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Home/News and Feature Articles/*Featured Cars and Trucks/ Plymouth Featured Cars/

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Wayne's Valiant Brougham was rare when built and even more so - and especially in this condition!

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1974 Valiant Brougham - Wayne Brandon's rare and interesting piece of auto history
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By Society Staff – reprint with permission only

When Wayne Brandon first acquired the Valiant, as a result of an auction on e-Bay, he learned that it had not been driven since 1999 and was in great shape, but needed all the belts, hoses etc to be replaced due to sitting 10 plus years. His first observation once he drove it, was that it was well appointed, but it really would have been a more complete package with air conditioning and an FM radio.

He has owned three "A" body Plymouths over the years with the first being a 1972 Gold Duster with a 318 and automatic trans; a '64 Signet 200 Convertible with a slant six automatic and this Valiant. The '74 dash assembly was virtually identical to the one in his '72 Duster save for a wood-grain decal and a vinyl accent on the lower edge.

It should be noted that Wayne lives in Michigan and purchased the car originally for his brother to use on his move to San Diego, California but things went to things, and Wayne had to either ship the car back ot Michigan or drive it home. He drove it back, and that is a story for another time. Key in this tale is the condition and uniqueness of the car.

The 4-door Brougham was a very low production vehicle (under 2500 units). The condition comes from the fact that it was rarely driven, having accumulated only 25,000 miles by the time Wayne acquired it. As a tribute to the solidity of these Valiant/Duster units, Wayne was able to drive the car home with little trouble.

Let's talk about this rare (even in its day) vehicle. The Brougham equipped cars were available through the end of Valiant production in 1976. The 1974 Valiant sedan received the longer 111" wheelbase of the Dodge Dart. This struck a familiar chord with Wayne, because it seems that the Dodge, no matter how much it looked like the Plymouth, always seemed to have a longer (usually by 3") wheelbase. This goes back to at least 1935 and perhaps even before.

The 1974 Valiant Brougham was made available in two and four door models and intended to provide an attractive oil-crisis alternative to larger luxury cars. There had been no two-door Valiant since 1969 - as the "Duster" and "Scamp" assumed that market. Apparently neither of those names were considered sufficiently upscale for a luxury model, so "Brougham" became the model name, regardless of the body style. Interesting is that the Plymouth coupe version was badged as simply the "Plymouth Brougham" although the sedans carried the Valiant name as well.

The premium exterior trim level for the Valiant Brougham included: Padded Vinyl Roof, Twin Tape Accent Stripe, Bumper Guard w/Pad, Rocker Panel Molding, Wheel Lip Molding, Body Side Molding, Color Keyed Wheel Covers, White Wall Bias Ply Tires, Hood Ornament & Center Hood Strip and Stainless "PLYMOUTH" Name Plate.

The premium interior of the included a Vinyl Clad Steering Wheel w/Wood Grain Insert, Wood Grain Dash Panels, Plush Carpet, Crushed Velour Covered Seats, Padded Door Panel & Arm Rests, Door Pulls w/Wood Grain Inserts, Map Pocket, Front, Book Pockets on Back of Front Seat, Three Point Retractable Seat Belts. The trunk even received premium appointments - including a fully trimmed out interior and a jack assembly cover. Compared to a standard Valiant or Duster, this car was decked out.

One might expect that a California car would have air conditioning but this one does not. Neither does it have courtesy lamps that illuminate the rear seat area when the doors are open. Wayne doesn't ever recall seeing a four door car that didn't have door switch operated courtesy lamps and cannot imagine why this one, with all its other features, does not.

The engine on Wayne's Brougham was the venerable and ultra-reliable 225 cu. in. Slant Six. These engines make good HP and torque and were relatively unaffected by the tightening emissions requirements of the early 70's that strangled their brother V8s. Wayne says: "While the Valiant offered three engine options including both the 318 and 360 small-block V8s, with the 318 being by far the most popular, this model was built with the standard 225 Slant Six with a one barrel carburetor. It is surprisingly peppy and delivers respectable fuel economy."

Wayne noted; "The '74 Valiant exemplifies the three box styling and color combinations of the mid to late 70's but has all of the engineering qualities that make Chrysler cars the great vehicles we know them to be."

On his trip back from California, Wayne noted how smooth and sure-footed this car felt and how much it rode and drove like a full size car. With less than 26,000 miles on the clock it was still very tight save for the driver's door that needs minor adjustment to seal off a wind leak at the vent window. The fuel economy for that entire trip was 22.1 MPG and there was no oil consumption. Wayne says; "Overall, I was pleased with the performance of this car throughout the trip."

"Shortly after returning, my son, Sergeant Chris Brandon U.S. Army, brought his family from Ft. Hood, TX to Michigan for a visit. By this time I had decided that the Brougham needed a new home, and a few hours after their arrival, my daughter-in-law noted the 'For Sale" sign in the window. She informed me that they were taking the Valiant home with them - and they did."

Wayne says that after applying the "family member discount" to the sale price - they loaded the car with things that Chris had left behind when he had enlisted nearly ten years ago and headed back to Texas. Chris uses the Valiant regularly and he is learning to appreciate the uniqueness of one of the great Plymouth offerings that passed into obscurity more than 30 years ago.

While the Valiant offered three engine options, this model was built with the standard 225 CI Slant Six cylinder with a one barrel carburetor.

"Brougham" on the sail panel meant this was the upscale Valiant.

The door panels were as posh as possible for an "A" body.

The entire interior was designed to look unlike the pedestrian Valiant.

The dash had wood-grain, chrome accents and a deluxe wheel.

Just before Wayne sold the car to his son, it showed 28,976, and that included about the 2500 miles needed to get it from San Diego to Michigan!

Four-door Valiants had a capacious trunk - and the Brougham's was carpeted and padded. This also helped with road noise.