Glenn's 1965 Canada Plymouth Valiant Signet
Glenn Helmlinger wrote:
Basically a Dart GT, the Signet was "the" top-of-the-line Valiant in Canada. Outside, a 1965 Signet is instantly identified by its unique, attractive trim. The three pieces of chrome detail that appear just behind the front wheels is its most distinguishing adornment, giving the car an extra touch of class and glamour. Inside, bucket seats and a floor-mounted console for the automatic transmission leave no doubt that this car is special.
The Signet and her 200-Series siblings all share the same body of precise proportions, beautifully balanced on a 111-inch wheel base. For 1965 in particular, the styling was handsome, clean, and contemporary. It was a sculpture in metal whose highly-refined curves would be lost in later model years.
After days, weeks, and months of what seems to be ceaseless rain, I find myself seated behind the wheel of my Signet. I turn the ignition and instantly hear the familiar and soothing sound of a 273 2bbl V-8 engine. Soon, I am in the back seat, unzipping the rear window. I roll down all the windows and unhook two latches located behind the sun visors to prepare for the next step. Then, standing outside, I reach for the most important control. From my vantage point, I watch the top rise, then lower, into its well. All thought of past rainy days are extinguished. Soon, I am on the road, and under the sun, with the wind blowing all around me in my long, sleek convertible.
My Dad, having always wanted a convertible, finally bought this red-on-red beauty new. He caused quite a stir when he bought a second car - a small Fiat - just to take his dog for a walk. Since the upholstery is still in excellent shape, I am more appreciative than the neighbors that this necessary precaution was taken back in those early years. As it turned out, the car quickly became a weekend-only vehicle. The keys were eventually passed onto me in high school in the mid-80s.
From the beginning, I intended to keep the car in original condition. Within a few months, a Volkswagen became my daily driver and the Signet was reserved, like my father had done previously, for weekends only. Now, after more than 30 years in the family, the car has become a hobby of sorts. I am slowly restoring the vehicle. I am starting on the interior where chrome has been rubbed-off of plastic parts. Then, I will be working on some minor exterior chrome trim. I am also doing some minor touch-ups to the paint before I delve into a full and complete paint restoration. For now, the car still looks good enough that I don't want to invest that kind of time or money. The engine, with 65,000 miles, still runs perfectly.
1965 is my favorite year for Valiants/Darts. The Signet convertible is my favorite model. I even like it better than the US Dart GT because I think the nameplates are more tastefully located. I sympathize with others who have an equal appreciation for different years and models. They are all wonderful cars.
Note to American readers: In Canada, Darts were marketed as Valiants.
- Valiant Signet = Dart GT
- Valiant Custom 200 = Dart 270
- Valiant 200 = Dart Series
- In Canada, there was a Valiant 100 Series, which was the same as US Valiants.