Plymouth Valiant Wagon sharp in 1/43 scale …
Wagons are ho-hum these days, and nearly extinct, unless you count crossovers as wagons.
But in the 1960s they were a big deal as families tried to make room for the Baby Boom generation that was rapidly filling up their sedans. At the same time, a sizeable portion of auto buyers was looking for smaller, more economical cars. Hey, all those kids needed food and sneakers too!
Chrysler saw the trend and created its Valiant sedan and wagon, the car debuting at London’s famous auto show in late 1959. Valiant was originally to be named Falcon, but Ford wanted that name for its new compact, and Chrysler sold them the rights before settling on Valiant for its new compact.
Now Neo delivers a 1/43 scale 1960 Valiant wagon, and it’s handsome and may help round out some modelers’ collection.
Valiant was Chrysler’s first attempt, and a successful one, at building a reliable compact car to compete with the likes of Ford’s new Falcon, and American Motors’ Rambler. Some say the popularity of VW’s Beetle also spurred Valiant’s development, and that of its cousin, the Dodge Lancer.
Valiant was sold as a Plymouth, but also as its own brand early on and its radical styling got it a lot of notice, especially its canted tail fins and cat eye taillights. The design was all Virgil Exner’s, although this model doesn’t include the bright chrome trim that was on early models, running from the tailfin over the rear wheel well and up to the front wheel along the lower door panels. This is cleaner looking to be sure.
Valiant wagons were cavernous, with more than 72 cubic feet of cargo room, but in a vehicle that was a couple feet shorter than a full-size Plymouth at the time. That made Valiant wagons easy to maneuver and park in tight spaces, like the burgeoning suburban strip mall parking lots of the day.
The wagon was available with a rear-facing third row seat, something many wagons had in the 1960s, and did not carry a spare tire, instead using what Chrysler called a Captive-Aire run-flat style tire.
Under the hood was Chrysler’s famous and reliable Slant-Six engine in two configurations. There was a 170 cid model and a 225 cid version that gave Valiant plenty of power and because of the power plant’s design, slanting the cylinders 30 degrees, it allowed for a lower hood line. In addition, Chrysler led the way in weight savings at the time, using cast aluminum parts, such as the oil and water pumps and alternator housing, to shave about 60 lbs. in the Valiant compared with other models.
Ultimately Valiant was the lowest priced four-door wagon on the market at the time, even undercutting the Rambler.
This model has a beautiful photo-etched metal grille with logo in the center and there’s a script “Valiant” callout on both front fenders and the tailgate.
Our sample was in a handsome metallic green, sort of a metallic sea mist green with a cream colored roof with the proper creasing front to rear. Front and rear fenders are both chrome and there are chrome surrounds on the rear cat-eye taillights, plus around the windshield and side windows, including a vent window. The tailgate’s window also has a chrome surround and the entire window tucks neatly under Valiant’s roof overhang.
Wipers are thin chrome too and there’s a small chrome antenna atop the passenger’s side fender. The gas cap in the rear fender, just above the bumper, is body colored as are the wheels. There are small silver caps roughly at the center of each wheel and the tires are white-sidewalled.
Inside, the interior is light brown and you can easily see the detailed dash gauges and two-spoked wheel. There also are chrome window cranks and door releases, but it’s hard to see much else inside the car. For those who care, there also are Colorado plates front and rear, and an exhaust pipe coming off the muffler in back.
Vital Stats: 1960 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon
Stock No.: Neo47115