Sunday Drive: Plymouth Valiant Scamp
What happens when you add Cragar wheels to a stock Plymouth Valiant? We’ll let you decide!
Deemed the “indestructible” engine, this spritely Plymouth Scamp is powered by a 225 Slant 6 and is paired with about the smoothest shifting three speed automatic transmission I have witnessed. This 1970’s Chrysler version of an “economy” car demonstrates the simplicity of mechanical engineering and design. It starts with two pumps on the throttle and a non-chipped penta-star metal key you put in an ignition tumbler that you turn with your own hand… AMAZING!
Let’s talk the things everyone wants even to this day! Vent windows (my favorite), indicator lights on the fender, the headlight high-beam switch on the floor board and wait for it… no blind spots. It was built standard with a Solid-State AM radio, heat, a bench seat, power steering and crank windows. At cruising "altitude" one can't help but enjoy the continual correction to keep the steering straight.
Even with all those great feature, it’s the rear concave window that sets this car apart from others in its class. Such a unique cosmetic feature. And let’s not forget the taillight/bumper combination. It reminds me of drawing a car in first grade when you look at if from the side. Yet this car, and ones like it (the Dodge Dart, another classic, comes to mind) have withstood the test of time. There were several body platforms Chrysler developed and they just simply named this the “A-Body.” Know how they say pets and their owners start to resemble each other? Same goes for cars - the name Scamp means “mischief-maker," and I guess I can be too!
Jason Paynter is a classic car appraiser, collector and unabashed enthusiast. He lives in Louisville, KY with his beautiful wife and three sons who are (heaven help him) almost all of driving age.