Junkyard Find: 1961 Plymouth Valiant

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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 Six es left in the world that you see them frequently in junkyards.

Chrysler needs to bring back the “toilet seat” trunklid!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Nickeled&dimed Nickeled&dimed on Apr 23, 2013

    What do you mean the grille is missing? It's just inside... that's not a valiant, it's a 96 Town & Country. Actually, a few blocks from my house lives a street parked Valiant in "original survivor" condition. White / blue interior. I walked by the house yesterday and it was gone! In its place sat a '50s buick under a car cover! Imagine my dismay! But, thankfully, as I drew closer I saw that the Valiant had merely been moved into the driveway and covered. Phewh!

  • OMG_Shoes OMG_Shoes on May 11, 2013

    It's a '60 for sure. Aluminum intake manifold gives a strong suggestion (it was cast iron starting in '61), though that could have been swapped with or without the engine. What could not easily have been swapped was the alternator bracket location: driver/manifold side in '60, moved to the passenger side starting in '61 -- a move that took a fairly substantial modification to the inner fender and other sheetmetal in the vicinity as well as the wiring. Another "it's a '60" clue is the full-width chrome trim at the dashboard crease. There are more, but a girl's gotta keep some secrets!

  • Varezhka The biggest underlying issue of Mitsubishi Motors was that for most of its history the commercial vehicles division was where all the profit was being made, subsidizing the passenger vehicle division losses. Just like Isuzu.And because it was a runt of a giant conglomerate who mainly operated B2G and B2B, it never got the attention it needed to really succeed. So when Daimler came in early 2000s and took away the money making Mitsubishi-Fuso commercial division, it was screwed.Right now it's living off of its legacy user base in SE Asia, while its new parent Nissan is sucking away at its remaining engineering expertise in EV and kei cars. I'd love to see the upcoming US market Delica, so crossing fingers they will last that long.
  • ToolGuy A deep-dive of the TTAC Podcast Archives gleans some valuable insight here.
  • Tassos I heard the same clueless, bigoted BULLSHEET about the Chinese brands, 40 years ago about the Japanese Brands, and more recently about the Koreans.If the Japanese and the Koreans have succeeded in the US market, at the expense of losers such as Fiat, Alfa, Peugeot, and the Domestics,there is ZERO DOUBT in my mind, that if the Chinese want to succeed here, THEY WILL. No matter what one or two bigots do about it.PS try to distinguish between the hard working CHINESE PEOPLE and their GOVERNMENT once in your miserable lives.
  • 28-Cars-Later I guess Santa showed up with bales of cash for Mitsu this past Christmas.
  • Lou_BC I was looking at an extended warranty for my truck. The F&I guy was trying to sell me on the idea by telling me how his wife's Cadillac had 2 infotainment failures costing $4,600 dollars each and how it was very common in all of their products. These idiots can't build a reliable vehicle and they want me to trust them with the vehicle "taking over" for me.