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  1. Princess Valiant

    Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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    More so than a build thread .....I would call this more of a "thinking out loud" thread. I am finding through experience that every early Valiant has a story. If there is a such thing as a valiant without a story, it would have been good as a valiant leaving the factory without wheels.

    When you stop and think about the history of cars and condition and style of cars as of the 1959 model year, it might be easier to imagine this new car that was then new to the market. Was it a re-badged and defrosted and re-frozen Rambler or was it something new and fresh and a credit to opposable thumb genius?

    My story includes a 63 Valiant, the first year of a major re-styling from the very unique "road toads" .....the 63 is free of fins and free of a 50s look. This car was new, totally new, so new that it even included its own new and unique engine, made specifically for this car.

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    Last edited: Mar 1, 2017
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    • Princess Valiant

      Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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      so about 10 to 15 years ago, my cousin owned a Valiant wagon. At the time I thought it was a very ugly and undesirable little car. I got on the internet at that time and found a very well written story of a light brown wagon of the same year that was eventually painted bright orange and adored. It was such an awesome car and story that I started to re-think early A's

      Then the dust settled in my world and I moved on to other mopars...namely 67-72 versions. I didn't put much into early A's until now in February of 17, after going through a few owners after my cousin, the same exact car came available with my cousin's help of keeping track of it and now I am an early A owner.

      It is definitely a change of pace and I am learning that early A's are more than meets the eye. Each year from 63 to 66 is different in its own unique way.

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      Last edited: Mar 1, 2017
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      • Princess Valiant

        Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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        This little wagon which I dubbed as "Princess Valiant" has seen better days and is in need of a ton of work which is why this is not a build thread ....yet. I have another project occupying the shop but I am starting to collect parts for princess valiant and it has been an adventure in just a matter of weeks.

        one of the first road blocks I ran into that showed me just how unique early A's are, were actually the door locks.

        In a failed attempt to use the car as a storage shed for the parts that will be used on it ......I found that the doors wouldn't lock. Easy, right....just get on fleabay and get some new locks. Oh wait, these are a unique type locks that are very hard to find. There is a set on buy it now on ebay but...oh noooo ....189. dollars!!!! what the heck, why are the locks so hard to find and so expensive??? I found they are 61- 65 ( I think) and they are very hard to re-key and work with as opposed to the later (66-8) style which is readily available on the market, and for cheap.

        So the solution was to update the locks.

        What an adventure, took awhile to study the situation and evaluate how this is going to play out. To my luck, I found the later locks use a bigger hole than the early ones. SO far that was a good thing because just like hair, you can cut metal off a lot easier than adding it.

        So I drilled the lock hole out and then used a file to shape it. It is not complete because the upper ridge needs welding to make the opening narrower. I figure I am lazy now and I can do this when the car is on the shop docket and getting body work done. Until then, it is not a completed job but the newer style lock fits and functions.

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        • Princess Valiant

          Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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          oops, forgot the end product

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          • Darter6

            Darter6 Well-Known Member

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            I was attached to mine (still wish I kept it) Had lots of good time in it.Drove it across country,even raced it (a blistering 21 seconds at 68 mph)But for some reason moved on to another project.( and another,and another,you get the picture)t was a good running 170 with power discs, new suspension and big bolt all around.Now I have 4 B bodies and a 68 Valiant.What do I want ?? a early A...........

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            • Darter6

              Darter6 Well-Known Member

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              Looking forward to watching the re-birth.
               
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              • Princess Valiant

                Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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                So then I am sitting in the car as I usually do with all my old and non running cars lol. I am staring at the dash and something hits me. This is by Vin number a V200 so then why doesn't it have the dash trim like every other V200 I have seen.

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              • Princess Valiant

                Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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                So I hop on fleabay again, (ebay is evil) and I find a dash trim set for 20 bucks. I see the title of the auction as "3 piece set" and I think cool, I am in business to correct something that is not right. In the excitement, I didn't even realize that to be a complete set it needs to be a four piece set. One for the left side, over the radio, glove box door and the right side corner.

                So of course I am missing the glove box piece and don't even realize it till the little box shows up in the mail box.

                To add insult to injury, the left side corner trim piece doesn't fit!!!! it is too short!!! Then I realize....it is short because it goes to a dash with the pushbutton automatic module in place. This was an original three on the tree car so the dash is blank where the push buttons would go.

                So now the mystery is coming into light and my theory is that V200 or V100 ...regardless, the trim was not on cars with a manual shift because the trim was made to go around the push buttons on the automatic only.

                Waste of 20 bucks but very interesting stuff and worth it for the adventure LOL

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                • Princess Valiant

                  Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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                  So now after the dash trim fail, I think it is cool to have a very plain dash. Very 60s, very metal and very unsafe in a low speed collision. Safety has never been the specialty of these cars and besides, everyone knows that when driving a mopar, nothing will ever happen so no need to even think about it ...right. LOL

                  I embrace the plain dash and decide to take it a bit further and delete the radio out. The radio actually works and is an odd unit in my world of later cars.

                  I like the ..what I call "rambler effect" I can just see the family on a budget ordering this car new. "dad, can we get a radio to listen to howdy doody" No, kids...your mother and I are on a budget, you will understand when you are older" Awwwww, oh well, at least we have a really swell six cylinder engine

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                  • halfafish

                    halfafish Damn those rabbits, and their holes! FABO Gold Member

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                    Very nice, and a neat story. To share your experience, I got started with a 66 Valiant that was the spiritual equivalent of a little old lady car driven to church on Sundays. Then I found an identical model that was rear-ended that I picked up for parts. Thank goodness the FABO member with a 66 ragtop for sale never answered my PM's or I'd have a third one. I used to say I was developing an addiction but I think I'm already there. Good luck with your resto, I will be watching it.

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                    • TrailBeast

                      TrailBeast AKA Mopars4us on Youtube

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                      You know what stinks is when you realize those early A's were not even made yet when you were a kid.:D
                      I traveled the entire 48 states in a brand new 66 Valiant with my Aunt when I was 10 years old, and we even had one of those round window mount swamp coolers.
                      I remember hopping out of the car barefoot in Needles AZ in a freshly blacktoped gas station and the asphalt stuck to my feet and blistered the crap out of me.
                       
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                      • SSVDP

                        SSVDP FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                        Great car - cool story.
                        I'm thinking that would be cool with a '66 Barracuda dash and a four speed.
                        Also, I think there's probably a dash bezel for the three on a tree V200 cars to the left of the instrument panel.
                        Enjoy your early A.
                         
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                        • KosmicKuda

                          KosmicKuda FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          I always wanted a /6 and I've been lusting after a Valiant. The fact that I got a convertible was just a bonus. And i was not necessarily looking for a 64, it just happened. The build quality is better than the 2nd generation cudas I'm used to. The quality of the welds, the fit of the parts, etc. I've never had an A body with doors that fit and close so well. My somewhat biased opinion is that the 64 is the best styled of the early Vals. I love the Spears on top of the rear quarters and in front of the rear bumpers. I tell people this little car is a mini Imperial.
                          The rebuilt 225 is sweet and drives very tight and smooth. KYBs all around and V8 bars up front. I have a complete 340 4 speed drive train sitting around and it would've cost the same to go that route but I wanted a slanty.
                          See you at Carlisle and the Mopar Nats.
                           
                        • 318willrun

                          318willrun Utube channel 318willrun

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                          I remember traveling when I was a kid from Colorado to Washington (maybe 1980?) in my Dad's '68 valiant. We were low on gas, so low that it looked as if the gas gage didn't work. We thought we might run out of gas, it was late at night, but that /6 1 bbl kept going till we finally found a Casey's that was open.
                          That same valiant raced one of my older brothers Mercury Cougar with a 351W in it on I-25. It was a top end race, and that cougar could not get by that /6 :D
                           
                        • Princess Valiant

                          Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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                          Funny that a Valiant chat has conjured up so much slant six talk. When I first acquired this car, I wont lie and I admit that I was thinking V8 swap. I right away jumped on FABO and started looking at early A's galore to see the V8s in the car pics Vs. the slant six in the car pics.

                          I might be strange but I actually like the way a slant looks in an early A engine compartment.

                          Also, when I realized what the exhaust options are .....made the slant look even more appealing. Unless you want to spend huge money on headers the only option really is 273 manifolds.....****yawn**** :poke:

                          So my solution was to head to the barn and see what I have for a slant six build. I have a slant I had built a few years ago for a 72 dart that didn't pan out. It has the Clifford header and 4 bbl. intake. To me, this is a solution....get headers in the car and a relatively cool set up WITHOUT having to mess with V8 swap woes and even more expense because i already have the slant stuff here.

                          Plus I always wanted to build a slant six car. For some reason a slant six and an Early A just seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. I guess the engine was basically made specifically for the Valiant.

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                          • Princess Valiant

                            Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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                            I may have dodged a kick to the purse today ...I was on my way with a credit card in hand to order a 64/5 four speed hump. ......for 3 bills ....OUCH!!! That wouldn't have been so bad but when I discovered the boot and boot ring will run another 2 bills and only one place has them :eek:

                            Its a good thing I have an early A buddy on Facebook. @Rockerdude suggested I try a later hump, he has a 64 wagon with what he believes is a hump from a 73 duster.

                            WOW!! I thought...if that works that will cut the cost down to a fraction. Of course pics are hard to find in a google search so I went back out to the barn and realized that I happen to have a 67-73 floor hump on hand. I like where this is going

                            the only concern now is which carpet set to order. I am thinking the standard 4 speed carpet for a 67-73 will work because it needs trimmed anyways and will probably fit in a wagon which is actually a 4 door from the back seat forward.

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                            Last edited: Mar 1, 2017
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                            • Princess Valiant

                              Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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                              As of today ...I also have the four speed pedals and linkage coming from a FABO member and also some really cool emblems for the tail gate that say VALIANT in cursive (really cool) and "by Plymouth" in a block format emblem ....also mega cool
                               
                            • Princess Valiant

                              Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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                              being born in 1986, I wish cool cars were around in abundance when I was a kid through the 90s but everything was already a "classic" by then.

                              This might be the ONLY cool car I can think of that was made the year I was born. ....so sad.

                              I can only dream and imagine what it might have been like to be a kid when wagons were made of steel and people dressed up to be in public.

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                              Last edited: Mar 1, 2017
                            • Bulldozer

                              Bulldozer Well-Known Member

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                              If it's a 3 on the tree the clutch pedal is there already isn't it ? Or did I miss something. Cool thread BTW
                               
                            • Princess Valiant

                              Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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                              one of the previous owners removed the pedals and installed an auto pedal because he was intending to run a V8 with a 904. I am not sure how far he got but now that I got the car, there was no engine and no trans and someone had installed an 8 1/4 which looks pretty hacked and I don't trust.
                               
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                              • Darter6

                                Darter6 Well-Known Member

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                                Girl you are right a Slant looks just right in a early A. Another that after I sold it I did the "What was I thinking??" A nice 64 Dart...

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                                • Princess Valiant

                                  Princess Valiant Duster specialist FABO Gold Member

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                                  so I am on this weird tangent that I like the idea of a wagon that feels like a barracuda when in the driver seat. Some might remember my 68 dodge coronet wagon build where I swapped in a 68 Charger dash and interior. The coronet was stopped dead due to not being able to find wagon specific parts. To my surprise most of the wagon specific items that are non -existent for the 68 coronet are readily available for the valiant. ( weird huh)

                                  So back to the Barrawagon, I put a want ad for bucket seats and I am thinking any early seats will work ..63-66.

                                  To my surprise, 66 is one year only....thanks @cosgig for the info. Seems 66 tracks are one year only and 66 seat frames are much narrower than the earlier ones due the new console they introduced in 66.

                                  I do not plan to put a console because this is a four speed car anyways and I am NOT going through the hassle and expense of a 4 gear console ....again. Especially on this car which is intended to be a simple car without fancy trim and "cost adders"

                                  After Mr. Geoff pointed out the difference I can see it in these net pics.

                                  Right now I am waiting for one member to get back to me with pics on a pair of seats and then we will get this show on the road

                                  I really like the look of the 64 and 5 seats with nothing in the middle because its not that big of a gap. To my surprise as well, they re-pop seat foam for these early seats. COOL!!!! That is amazing to me because they don't even make new foam that I know of for my 72 demon bucket seats and that is a way more popular car, so who knows why the re-pop industry does what it does.

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                                • SSVDP

                                  SSVDP FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                  I think the '66 Barracuda dash is the best looking of the early A's.
                                  If you are going to recover the seats check out the patterns for the different years and models for one that goes with your door panels.
                                   
                                • Darter6

                                  Darter6 Well-Known Member

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                                  I am really Jonesn' over your wagon. Sooooo cool.
                                   
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                                  • RPMagoo

                                    RPMagoo Just An Old Motorhead

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                                    I've had a couple, and I like Em. 65 & 69. 100_1016.jpg Valiant - 69.JPG
                                     
                                    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
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