The Unpolished Gem with Untapped Brilliance ! -64

In the world of small rear-wheel drive American cars built at a time when Detroit was still a happy place hooked on Motown tunes, the Plymouth Barracuda is certainly the most appreciated of the lot. But not many know that the iconic Cuda is based on a very low profile model from Plymouth bearing the Valiant nameplate.

Underpinned by the Chrysler Group's A platform, the Valiant was built from 1960 to 1976, but the most revered model is the one manufactured between '63 and '66. This generation's visual identity is dominated by the flat square rear deck and wide, flat hood, as well as that menacing front fascia design. It was a popular model back in the 1960s, but nowadays it's a pretty rare sight.

All the more reason this slightly rusty yet original example of the breed caught our interest. It's a 1966 four-door sedan variant with just 42,000 original miles showing on the odometer. Under the hood you won't find the 273 cubic inch (4.5-liter) V8 mill, but the lower powered 225 cubic inch (3.7-liter) RG Slant-6 engine.

That inline-six is a bit rusty from what we can tell from the photos, but the seller is adamant that it "runs great!" We tend to believe that the car is in good working order, especially if you take into account that the wheel and master cylinders, water and fuel pump, battery, headlamps and exhaust system have all been replaced.

Of course, the light chestnut exterior paint job needs considerable TLC, as well as some areas of the cabin, but you can't deny that this is a very tempting restoration project. It comes with an original Carter carburetor, original Goodyear spare tire, a dealer supplied ice scraper, Chrysler Certicard and other things that reassure its authenticity.

Further more, the current owner of this understated 1966 Plymouth Valiant says that his car was a former show winner for Best Original. But the best thing of all is that it's advertised for just $5,000. Imagine how super neat this neglected American classic would look if you would spend another 5 to 10 grand on minor resto jobs.

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