Some cars become classics only due to their long term survival. The car being featured today was as plain-Jane boring cookie-cutter as it gets when it was first released. Finding one in 2015 looking like it just rolled off the assembly line is almost impossible, but here she is!
This is a 1972 Plymouth Valiant in the very beautiful Basin Street Blue. Every single thing about this car is perfect! Actually that's not true; the dashboard has a crack, the rear deck is slightly faded, and the gas cap is black, but for a 43 year old car that is nothing.
This grill was used between 1971-1972. In fact I can't think of a single difference between those 2 model years to help pinpoint the vintage, but I was lucky enough to talk to the owner to confirm it was a '72. He said it was a literal barn find needing only a repaint and for the bumpers to be rechromed to reach the level of show car perfection you see here.
This was the definition of a midsize car for 1972; a small box on a bigger box with 4 wheels and 4 doors. This car doesn't want to race anybody. This car wants to take you to church and the grocery store.
I love these original hubcaps and their somewhat weird styling. The year before this they had hubcaps that looked like the top of a pie; plain metal with five black circles in the middle like the vent holes on a crust.
The steering wheel, dashboard, and carpet are all as blue as the outside.
This little cruiser has the Slant-6 engine which earned a reputation as one of the most durable ever produced. In high school I had a friend who owned this exact car in beige with almost 200,000 miles on it. After treating it horribly for a year (racing on dirt roads, driving through the woods, dragging people around on a sled in winter fields, etc) he decided he was going to blow the engine before calling the junkyard because he was inheriting a Datsun. He drained the oil and left the car running with something on the gas pedal and waited. After something like a half hour he was so impressed that he decided he would try to continue driving it with no oil to see how long it could go. He drove back and forth to school for a few days and was on his way to the Danbury Fair Mall when it finally seized! That poor beast should've had a better owner as it probably would be running today.
The Valiant was identical to the Dodge Dart this year, but the Darts are worth more money for whatever reason, making this a great choice for starting out in the classic car game.
The body is straight as an arrow.
I had the sibling to this car in college; a 1972 Plymouth Duster. The only difference was that the Duster was a fastback 2-door body style. I bought it for $60 (as in SIXTY) and drove it from Maine to Baltimore to Lancaster PA, all the while delivering pizzas in Providence with it. It was gold with a green faux-snakeskin vinyl roof, and I wish I had it today.
Nonchalantly outclassing everything on the block.
This was the most conservative car you could get from Plymouth in '72. This was the era of crazy paint and interior choices (like Panther Pink and Plum Crazy Purple for colors and the Mod Flower print or Paisley for vinyl roof and interior!).
Here's to hoping this gets respect from parallel parkers in the big city.
Well there we have it; a quiet, smooth, economical daily driver turned show car on this beautiful Sunday. Next up; something a lot more rugged for sure.