Tuesday, March 19, 2013

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1962 Plymouth Valiant

I love Bernal Heights for car spotting. It's a gold mine for old and unusual vehicles, most of which are daily drivers with various stages of patina. Here we have a 1962 Plymouth Valiant sedan. The Valiant was introduced in 1960 as its own brand, sporting a radically styled body and a new slant-six engine. It competed with the Ford Falcon and GM's compacts, intended to provide large car space without the large car dimensions and mileage. The separate brand identity only lasted one year before it was folded into the Plymouth lineup, but the Valiant built a reputation for reliability and toughness.

This one looks like a low-spec example judging by the steel wheels with poverty caps. The paint doesn't look original because of the peeling clearcoat (did they use any kind of clearcoat in the 1960s?) but if it were, it would be Cherry Red. The body, true its name, has done a good job of fending off rust and is remarkably damage-free. I wish I could say the same of the chrome, which has peeled badly and the bumpers are in terrible condition. The whitewall tires are a nice touch.

I've never liked the way these cars look, but I respect that they have their fans. In this color with the red vinyl interior it almost looks all right. There are two Valiants in this neighborhood, this red car and a blue one in similar condition. They may even be owned by the same person.


  1. I like to see these unaltered cars. It's like looking back 40 plus years. These Valiants, (well, all Chrysler products for that matter), were very unconventional looking cars. I thought these cars were ugly back then, but I was drawn to them for some strange reason. A guy my dad worked with left one at our house one day. It was a more dressed up model in white with a red roof, white walls and two tone vinyl interior. I looked it over completely and I found that particular car rather cute. It had the elongated tail lights in the fins which I prefer to the round ones on this car. I too like the white walls on this car which along with the side trim, give this odd little car a little flair. Great find!

    1. The elongated taillights would have made his car a 1960-61 model. Valiant Red over Oyster White (1960) or Carnival Red over Alpine White (1961). Perhaps a V-200?

  2. I can't say whether it was a '60 or a '61. I'd like to say that I remember it being a V200, but that was a very long time ago. But, since it did have a two tone paint scheme and a generous amount of bright work, I think it's safe to say that it was a V200.

  3. Hi I ran across your blog and found it funny that you mentioned my blue 1962 Plymouth Valiant in the neighborhood. I also know the owner of this red Valiant pictured above. When I first bought the car he left me an envelope on my windshield with a star badge saying hello Blue this is Red welcome to the neighborhood. His red is automatic mine is 3 on a tree manual shift.