paid for it to get it back.

  • avatar
    relton

    I had lots of Valiants back when I was young and poor.

    My first one was a 61, bought in 68. The seller wanted $100 for it. On trhe test drive, the gas pedal hinge broke off at the floor. The seller promptly lowered the price to $25. I fixed it with a hinge at the hardware store.

    Somehow, though, these cars never appealed to me as keeprs, like the Hudson and the Chrysler.

    Bob

  • avatar
    jimboy

    I was gifted the wrecked ’63 Valiant V 100 ( Canadian model) of my mom. My Dad and I purchased another wrecked Valiant and I spent my summer swapping parts to create a whole car. Essentially replaced the front bodywork, radiator, etc. on my mom’s car with the parts car pieces. It ended up light metallic blue (and rust) on the rear and light metallic green (and rust) on the front end. I drove that car all the way through college and finally parked it in my sister’s back yard when I bought the Challenger convertible (another story). She subsequently sold it to a guy who restored it back to its original condition with his son. I never saw it again, but she said he had done a beautiful job with it. I hope it has a good home.

  • avatar

    Jerry and I were both drawn to this car at an Alberta Canada car show. The problem was that we interviewed the people at different times and they were unaware that identical twins were at the show. I was the second guy so they looked at me like I was a complete nut-job when I interviewed them and asked virtually the same questions. I picked up on the uneasiness and explained that I was a twin.Later I rounded up Jerry to prove my sanity to them.These days we try not to repeat these kinds of incidents. Just for the record, Jerry wrote this story.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    A GF had one of these , same year, same body style , and with the three-speed stick . I drove it some , a couple times for maybe 150 miles trip , At this time , it was twelve years old but I remember that it felt much more solid than the newer Darts/ Valiants other friends were driving . At the time I was used to driving a four speed but remember being impressed with the positive feeling of the three-on-the-tree .It had been her father’s car and he still was keeping it well maintained .

  • avatar
    beefmalone

    Love seeing the plain-jane sedans getting some resto love


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