Valiant-based cars, including the Dodge Dart; Chrysler Valiant Charger and Pacer; and Plymouth Duster, Scamp, and Barracuda.

Valiant: Plymouth, Dodge, and Chrysler Cars Around the World

In its first year, the sporty Valiant took first through seventh place in NASCAR’s compact car races and won the Mobil Fuel Economy Challenge.

The Plymouth Duster and Valiant Charger had hot performance, but the Plymouth Valiant and Dodge Dart never lost their reputation for rock-solid engines. (The Valiant was the basis of the Dodge Dart, early Plymouth Barracudas, and the Australian Pacer — economy and racing cars, panel vans and coupes.)

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“Darts and Valiants were the Energizer bunnies of compact cars, and many are still on the roads, their reputation for longevity intact.” — The New York Times

1963 valiant

Valiant history (and Dart, Duster, etc.)

plymouth valiantThe Valiant was launched in 1959. European in feel, with its high-revving engine and torsion-bar suspension, it had an alternator — a Chrysler first for standard production cars. The last Plymouth Valiant was produced in 1976; the Chrysler Valiant continued in Australia through 1980. In South America, the car stayed until 1982. (See launch notes from Chrysler’s executives and styling leader, and from the engineering project leader.)

“Rarely has a car with so little sex appeal been so popular for so long.” — Author Known

Related: Creating the Valiant  Chronology  Models  Duster development Dodge Dart

Valiant performance and racing cars

Plymouth Valiant drawingHigh-performance Plymouth Valiants included the early Hyper-Paks and Lotus racing Valiant, big-block-eating 340s, the 383 Dodge Dart GTS, 440-powered Dodge Dart GSS, supercharged 1972 Gran Spaulding Dodge Demons, and Hurst-prepared 426 Dodge Darts. Owners of the entry-level cars can upgrade their slant six engines.

In 1976, the Valiant-derived Plymouth Duster and Dodge Dart Sport were the fastest four-passenger cars in America, with a top speed of 121.8 mph (2.7 mph behind the Corvette). Australia’s Valiant Charger and Pacer set records and won car races in New Zealand. The Plymouth Feather Duster achieved a 36 mpg rating.

Sean Renteria took a supercharged 1965 Valiant up to 209 mph in 6.63 seconds in 2007, setting a new world record quarter-mile time.

New Zealand racing Lotus Valiant V8 engines Hemi Six Pacer Chargers vs. Mustangs

Australia, Europe, South America

The most impressive Valiants were made in Australia, where a Hemi-head six-cylinder engine, fed by Weber carburetors, set a speed record which (arguably) still holds. Chrysler Valiant Chargers became New Zealand's most successful racing car.

The compact car was also popular in Spain, a sales leader in South Africa, and available in numerous forms in South America.

“The Swedish Valiant had a very good reputation for reliability, they said that it was so good even a cop couldn't break it.” — Mattias Johansson

Related: Australia  New Zealand  Canada  South Africa  South America  Spain 

Plymouth - Chrysler Valiant and other A-body cars

“The Dart and Valiant ran forever, and they should never have been dropped.” — Lee Iacocca

The Valiant and its siblings would change their shape and options, but their reliability would remain. See...

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