The Truth About Cars » Chrysler A Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:00:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Chrysler A Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1963 Dodge Dart http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1963-dodge-dart/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1963-dodge-dart/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=796762 04 - 1963 Dodge Dart Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFor the entire time I’ve been on this planet, Chrysler A-bodies have been a constant presence in American wrecking yards, and they’re still quite easy to find today, 33 years after the last Valiant Charger rolled off the assembly line in Australia. I don’t photograph every Dart and Valiant that I see in junkyards, but this series has included this ’61 Valiant, this ’64 Valiant wagon, this ’67 Valiant, this ’66 Dart, this ’68 Valiant Signet, this ’73 Valiant, this ’75 Duster, and this ’75 Dart, and today we’ll admire a non-rusty California Dart two-door that I saw back in December.
07 - 1963 Dodge Dart Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe last official year of CONELRAD was 1963, and here we can see the official CONELRAD frequencies of 640 and 1240 kHz marked on this Dart’s fancy factory radio. How much was the optional AM radio in your new ’63 Dart? $169, which comes to $1,296 in inflation-adjusted dollars. Not only that, but you’d be hearing pretty much nothing but terrible hit singles and ugly news stories on that shockingly expensive staticblaster, back in ’63. Think about that the next time you’re enjoying your $300 Bluetooth-enabled aftermarket car stereo.
02 - 1963 Dodge Dart Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car has the look of one that sat exposed to the elements for a decade or two. The biohazardous trunk contents include some icky-looking time-capsule stuff.
19 - 1963 Dodge Dart Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe car was running as recently as 1987, when a student commuted in it to the stoniest junior college in California.
14 - 1963 Dodge Dart Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf the car had a hood (or at least an air cleaner) during its long-term abandonment, the engine innards might have stayed dry enough to remain unseized. Not that anyone is going to bother with rescuing a tired 170.
05 - 1963 Dodge Dart Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBeing a two-door gave this car a slight chance of being saved by an auction buyer and restored, but the late-60s Darts tend to be more highly prized. Some of its parts should live on in other A-bodies, though.

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Junkyard Find: 1967 Plymouth Valiant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1967-plymouth-valiant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1967-plymouth-valiant/#comments Mon, 16 Dec 2013 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=680690 05 - 1967 Plymouth Valiant Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe march of the Chrysler A-bodies into The Crusher’s jaws continues in Colorado; in this series prior to today, we’ve seen this ’75 Duster, this ’75 Dart, this ’64 Valiant wagon, this ’68 Valiant Signet, this ’66 Dart, this ’73 Valiant, and this ’61 Valiant. Most of these cars’ contemporary competitors— Chevy Novas, Ford Falcons and Mavericks, AMC Gremlins— were crushed decades ago, but plenty of the old 318- and Slant 6-powered Chrysler commuters managed to hang on in everyday service for nearly half a century. This ’67 sedan still looks pretty solid, but these days only the Dart coupes are worth fixing up.
14 - 1967 Plymouth Valiant Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinChrysler made the Slant-6 engine from 1959 through 2000, if you count Mexican crate-motor production, and you could still buy US-built trucks with this engine in the late 1980s. With such a junkyard glut, not many Slant-6 engines will be saved once they get to this point.
09 - 1967 Plymouth Valiant Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlymouth Transaudio AM radio, with none of the CONELRAD frequency markers you’ll see in most car radios of this era.
10 - 1967 Plymouth Valiant Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe owner of this car must have been an AM radio audiophile, what with this aftermarket fader control. No doubt Bobby Goldsboro sounded a lot better this way.
12 - 1967 Plymouth Valiant Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHey, an aftermarket Libby Light!
07 - 1967 Plymouth Valiant Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDo you really need more interior than this?

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Dodge Dart http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1975-dodge-dart/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1975-dodge-dart/#comments Thu, 15 Aug 2013 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=499474 10 - 1975 Dodge Dart Sedan Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWill there ever be a time in which no Chrysler A-bodies show up in North America’s cheap self-serve wrecking yards? Sure, Darts and Valiants were as common 20 years ago as are dead Tauruses now, so the former torrent of old Chrysler compacts has become a trickle, but I still find at least a couple of them every time I visit The Crusher’s waiting room. In the last couple of years, this series has included this ’75 Duster, this ’64 Valiant wagon, this ’68 Valiant Signet, this ’66 Dart, this ’73 Valiant, and this ’61 Valiant, and today we’ll be admiring the car that was to 1983 what the ’94 Corolla is to 2013: a cheap, dependable sedan that nobody noticed.
07 - 1975 Dodge Dart Sedan Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one does have an unusual option that you almost never see on Slant Six Chrysler A-bodies: air conditioning!
13 - 1975 Dodge Dart Sedan Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMost Dodge shoppers who could afford air conditioning in 1975 went ahead and got a Coronet, or at least sprang for the 318 V8 in a Dart. Perhaps this was an ex-rental car, or a New Mexico purchase.
11 - 1975 Dodge Dart Sedan Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven in the dry Southwest, however, Detroit cars of this era managed to rust around the rear window and beneath the vinyl top.
02 - 1975 Dodge Dart Sedan Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese were just good simple cars, full of corner-cutting build-quality glitches and crappy components but easy to keep running. If I found myself transported back to 1975 and I needed to buy a cheap new car for daily-driving use, I’d probably get a Dart (though mine would be a coupe, and it would have a V8, manual transmission, and no fancy vinyl-top option). A close second choice would be the Civic.
05 - 1975 Dodge Dart Sedan Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven with a missing hood and headlight, plus 5 MPH crash bumpers, this car has a good face.

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Junkyard Find: 1961 Plymouth Valiant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/junkyard-find-1961-plymouth-valiant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/junkyard-find-1961-plymouth-valiant/#comments Fri, 19 Apr 2013 13:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=485296 A few months ago, we saw this Lebowski-grade ’75 Gran Torino in a Denver wrecking yard, and an early Chrysler A body could be seen in the background. Here’s that car!
This car is a bit rusty and it’s a not-so-desirable four-door, so it’s a good thing that some Valiant (or Dart) owner has rescued most of the interior. It would be a shame to have useful 52-year-old parts go to The Crusher.
It’s possible that this is a ’60, but (as far as I know) the differences between the ’60 and the ’61 are mostly in the grille, which is missing. The junkyard thinks this is a ’62.
Still enough Slant Sixes left in the world that you see them frequently in junkyards.
Chrysler needs to bring back the “toilet seat” trunklid!

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Plymouth Valiant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1973-plymouth-valiant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1973-plymouth-valiant/#comments Sun, 20 Jan 2013 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=474379 Chrysler A-bodies are much like VW Type 1 Beetles when it comes to junkyard populations— they’ve been showing up in self-serve junkyards in a steady stream for more than 30 years, and you can usually find one or two in the larger yards. Like old Beetles, I don’t photograph most of the ones I see (though we have seen this ’68 Valiant Signet sedan, this ’64 Valiant wagon, and this ’66 Dart sedan in this series so far). The make-your-neighbors-hate-you band stickers on the decklid of this one caught my eye during a recent trip to my favorite Denver-area yard, and so I broke out the camera.
This generation of Valiant/Dart sedan was once among the most common motor vehicles on American roads, which made it a natural choice for Dennis Weaver’s car in the 1971 film Duel. You still saw quite a few of them around, well into the 1990s, but at some point the beater-Valiant demographic switched over to beater Corollas.
You could get the ’73 Valiant sedan with a 318-cubic-inch V8, or even the 340, but almost every A-body sedan shopper went for the good old quadrillion-mile Slant Six engine. Come to think of it, there were no bad engine choices for this car.
Slant Six A-bodies with air conditioning were rare indeed, and someone had already grabbed the AC compressor by the time I found this car.
I don’t bother getting 5-digit odometer shots, especially when you can’t tell an 80,000-mile car from a 480,000-mile one.

In honor of the musical tastes of this car’s last owner, let’s hear one of my favorite Melvins songs.

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Junkyard Find: 1966 Dodge Dart http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1966-dodge-dart/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1966-dodge-dart/#comments Tue, 03 Jul 2012 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=451072 After seeing this 1968 Plymouth Valiant a couple of months back, I kept my eyes open for an example of the Valiant’s Dodge sibling languishing in one of Denver’s self-serve wrecking yards. Last week: pay dirt!
I think the Dart became a better-looking car for the 1967 model year, shedding most of the late-50s/early-60s styling influence still visible in the ’66, but the basic formula was the same: an affordable compact car that was more reliable than just about all of its competition.
Here’s the main reason that Darts and Valiants lasted so long. Even buyers that opted for the more powerful 273-cubic-inch V8 got an engine that was impressively hard to kill (I’m 99% certain that the great big “Poly 318″ engine wasn’t an option in the cramped engine compartments of ’66 A-Body Chryslers, but you Mopar zealots out there are encouraged to fill in the obsessive details of that story).
So, another old Dart gets used up and crushed. Plenty of them are still around, but most are two-doors with V8s these days.

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Junkyard Find: 1964 Plymouth Valiant 200 Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1964-plymouth-valiant-200-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1964-plymouth-valiant-200-station-wagon/#comments Sun, 05 Feb 2012 21:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=429601 I just spent two days in California (returning to find my Civic completely buried by the Denver snowstorm I thought I’d dodged), visiting family and 24 Hours of LeMons co-conspirators. Time was short, but there’s always time to visit the junkyard! Colorado junkyards are good for finding long-forgotten four-wheel-drive cars, but you can’t beat the San Francisco Bay Area for doomed classic Detroit iron.
Yes, this wagon has the Chrysler pushbutton automatic shifter.
It also has California-style rust. That’s the kind of rust that results from bad weatherstripping allowing rainwater to get into the car, where it sits all winter… for years. Yes, that’s moss growing in the hole; I suspect this car spent a decade or two in a damp, shady back yard overgrown with weeds and wild blackberry bushes.
Then you get pine needles filling the rain gutters, which leads to this sort of rust.
These cars were cheap, reliable (by 1960s standards), hauled a lot of kids and groceries for their size, and sold in huge quantities. Sadly, most of the Valiant (and Dart) wagons were crushed at least a decade before station wagons become hip among old-car freaks.

24 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 01 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 02 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 03 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 04 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 05 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 06 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 07 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 08 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 11 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 13 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 14 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 15 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 16 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 17 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 18 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 19 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 20 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 21 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 22 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden 23 - 1964 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'The Enver Hoxha of Image Consultants' Greden ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1975 Plymouth Duster http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1975-plymouth-duster/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1975-plymouth-duster/#comments Fri, 06 Jan 2012 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=424583 During the same trip to a Los Angeles (actually Santa Fe Springs) wrecking yard that produced photographs of this junked ’89 Buick Reatta, I spotted this used-up ’75 Duster. These things were once among the most commonplace vehicles on American roads, and it seemed that most of them were this shade of green.
With the Slant Six or optional 318 V8, the Malaise Era Duster was cheap, reliable (for its time), and slightly sporty transportation. With the 230-horse 360 engine in place, the 3,115-pound Duster would eat up the heavier, less powerful ’75 Chevy Nova with ease. In fact, the power/weight numbers on the ’75 V8 Duster are pretty similar to those of the ’12 Honda Accord… though that comparison falls apart if you look at things like fuel-economy figures, comfort, or interior quality.

Plymouth used the Duster name on several platforms, starting with this one. First there was the “sporty Valiant” 1970-76 Duster, then there was the Turismo-based Duster of 1985-87 (best remembered for the legendary “Cocaine Factory” ad, above), followed by the tape-stripe-inundated Sundance-based Duster of 1992-1994. It’s too bad that Plymouth is gone, because we’d all love to see an Alfa-based Duster.
This one has been picked over pretty well. Since the late Chrysler A-body cars have brake components that bolt onto the 1960s B-bodies, you rarely see a Malaise Dart or Valiant that hasn’t had at least some of its front brake components grabbed by a disc-brake-seeking Belvedere or Coronet owner.

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