If you’re an average Mopar enthusiast you may be wondering what the front of a Plymouth Valiant is doing on a 1963 Dodge Dart. Unlike urban legends about cars with front ends from one brand and rear ends from another of that automaker’s brands that was being built on the same assembly line, and unlike custom car mashups, this was factory built and sold by authorized dealers.
If you were born after the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show you can be excused for not knowing this, but Dodge Darts and Plymouth Valiants weren’t always badge engineered twins. In 1963 they were more like bigger and smaller brothers, with an odd Canadian cousin in the family.
The Canadian car market has always been dominated by US makes. But the “special relationship” has also resulted in some curious efforts to maintain a sense of unique identity, or respond to the distinctive characteristics of the market. We had our Plodges (mixed styling of the Dodge and Plymouth models), Beaumonts (sold at Pontiac dealerships with Chevrolet engines and Pontiac style trim), Meteors, Mercury trucks, Fargo trucks, etc. along with various European makes including Vauxhall. In addition to selling its models under the Vauxhall brand, GM’s British subsidiary also created the Envoy name just for Canada. The Vauxhalls where sold by Pontiac/Buick dealers, and so as not to be left out, the Chevrolet/Oldsmobile dealers recieved the Envoy badged versions, like this Epic. (Read More…)