A Valiant Brougham? Like jumbo shrimp and military intelligence, it may seem like something of a contradiction in terms. The Valiant, a standalone marque in its first year of existence, a Plymouth ever after, always stood for simple operation, low cost and staid reliability. And Brougham has always stood for, well, Brougham. Excess. Plush, over the top luxury, usually involving velour.
But Peak Brougham was in the mid-’70s, so why not offer a dolled-up version? Heck, FoMoCo was cranking out luxury décor option Pintos and Mavericks. So why not?
The Valiant Brougham came out in 1974, as a mid-year addition I believe. It included a plush velour interior with upgraded carpet, additional sound proofing and other details. Brougham identification graced the C-pillars, of course. They also received the deluxe woodgrained and chrome-festooned instrument panel, and an attractive steering wheel with what has to be one of the last horn rings ever installed on a car.
Brougham was everywhere, at least on domestic rolling stock. I mean, the Valiant? That plain-Jane, oh so practical compact, preferred by accountants, librarians and little old ladies across the country, available as a Brougham? Yes, really.
Other standard features included a color-keyed vinyl roof, stand-up hood ornament, seat back pockets, and oh, the luxury (well, for a Valiant) an inside hood release and AM radio!
Bucket seats were standard in both the sedan and two door hardtop, but bench seating was a no charge option.
You also had a choice of the 225 Slant Six or 318 V8 with standard Torqueflite automatic. The V8 was, surprisingly, also a no cost option. At least, on Broughams.
Of course there was a Dodge version. The line between Dodge and Plymouth blurred quite a bit in the Seventies, and the Dart/Valiant twins became virtual twins starting in 1974, when the Valiant sedan lost its boxier sheetmetal and gained the Dart’s slightly shapelier four door body – and longer wheelbase.
While I’ve never seen a Valiant Brougham in the metal, I did spot this ’75-’76 Dart Special Edition at the local Target, back in 1999. It was equipped in much the same fashion as the Valiant Brougham, and available in the same two body styles.
While the Volare/Aspen duo were supposed to replace the Valiant/Dart in 1976, the A-bodies continued for one more year.
The Brougham was still available, though it was now an option package instead of a full-fledged model. After ’76, the Valiant, Dart and Duster, one of Mopar’s toughest little cars, would be gone.
This one appeared recently on Craigslist, and appears to be a well-loved, original car. Hopefully someone buys it and keeps it in its remarkable state of preservation.
And hey, it’s a Valiant, so it will run forever! Intrigued? Then check it out on San Diego Craigslist, maybe that someone is you. And as always folks, keep calm and Brougham on.