Junkyard Find: 1960 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1960 plymouth valiant station wagon

By my calculations, we will stop seeing Chrysler A bodies in wrecking yards by about the year 2109; so far in this series we’ve seen this ’61 Valiant, this ’63 Dart, 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 I’m adding a first-year Valiant wagon that sat abandoned for about 40 years before being sent to a California self-serve yard.

How do I know it sat for that long? From the yellowed but otherwise intact stack of 1970 newspapers I found in the back. Here’s the first paragraph of the Herb Caen column from the February 25, 1970 San Francisco Chronicle. Those damn Traditional Hippies (Caen invented the term “hippie”), donating blood for the SFPD! My very first job was delivering the Chronicle on my Schwinn, about 8 years after this issue came out, so it was cool to find this paper.

The Slant-6 engine was fairly modern in 1960. I can’t tell a 170 from a 225 by glancing at it, but the 170 was more common in the early Valiants. Someday I will buy an NOS Slant-6 scale model.

The interior is pretty well cooked from those decades in the California sun.

The early Valiant wagon had some interesting body lines.

All right, back to the 2/25/70 newspaper! Here’s an ad for the 70 Plymouth Duster, complete with cartoon woman in psychedelic bell-bottoms.

An unusual time to announce the somewhat delayed second-gen Camaro. Stewart Chevrolet is still around, though not in San Francisco.

Conservative columnist Joseph Alsop had some concerns about Nixon’s plan to abolish the draft, citing Philip II of Macedonia.

News stories out of the Middle East haven’t changed much in 44 years, although big-nosed caricatures of Arabs in American editorial cartoons have been toned down a bit since then. Also, busing nowadays isn’t quite the issue it was in 1970.

You don’t see help-wanted ads separated by gender these days.

Remember Gordo and his cat, Poosy Gato? Only if you’re old.

How about a sharp ’65 Chrysler for $595?

Yes, old newspapers in junked cars are quite interesting, as we saw with this 1982 Denver Post I found in the trunk of a 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air. Just think of all the big news stories that happened while this Valiant sat, forgotten, in a back yard or driveway since the early 1970s. Soon it will return to the steel from which it came.

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2 of 26 comments
  • Pragmatist Pragmatist on Apr 25, 2014

    My first car was a '60 Valiant with 3 speed floor shift. Occasionally the sloppy linkage would disengage and you'd need to coast to a stop with the clutch in, shut off the engine and put the linkage back. Fortunately the linkage problem was above the floor.

  • CRAB7 CRAB7 on Apr 10, 2016

    Gday would you possibley have the junkyard details for enquiries. With Thanks. Bill

  • Tassos And all 3 were ordered by Fisker's mother. Seriously, given Fisker's terrible record of Failure in the past, only an utter loser, (for example, VGhost or Art Vandelay?), looking for a BEV terrible enough to be a proper replacement of his 11 mile range Fiat 500E, would order one of these. (apart from Fisker's mother)
  • Tassos And all 3 of them were ordered by Fisker's mother.Seriously, after Fisker's DISMAL record of UTTER FAILURE in the past, only a GOD DAMNED MORON would order this one.
  • RHD Any truth to the unconfirmed rumor that the new, larger model will be called the bZ6X? We could surmise that with a generous back seat it certainly should be!
  • Damon Thomas Adding to the POSITIVES... It's a pretty fun car to mod
  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.https://www.lhd.com.au/lhd-insights/australian-road-death-statistics/