By on April 19, 2013

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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33 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1961 Plymouth Valiant...”

  • avatar

    This is like a crime scene that’s been wiped clean. Not enough clues left for an accurate profile.

    I see these 60’s sedans in the yards here in Chicago in similar shape quite often. It’s really a shame. The 70’s cars are always pure rust and scum, but these cars were obviously loved for quite awhile and taken care of before being murdered.

    • 0 avatar

      Gday are you the person that posted the 1961 valiant if so could you please advise of the name of the wrecking yard or their contact details I am in AUSTRALIA and have one and need parts.
      With Thanks

    • 0 avatar

      This is a 1960 Valiant. Two clues: One, the middle of the “toilet seat” trunk lid has Valiant in script. In 1960 it was marketed as a separate marque, Valiant, not a Plymouth Valiant in the years which followed. Second, 1960 had less chrome trim, including no “sargent stripes” three chrome bars above the tail lights like on the 1961 Plymouth Valiant.

  • avatar

    I learned to drive in one of these. I think it had a push button transmission. It belonged to a friends brother and, unbeknownst to him, we would drive it through the neighborhoods. Neither one of us were of age – I think we were in the 9th grade. We thought we were so cool. Those were the good old days.

  • avatar

    Was the perforated cardboard/Masonite headliner still in there?

  • avatar

    It really has been picked, but I was surprised that so many of the chromed items remain (along w/ rear seats that are remarkably preserved). I’d have thought they’d have swap-meet value at the very least. Clearly, I’m wrong. Nice find, Murilee.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s not the original rear seat. The hard to find chrome is what’s missing. What’s left is easy to find or duplicate. Some Dodges of the era looked better without some of those chrome pieces.

  • avatar

    Agree with F-85.. I see a ton of useable stuff still here that is of value (or potential value). Then again, who the hell even cares about these? Back seat looks great!

  • avatar

    Those back seats look comfortable.

  • avatar

    Valiant’s twin was the Dodge Lancer. My first car was a ’61 Lancer. Push button trans, and 140(?) cid slant six. Bought it in ’66 for $295. Only problem was it not shifting into reverse. I took it a guy who had a small repair shop and he did an adjustment on the cable and never another problem with the car. I paid 50 cents for the cable adj. I did smash the front end and it was replaced with a ’61 Valiant front end and fenders. In the 60’s & 70’s I was the guy who loved the uncommon vehicles in central WI. The Lancer, ’71 Fiat 850, ’59 Beetle, Mazda PU, early Corona. HS gf and I had some romantic times in that Lancer!

  • avatar

    Lot of clean looking sheet metal and glass there. I wonder if the guys know about this one?

  • avatar

    When I last lived with my parents around the turn of the century there was a work crew in the home town that drove one of these (although I think it was a 62) as their “work truck.” It was rattle-can flat black, with a ladder rack on the roof and towing a trailer made from a mid/late 60s F100 truck bed. The car was beat on daily and yet for 2-3 summers I would routinely see it out and about on my work commutes, always loaded with tools and supplies.

  • avatar

    61 had a slightly different grille. 62 didn’t have the cat’s eye taillights. The fin was still there, just trimmed in chrome. The taillight was a round one below the fin.

    • 0 avatar

      I second Omnifan’s info on the taillights. Not a ’62.

      As for whether we could choose ’61 versus ’60 if the grille were still there, that’s a tough one. In the book that I have, which is just a general Chrysler products overview, they look so similar, that it would be hard to tell.

  • avatar

    Pretty sure that is a 1960. The Flight Deck (trunk lid) changed in 61 to a Plymouth script, I seem to recall.

    I do know my 1960 V200 had a 61 grill but still had the “Valiant” toilet lid script in place.

    Wonderful car. Handled better than anything in its era, though the brakes were a bit iffy.

    • 0 avatar

      The Brakes were a BIT iffy? My ’63 brown wagon had 9″ drums on those 13″ wheels, and I dreaded seeing a girl in a little VW bug pull in front of me. My ’63 Newport with 10″ drums was much worse, simply because of the weight, and the Newport was one of the few that had no power assist. With a push button, you couldn’t even use the OTHER way of stopping: throw it in reverse. I measured 60-0 stopping distances at 6 houses, or a half block.

  • avatar

    My Dad (RIP) was a junior level domo at Bell Telephone in Cleveland. He had one of these as a company car. It was pretty peppy as I remember it, this was before “muscle” cars really came on the scene.

  • avatar

    It may indeed be a ’60. Not widely know is that Chrysler contemplated making Valiant a separate make so that it could be sold by both Chrysler/Plymouth and DeSoto dealers. DeSoto’s demise made the idea redundant. 1960 Valiant’s do not say Plymouth on them. The Valiant/Lancer were very well made cars, far more substantial than the other contemporary compacts such as the Falcon. And needless to say the Slant Six’s were better engines as well. Had some interesting options too, like an aluminum block 225 and a 4 bbl. carburetor.

    • 0 avatar

      Valiant was actually launched as a separate division. You’re certainly right that the 1960 Valiant had no Plymouth badge – Valiant was a full-fledged division. It was later assigned to Plymouth in ’61 when Dodge’s Dart (not the later A body) contributed to Plymouth’s worst sales year in nearly a decade.

      In 1960, Chrysler had 6 automotive divisions: Valiant, Plymouth, Dodge, De Soto, Chrysler and Imperial, more than GM!

      • 0 avatar

        That’s true, for the 1960 model year only, Valiant was it’s own brand with two model lines – the V100 and V200. It was a dumb idea, and it was intelligently rolled into Plymouth for 1961. Chrysler didn’t do a good job of actually getting it recognized as a marque in all 50 states, so most states actually titled the ’60s as Plymouths anyway.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    To all of the Chrysler fans.

    Valiant was the main Chrysler product in Australia. They are affectionately called “Vals”.

    Valiant Australia made the quickest 6 cylinder muscle car in the world called the Valiant E49 Charger. It remained the quickest 6 until Porche came out with there turbo flat 6.

    They also made badged Dodge utes, which were Vals.

  • avatar

    I had a ’61 Valiant in the 1990s–4 door, same color inside and out as the one pictured here, push button transmission, 225 Six. *LOVED* this car. When you hit the button to put it in Drive, you’d hear a loud CLUNK and the whole car would shudder as if the transmission were about to fall out onto the ground under the car. I would HAPPILY drive another one of these given the chance. Easy to work on, economical, no stupid air bags, mandatory headrests or 5 mph bumpers.

  • avatar

    I remember two things about these cars:

    1)They were incredibly durable. They were a common site on the roads where I lived well into the 70’s.

    2)The styling which looked incredibly dated. To me these cars always looked 50 years old.

    BTW, a high school friend had 69 or 70 Valiant. The car had the crap beat out of, but that slant-6 just would not die. I remember when my buddy decided to junk the car. Before he called the junk man, we decided to kill that slant-6. We drained the oil and water, started it up, and placed a brick on the gas peddle. After about an hour, we gave up trying.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    I was 17 . A GF’s mom , a complete alcoholic , had one of these , but a 1961 Lancer hardtop, ten years old at the time .I remember going by her house and she’d be out on a date with another guy – I never was all that bright . Her mom would be there and have me drive her down to the liquor store in her Lancer , white with red interior , push-button trans . She’d be too drunk to leave the car , I’d stand outside the store and the owner would bring me a bottle , yelling greetings to the GF’s mother .Later on when the GF came home from her date , I’d try to cover up for her mother’s drinking . Good times .

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I always thought the styling on the 60-62 was dated even though Virgil Exner was a great designer. The toilet seat was for 60-1 only. The all-new 63 Valiant which my dad owned had nice clean crisp styling similar to other compacts of the era, Falcon, Comet,Lark Rambler etc.

    I see similar lines in the “new” Saab 9-3 Phoenix especially the 6-window design.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Look at that exhaust manifold. Barely any rust at all. When I got my 03 Crown Vic, the exhaust manifolds were so rotted they had holes in them and I could pull pieces off. If you love in Colorado and find yourself complaining about the wheather, you should probably stop, because new England is 1000x worse.0

  • avatar

    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!

  • avatar

    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!

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