Junkyard Find: 1976 Plymouth Volare Coupe
The A-Body Plymouth Valiant (and its Dodge sibling, the Dart), stayed in American production from the 1960 model year all the way through 1976. Legendary for its sturdiness, the Valiant was sure to be a tough act to follow. The Plymouth Volarés and Dodge Aspens appeared in 1976, never gained the affection given to their predecessors, and were facelifted and renamed the Gran Fury and Diplomat in 1981. Here’s a luxed-up first-year Volaré I spotted in a Northern California self-service yard.
There’s an emissions sticker indicating that this car had the 225-cubic-inch Slant-6 engine, rated at an even 100 horses in 1976, but some junkyard shopper purchased it by the time I got there. You could get a 180-horsepower 360 V8 in the 1976 Volaré, but not in California, where the 150 horsepower 318 was the most powerful Volaré engine.
This one is full of mid-1970s-style affordable luxury, including reasonably deep-pile shag carpeting on the door panels.
The layering of padded vinyl and gold stripes looks classy here.
Volaré buyers could get “ cashmere-like cloth-and-vinyl” seat upholstery in 1976, but this one has the all-vinyl buckets.
With the abundance of faux-wood decor inside, I think this car may be a high-end Volaré Premier Coupe. The Premier with Slant-6 started at $4,402, versus $3,324 for the regular Volaré coupe. Meanwhile, the final-year Valiant Duster coupe listed at $3,216.
It appears to have been a nice car until this happened.
Sergio Franchi was no Ricardo Montalban, but then the Volaré was no Cordoba.
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I wouldn't say all the 70's American cars were sleds and lacked power. My 73 Chevelle with a 350 would burn rubber and was a great car. The body style was not great being a 4 door but the body was fairly low and the engine had more than enough power. It did not have a catalytic converter and it was a company car--a Baroid drilling mud company car that was broken in on West Texas roads at 100 mph. I took it out West from Texas to California with my brother in 75 and we ran it at 100 most of time time when we were out in the desert. It ran better at 100 than at 55. My big mistake was getting a new 77 Monte Carlo although a much nicer car it did not run as good as that Chevelle. The Chevelle was also a more reliable and smoother running car than my 77 Monte. There were some good running cars in the 70's all the way thru 74 before the engines got more smog-ed up and smaller. You could still get a 454 in most Chevrolets until 1975.
My aunt and uncle had one of these Volares in a 4 door brougham which was the same color as this car with a similar padded roof. They had a Chrysler New Yorker which they used as a secondary car and they had a series of New Yorkers before this all being very good cars. I remember the Volare as being a big let down not nearly as nice as the previous Chrysler products with bubbles in the paint and just poorly finished. I always liked Valiants and Darts but the Volare and Aspen were just not as good a cars. Chrysler had some very poor quality cars in the late 70s.