Potential Gasser? 1961 Plymouth Valiant

By 1960, many of the U.S. auto brands were fielding a compact car, in response to rising consumer interest in imports. The Valiant was Chrysler Corporation’s first such entry whose styling was a bit unorthodox although its mechanicals was not. Plymouth sold nearly 200,000 copies the first year, and the nameplate would soldier on through the mid-1970s. This 1961 Valiant looks like it may have been on its way to becoming a racer due to its light weight. The next owner will need to source a drivetrain and interior, so it provides virtually a clean slate to work with. Located in Taylor, Missouri, this project is available here on Barn Finds Classifieds for $3,500.

The Valiant was on the drawing board as early as 1957 as Chrysler could see the handwriting on the wall. The VW Beetle was becoming established and both Studebaker and American Motors would enter the game by 1959. At first, they wanted to call it the Falcon but conceded the name to Ford for their 1960 compact entry. Unlike the Chevy Corvair, the Valiant was conventional Detroit – no rear-mounted, air-cooled engine. It would have a front-mounted, water-cooled six-cylinder (the Slant Six) and – in many cases – paired with the pushbutton TorqueFlite automatic. The Valiant would be followed by the Dodge Lancer in 1961 so both divisions would be selling essentially the same car.

For 1961, the Valiant would be largely unchanged and that’s the model year of the seller’s car. It may have left the assembly line as a basic 2-door sedan/coupe. Though the remnants may have been sitting outside for a time, the body of the car looks remarkably good. Though the exterior sheet metal is painted blue, the exposed interior pieces are red, suggesting a color change at some point in the car’s history. We’ll speculate that this Valiant may have once been a candidate for some sort of race car given that the engine, transmission, and practically everything under the hood have been removed. Except for the dashboard and steering wheel, the interior is also devoid of any components. Some of the floorboards have been cut out as well.

If you were to obtain this car, what would you do with it? To replicate its original condition would take a lot of work to find all the missing parts. And to make the Valiant into a race car will also require time and money. Perhaps since the body pieces are in such apparent good condition, this shell could serve as a donor for another Valiant or Lancer project as they are cars you don’t see much of these days. In its day, Road & Track called the Valiant “one of the best all-around domestic cars.” At some point, there was a likely Valiant or Dart in someone’s garage.

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Comments

  1. Bobdog

    Hellcrate transplant ???

    Like 1
    • John

      Hellcrate in a body style that looks like hell – I like the concept!

      Like 4
    • AMCFAN

      When I see a car sitting in the weeds (and a new one for me) staged with two wheels sitting in the wheel wells pictured at an angle so you cant see they are not bolted on. The other side gives away the sellers laziness with wheels laying around.

      Gutted interior. Gutted engine bay. Whoever pays $3500 for this has a gutted skull!

      Who with a brain would buy a state of the art Hellcat engine and install it in a rag like this? Please get off the computer and go outside for fresh air.

      Like 4
      • Gary Rhodes

        The body is in excellent condition and will make a great gasser.

        Like 1
      • Gary Rhodes

        Injected 426 Hemi, be a great gasser

        Like 1
  2. Steve Clinton

    It stopped in a field when the engine fell out.

    Like 6
  3. F. Paul Russell III

    One of the most awkward and overwrought automobile design exercises ever. Slanted taillights and a spare tire bump on the trunk lid. That being said, I have forever been fascinated with how the Mopar heads decided on such a hodgepodge of metal sculpture.

    Like 11
    • ChingaTrailer

      A beautiful car in a sea of mediocrity. Sculpted and styled whereas the Falcon, Lark and Nova showed neither imagination nor innovation.

      Like 16
      • F. Paul Russell III

        Eccentric and unique… yes. Would it make a bad-ass gasser. Yes! Beautiful? Nah

        Like 1
    • Gary Rhodes

      Love it or leave it design era, I like em, even ugly as they were.

      Like 1
  4. John

    Hellcrate in a body style that looks like hell – I like the concept!

    Like 2
    • Keith Bowers

      I’m thinkin old school 440 or 383 naturally aspirated. In this light body. 9 seconds all day long.

      Like 5
      • Gary Rhodes

        Injected 426 Hemi with a four speed and a Dana 60. It already has the floor cut out so you can see when you stand it on the rear bumper.

  5. John

    Potential gasser?
    The thought gives me gas!

    Like 2
  6. Svan7040@gmail.com

    Running before parked and engine fell out….

    Like 2
  7. Terry

    The grass floors are a nice touch.

    Like 7
    • Steve R

      Look closely at the pictures, it needs way more than floors. It’s basically a body sitting on a homemade frame. It’s probably been sitting, unfinished, in the corner of someones shop for decades. Many home built “racecar” projects come to a grinding halt at this point of the build process. From here on out it’s mostly detailed fabrication work, building interior panels, wiring, plumbing of fuel system and brake lines which is very time consuming and tedious.

      Good luck to whoever takes on this project.

      Steve R

      Like 3
  8. Allen L

    Who wore that front end design better?
    The Plymouth Valiant or the Studebaker Lark?

    Like 2
  9. Don Eladio

    Straight axle with leaf springs already installed…you guys have no idea what you’re even looking at.

    Like 9
  10. chrlsful

    during ‘the day’ we laughed at #3 (not the other orphans of the time, we bemoaned their passing). Mopowr dragged the past into the present & being young boomers – that was ‘pass ay’. When the style change came I gota few. Good mechanicals ! Soon tho even that did not compare (to the big 2).

    Not quite 10 yrs after this nother popular kid in our crowd got 1 of these (cars did not last as long, there were plenty of 50, 75 $ cars around – yrs wage = 7, 7.5K$). SHe painted a handsome Prince Valiant from the comics on her dash:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Valiant
    beautiful ‘girl’ (16, 17 y/o) fantastic rendition. Sought to ride in that rig anytime I could despite the peer castigation !
    Rather their wagons (had a ’64 & ’66 dart wagons – 300K mi on the 2nd w/the 1st’s motor – nother whole story).

    Like 2
    • karl

      ?????????????

      Like 6
  11. Charles Sawka

    Done right , it would leave em speechless at the cars n coffee

    Like 4
  12. Mark

    This one would be right up Steve Magnante’s alley…..

    Like 1
  13. Morley Member

    Another candidate for a Buick Nailhead, four speed beautifully ugly

    Like 4
  14. 433jeff

    Ugly for so long now , that its refreshingly different.

    Like 3
  15. Werner Prochnau

    I just love how they put a spin on the lack of a drivetrain. ”A clean slate to work with”. yeah, I’ll take the original dirty engine for 500 Alex.

    Like 1
  16. Ken Carney

    Built one almost like this as a young
    motorhead. Mine had a 392 hemi is fear
    backed by a 727 Torqflite tranny. I built
    the engine the same way they did in the
    Project 200 article in Rod & Custom
    Magazine back in ’71. When finished,
    my engine put out a whopping 750 HP
    and insane amount of torque. The one
    and only time I had it out on the streets,
    my BIL to be lit ’em up right in front of the courthouse! The cop who stopped
    us had a revolving ticket book and he
    threw the damned thing at me too. Now
    lessee, he got me for illegal tires, no hood, open headers, and a few other things I can’t recall right now. Dad talked to the judge who said he’d throw
    out the charges if I sold the car to some
    one who’d use it on the drag strip instead of the streets so I sold it to a
    friend of Dad’s who regularly raced it
    at the Assumption Drag way in Assumption, Illinois until his passing in
    the early ’80s. It changed hands a few
    more times over the years and as far as I know, it’s still being raced today. Wow!
    wouldn’t it be a kick in the head if it showed up for sale on BF?!!!

    Like 2
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Wish I could give 20 “thumb ups” to this post….

  17. GLG Member

    I dated a girl whose parents bought her one of these as a 4 or 5 year old car. I liked her and the car and thought her parents were pretty sharp to find such an outstanding car for their outstanding daughter.
    I would love to have one, make it a Gen 3 Hemi, 5 speed, with an Art Morrison chassis, Petty Blue with an aggressive wheel/tire package, without cutting it up, and it would be terrific fun!

    Like 3
  18. Fitz

    429/4speed….

  19. Gary Rhodes

    Injected 426 Hemi, be a great gasser

  20. DayDreamBeliever Member

    Silly me…
    Watching the hot Rod Power Tour on YouTube’s 1320video channel, and thinking how much fun this car could be if done up well.

    Then again, I do dig creature comforts in my advancing age. In the backgrounds of the photos I see a classic Bluebird Wanderlodge and a familiar paint scheme that I just can’t place… Barth, perhaps?

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