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.
A very, very good car in so many ways. I test drove a new one with the 318…was surprised at how much scoot it had.
The car I learned to drive. Our high school had a trailer full of simulators using this dash. We would watch a movie and steer around the kids chasing a ball and drunk drivers. We took it with deadly seriousness.
Was the A/C in these integrated or still hung under the dash by the mid ‘70s?
Look at the quality evident in the brochure pix! The trim on the glovebox looks to be a half-inch off!
Certainly better than the cars which succeeded these!
In my ’73 and ’76 Dodge Darts the A/C was still hung under the dash.
These were among my favorite cars. My first Dart was a two door hardtop in gun metal grey and a black vinyl roof. It had a slant six and drum brakes. I remember driving it on the Taconic parkway at night doing about seventy the whole car was shaking. All the windows were down as the rear mounted speakers were blasting Meatloaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Lights when out of nowhere a 1950’s gull-wing Mercedes flew by my leaving a trail of blue smoke. Great times as long as you didn’t need to stop anytime soon.
Having learned my lesson, my next Dart was a 76 Sport with disc brakes and a 318. After mounting some air shocks in the back I felt the car now reflected my newfound sense of maturity, and looked for yuppies and rich preppies in the BMW’s and other expensive European marques to leave in the dust. Fortunately the son of a Greek shipping magnate had just matriculated at my college and his father had given him a sparkling new red 1982 Audi Quattro which lay on the road just ahead waiting at a red light. I slowly crept up to the Quattro with a blonde bombshell with fashionable shades in the passenger seat. I of course pretended not to notice her while seething inside with envy. At last the light turned green and my loyal Dart with its 318 roared to life with a glorious rumble and laid two long patches of rubber as well at the Quattro in its wake. Thank goodness it was a straight road.
Anyway that Dart was a great car and was designed with people like me who were not the brightest bulbs on the tree. One day while trying to show of the spectacular (for me) acceleration of the car I mistakenly forgot to put the car in drive as I floored it. A roaring crescendo was silenced by the rattling of the timing chain coming apart. Fortunately as most of Jack’s readers know, the 318 was a non interference engine and my mistake was easily remedied. Those were good memories in what my mind were reliable, stylish (in two door hardtop trim) and fun cars.
We had one of these Valiant Broughams as a rental back in the mid 1970’s after my mother wrecked one of our Mercury Montegos. As I recall, it was a nice little car, unusually plush compared to it’s stablemates. We knew a number of people who had the more plebian version of the Valiant, so this was out of the ordinary for sure. The Slant Six was relatively powerful in this application, at least compared to the anemic 302 2bbl in that particular Montego.
I think my dad was pretty impressed with the car, as he was a Ford man and had only driven them since the mid 1950’s. The boxy shape yielded a lot of interior space and the Slant Six was pretty decently powerful for it’s size and this application. It was hard to argue against the pragmatism of the Valiant, but those mid 70’s Mercurys had his number…
This car has something in common with the new Jeep Gladiator. Unfortunately, that one thing is a stretched wheelbase paired with rear doors from a version without a stretched wheelbase.
I like it but I like ‘A’ bodies a lot anyways….
I remember those tall bucket seats, they were lower back killers .
Nice to see this car in such good shape, I hope it remains so .
And then they replaced it with the Aspen/Volare where for the 1st couple of years you could hear the rust termites eating the fenders.
I’ll take the green body with white top. I’m surprised you didn’t show a photo of the one from “Duel”.
I’ve also got a soft sport for AMC Hornets, Concords + 880s.
Duel is what I think if whenever I see the dash of one of these, Dennis Weaver alternating between looking a the looming semi in the rear view and the needle on the speedo cresting 90mph. These had a pretty good dash, with temp and battery gauges laid out in an attractive but business like layout.
I miss horn rings almost as much as I do vent windows.
I just bought it. Great car. I plan to keep it just as it is.
Sweeeeeet!! I had a ’76 in high school. beige with a dark green vinyl top & interior. A/C would blow your hair back and you could fit 8 to 10 people pretty comfortably. If only it had had a V-8. The matching color hubcaps were amazing. The velour seats were so comfortable and this was back when we were still wearing velour shirts, so very stylish as well.
It was not the car you wanted to impress people in high school but man it made a great stoner-mobile 😉 Wouldn’t mind having one now to carry the grandkids around. Of course I wasn’t happy when I first got it or my Datsun 710 but you gotta take what your parents give you–a few years later I fnally saved up my own cash and got my ’68 Camaro.
I have one of these in the same colour with the bench seat and the 318. It runs great, gets good gas mileage, room for 6, lots of headroom, good trunk space. A chimp could repair it.
Explain to me how vehicles have gotten better? They are tiny, cramped, expensive to repair if anyone can figure out what is wrong. It takes 3 hours labour just to get to the problem. There is no hood area. Everything looks the same.
Modern vehicles are “better” in that they’ll do more mileage without service or break down and they’re also _far_ safer in case of collisions .
This all presumes you’re O.K. with the trade offs, like you, I am not so I try to drive a bit cautiously (I don’t drive slowly) and I always wear my seat belt and try hard to do preventative maintenance rather than wait for things to break .
Not everyone has this ability nor wants to get dirty & greasy , I have never met a Journeyman Mechanic who didn’t have scars and / or old broken bones so it’s not for every one .
Very few ‘Mechanics’ today care about doing a good job and many less even understand diagnosis ~ they want to change parts and go have a beer, who cares if it’s fixed right or if there’s grease on the steering wheel and carpets .
If you can, do as you do ~ others will craft beer, good meals, make art, build houses and so on .
My mother got a brand new 1975 valiant brougham with the v8, AM-FM radio, and velour bench seat. Had some electrical problems that should have been fairly easy to fix, but the dealer my dad was so loyal to never could solve it. So, bye-bye a couple of years later.