Car Collector's Corner: A 1964 Valiant With More Family History Than The Waltons

J Sutherland
by J Sutherland

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.

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J Sutherland
J Sutherland

Online collector car writer/webmaster and enthusiast

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  • Bill mcgee Bill mcgee on Apr 11, 2012

    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 .

  • Beefmalone Beefmalone on Apr 16, 2012

    Love seeing the plain-jane sedans getting some resto love

  • FreedMike Well, here's my roster of car purchases since 1981: Three VWsTwo Mazdas (one being a Mercury Tracer, full disclosure)One AudiOne FordOne BuickOne HondaOne Volvo I think I hear Lee Greenwood in the background... In all seriousness, I'd have bought more American cars had they made more of the kinds of cars I like (smaller, performance-oriented).
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I'll gladly support the least "woke" and the most Japanese auto company out there.
  • Jmo2 I just got an email from the dealership where I bought my car and it looks like everything has $5k on the hood.
  • Lou_BC I suspect that since the global pandemic, dealerships have preferred to stay with the "if you want it, we will order it" business model. They just need some demo models on hand and some shiny bits to catch the impulse buyer. Profits are higher and risks lower this way.
  • Probert When I hear the word "patriot", I think of entitled hateful whining ignorant traitors to democracy. But hey , meant to say "Pass the salt."