We all have our first car stories, but in 1963 my dad brought home our first new car, at least in my lifetime. It was a white 1963 Plymouth Valiant convertible with black soft top and red vinyl interior and a push-button automatic transmission.
It was nothing fancy, but to have a convertible was certainly exotic. Plus the car’s slant-6 engine was solid and the car ran like a top for 7 years.
So there’s a certain nostalgia I felt when WhiteBox’s red Chrysler Valiant Acapulco arrived for review. The 1/43 scale model is a nice reproduction of a mainline car that a lot of folks owned, and only a slight change from that ’63 model of which I was so fond. In fact, more than 225,000 Valiants were sold in 1963, its record year.
The Chrysler Valiant was a rebadged Plymouth Valiant sold in Mexico, hence the Acapulco model designation. Dodge also had a similar model, the Dart. There’s a bit of confusion with the labeling here in that the Acapulco was sold in Mexico starting in 1967 and the review car’s license is a 1967 Oklahoma plate. I confirmed with American-Excellence, who had sent the car, that it’s mislabeled as a 1965 model. It is in fact a 1967 Valiant.
Valiant was Plymouth’s compact car entry and was remodeled in 1963 to be less radical looking. It appeared slim and trim with a slightly longer hood than trunk. The fake spare tire on the trunk lid from earlier models was abandoned.
But in the 1960s car makers didn’t leave any model totally untouched from model year to model year. So by 1964 the trim horizontal taillights had gone vertical and stayed that way for several years. The grille was a sort of an inverted trapezoid and a styling theme used in other Chrysler products of that era. Horizontal bars were added later.
Valiant came as a 2-door coupe or hardtop, plus a 4-door sedan and station wagon, and a 2-door convertible. The review model is a 2-door coupe.
Three engines were available. Two were the venerable slant-6 models, a 2.8-liter (170cid) and 3.7-liter (225cid). Plus the small car featured a gutsier 4.5-liter (273cid) V8 that created 180 horsepower. The Acapulco only offered the 225 and also came with bucket seats and a passenger’s side mirror, which the review model has.
Vinyl roofs also became an option in 1962, and that is featured here too, in black.
WhiteBox is a value-oriented die-cast brand that creates a wide variety of models and this 1/43 scale Valiant is nicely executed for its $29.95 price. At that price you can fill gaps in your collection without damaging your hobby budget too.
This is a glossy bright red with flat black roof and plenty of chrome trim on the windows, including side vent windows. The grille with its horizontal bars is chrome with a blacked out area on either side that houses small running lights. The headlight lenses are clear and the bumper chrome.
In back, the bumper is chrome and the taillights are chrome painted red. There’s also a chrome gas cap on the driver’s side rear quarter panel along with a vague circular logo that also appears on the trunk. A Valiant logo appears on a silver badge on the car’s nose too.
The Valiant has two chrome mirrors and an antenna on the passenger’s side front fender along with good-looking chrome wipers.
The car rides on wide white-sidewall tires and feature large chrome wheel covers. There also are windows all around the car that limit your view of the interior, but it’s black and includes bucket seats, door trim and a 3-spoke steering wheel with some gauges visible behind it.
Vital Stats: 1965 (1967*) Valiant Acapulco
Stock No.: 217261
*Car is mislabeled as 1965, but is a 1967.