Valiant Effort: 1962 Plymouth Valiant Signet 200

Speaking of Plymouths, here’s a 1962 Plymouth Valiant Signet 200. The Signet 200 was the top of the line for the Valiant in 1962 and if you like unusual body shapes (in cars, I mean), you probably like this one! This one is listed on Hemmings with a very reasonable asking price of $3,800 and it’s located in Waterford, California.

The 1962 Plymouths were a love-it-or-hate it design. Actually, a few years of Plymouths could be categorized as being one of those cars that some folks love and some folks wonder, “What the heck were they thinking?!” I’m an unbelievable, incurable fan of the 1962 Plymouth Fury, and especially the 1962 Dodge Dart, one of my favorite designs of all time by any car maker. The Valiant is more of an acquired taste. Believe it or not, Virgil Exner, the designer of this car and many others, received an award from the Society of Illustrators – the 1962 Styling Award – for the 1962 Plymouth Valiant Signet 200!

1962 is the year that the faux spare tire stamping on the trunk lid went away, that may have been the most polarizing design feature of this generation of the Valiant. In 1963 Plymouth totally redesigned the car and it’s when the “Barracuda” that we all know and love (or, most of us do?) started its run. This car, as you can tell, needs some work. There are dents and dings but there doesn’t appear to be any rust, unless it’s covered up. There is no mention of rust at all in the listing.

There are no interior photos that show the front seats at all so I’m assuming that they’re in rough shape. The backseat, however, look perfect, as does the driver’s door panel and the other interior detail photos that are provided. This car has the push-button automatic transmission, a unique and fun feature. The seller says that this car has a “new interior and carpet”, so maybe the front seats are as nice as the backseat is?

And, there’s that great slant-six that we’ve seen so many times before. The base 170 cubic-inch would have around 100 hp and the optional 225 slant-six has around 145 hp. This one will need as much detailing as the rest of the car will and there is no mention of how it’s running or really any info given in the ad other than it’s the original slant-six. Are any of you fans of this generation of the Valiant or do you like the later cars?

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Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    A car that looks as though the back two doors were welded shut and smoothed over to make a two door car! “Unique” is the best descriptive I can think of for this! :-)

    Like 1
    • DrinkinGasoline

      It was an intentional design to afford the rear passenger compartment more sq. ft. of comfort space. These were an acquired taste but seemed to catch on in my area of the country as there were quite a few of these running around when I was younger. I built SMP/AMT’s 1/25th scale model of it years back…still have it.

    • Mitchell MacLeod

      The body and roof for the four door was identical….two door hardtop done on the cheap.

      • DrinkinGasoline

        Not necessarily done on the cheap but maybe, just maybe, intentional. Something to think about.

  2. gbvette62

    I’m one of those strange people that actually likes the design, but then I grew up with 3 of them in the family. My mother had a pea green 61 Valiant 4 door, my grandfather had a brown 62 Dart 4 door, and an uncle had a red 61 Valiant 2 door.

    My mother really liked the Barracudas when they came out. Our neighbor was a Chrysler/Plymouth dealer. My parents went out one night to look at a new powder blue 65 Barracuda he had…….and came home with a maroon 65 Fury wagon instead. :(

    • Mitchell MacLeod

      The ’62 was likely a Lancer. Dart did not become a compact until ’63.

  3. Stephen

    Now that’s a car you drop a 383 in and leave the rest alone….

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Thumbs Up

  4. Rod

    My brother had one of these and it was a great little car. As you say either you hate the looks or love it. I personally get a kick out of the styling and would consider one of these. Unfortunately the biggest issue with them was rust and it would be severe.

  5. racer99

    Sorry but I really like the styling. Would be the only one at the car show like it. Not a collector car so you could do what you want — would make a real interesting retro-mod.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Thumbs Up

  6. JBP

    Its special, but im not shure i like it. A shame its not a v8

  7. David Zornig

    Nice car at a fair price.
    I have a `61 V200.

    Like 1
    • JBP

      Look so much better in blue.

  8. Kelly Weiss

    It’s very possible that car has the rare aluminum block 225 slant 6. Here’s a (much older) picture of my ’62

  9. Ed P

    I thought this was an ugly car when new. With age (mine), I have come to appreciate this odd Exner design. With care, this car could look as nice as David and Kelly’s cars.

  10. Sam

    They were odd but appreciate the “Exner” styling. Fun as is or a sleeper with cross-ram. Some were turned into gassers. I can visual this with Imperial concave fenders with pedestal headlights. Weird is fun!

  11. David Frank David F Member

    I loved my gray 1960 slant six 3 speed Valiant. It was cheap, dependable, comfortable and easy to work on. It was also the only time in the 1960s where I got out of a speeding ticket. The cop took miles to catch up with me and nailed me for 92 in a 45 MPH zone. I pointed out to the judge that there is no way my Valiant could go that fast (and surely couldn’t outrun the cop), the cop had the color wrong and the ticket was issued a long way from where he’d seen the “other car.” (Two barrel carb, headers and a mild cam) Case dismissed!

  12. ACZ

    First car to use an alternator, right?

    • DrinkinGasoline

      Yes…..Chrysler was the first to use an alternator in domestic production vehicles in 1960, in the Valiant.

    • mikeybob

      Yes. Before that only police interceptors had alternators. (From what I’ve read).
      I happen to have an affliction for these “road toads”. I’ve owned 5 or 6 but currently have this rusty little red 60 V200.

      • DrinkinGasoline

        That ’60 doesn’t look all that rusty….cool little sedan !

  13. G 1

    I’ve got some chrome work for these.

    • Kelly Weiss

      I’m looking for the left front fender “spear” that goes just above and outboard of the headlights on my 62 signet 2 dr htdtp. What have you got?

  14. DrinkinGasoline

    As a serious fan of the one year only 1960 Ford as well as the Edsel with their “laid down” rear quarter fin treatments, I like this body style Valiant. It was a bold, distinctive design.
    Heaven forbid that the designers of today’s vehicles should have the moxy, let alone the stones, to deviate from the
    “soap bar” and “jelly bean” design trends that have plagued the automotive industry for the last 20 + years.
    Folks such as Harley Earl, Virgil Exner and like minded designers of the golden age of the American automobile are turning over in their graves. I mourn….. in semi-silence.

    Like 1
  15. Allen Member

    I love this design, but have a strong preference for the first generation ’60 models with the tire imprint. Further, to really reveal how strange my tastes are, this is a design that only looks right to me in its four-door configuration. They made station wagons too, but not to my taste. I remember test-driving a new ’60 model with “3 on the floor”. Thoroughly conditioned by my Morris Minor, at every stop, I habitually shifted into reverse, waiting for the light to change. I remember the salesman riding with me: quiet but quite nervous. I always figured it out in time to avoid backing into the car behind me.

    This design struck me as elegant – right from the beginning. I think a higher trim level would have sold well. Remember, these first Valiants were not labelled as “Plymouths”. They were simply Valiants. Not necessarily just an economy car, but an economical luxury car: a Cadillac Cimarron 20 years ahead of its time – and probably a much better car at that. If I could find one, I’d be inclined to restore it to a rather luxurious custom trim level – rather like a Mercedes Benz 240 circa 1960.

    Added advantage: these things had a bulletproof drive-train.

    • DrinkinGasoline

      The Cadillac Cimarron (aka the Cimalier, or the Cadilier) as known in GM circles, was a pure, premeditated, felony in the purest sense, in automotive fraudulence.

  16. JW454

    I’m a fan of the station wagon version of this one. The two doors and four doors are fine but, give me the wagon.

    Like 1
  17. tje

    I had a 61 – 225 with 3 speed on the floor. Loved it.. I’d not be surprised if that 225 is still running a pump somewhere.

  18. Allen Member

    ‘ Didn’t get to editing in time. The “Not necessarily just an economy car, but an economical luxury car…” part is my fantasy about what I think should have been.

    Read more at http://barnfinds.com/valiant-effort-1962-plymouth-valiant-signet-200/#6VwA4rK3v6wcH3c0.99

  19. Dave Wright

    These are also very good cars, much better quality than most of there competitors. Heavy roller bearings, torsion bar front suspensions, large brakes. They have always been a great value.

    Like 1
  20. MorganW Morgan Winter Member

    Scotty, I think the Barracuda came out in ’64, not ’63. These old Valiants are so weird-looking! Seems like a pretty fair price, but near the high end…

    • Ed P

      Barracuda’s were introduced mid year in 1964. Just weeks before the Mustang.

  21. fred vainas

    When my girlfriend was leaving Boston (and me) in 1972, she got a ride in a Valiant with the fake spare tire on the trunk. It was a rusted hulk; in fact, the guy had a hasp and padlock to secure the trunk.
    Like the styling more now when they were new.

  22. dave

    I think this car may have the AL. block its colour is what looks like bare aluminium,it also seems to have the split exhaust manifold ,which was part of the hyper pak ,duel exhaust as well although I’m not sure if that was part of the PAK. COOL OLD CAR THOUGH I wish it was closer to me way up here in the great white north [Canada]

  23. Bob C.

    I like the unique look to this breed, but I like the 63 vintage much better. These have a similar frontal appearance to the early studie larks imho.

  24. Allen Member

    DrinkinGasoline, I suspect you have a very good point, and maybe I picked a bad example, but it was the earliest example I could recall – of an American compact luxury car. In fact, the Ford Granada preceded them by quite a few years. Technologically, the Granada was ho-hum. No reason why it shouldn’t have been more successful. Alas, it was neither small, nor economical, nor luxurious, nor particularly reliable. A friend had one from new and I later bought an older one. Both cars suffered from numerous similar problems. Nothing like the ’73 Volvo 264 I bought with 105K miles on it.

    Regarding styling: yes these cars were from an era that brought us the Exner designs that grow more beautiful by the year, the Avanti, the early Corvettes – even the first-generation Monte Carlos. Lots of really distinctive choices! And hey, remember the Jags? Everybody loves the E-types, but what of the elegant Mk III XJ6s? Still absolutely as elegant as ever! Today’s Jag saloons? Indistinguishable from Impalas. (Both a slam on Jag and a stunning coup for Chevy!). But currently, is there a saloon in the world that doesn’t look like it could have come off the same production line?

    But back in 1960, there was no other car anywhere that looked like a Valiant. Vive la difference!

  25. Skip

    I’ve always loved the Valiants and Darts. My 2nd car was a ’63 2-door Valiant,slant-six. It had 28K on the odometer when my parents gave it to me for Christmas in 1965. The car had been in an MVA in which both rear fenders were damaged. The body shop bought it from the insurance co. and my dad traded my ’55 Plymouth Belvedere + $800 for the Valiant. I had gotten the ’55 for high school graduation in ’63. It had 42K on it at the time; and when Dad traded it had just under 100K on it and was in the shop at the time. I drove it until 1973 when I sold it to a friend of mine who wrecked it less than a week after he got it. When I sold it, it was on its second motor, one out of a ’62 Dart. I had made a trip from Lubbock when I was at Texas Tech home to Midland for a family funeral, and on the way back to Lubbock it threw three rods about 12 mi. south of Lamesa, TX. But would you believe, I made the 12 mi. in to Lamesa, where I stopped at a gas station that I frequented and called my parents, who came and got me. That little car had been a workhorse, and I still regret having sold it and still miss it.

  26. Rich Barber

    My first car after graduating from Engineering school was a Red V200 2DHT with the floor stick. I bought it on known strength of Chrysler engineering plus styling (!!!). With the big grille and faux spare tire, it was reminiscent of the big Chryslers. (Coulda had a V-8). I had interviewed Chrysler but decided I did not want to live or work in Detroit. A young Chrysler engineer gave me a guided tour of their plant and HQ and advised me that he had just submitted a report to management on comparative service life of similar components of Valiant’s, Corvair’s and Falcons. Valiant’s won hands-down and management was p-o’d–saying they were over-designed and too expensive. Thus began the quality cutbacks and huge recalls. Sad, but true. That said, I did snap a torsion bar while slowly backing out of a parking place.

    Like 1

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