1974 Plymouth Valiant 318 cu in V8
A fine vehicle designed to last!!!
Thus far the only mechanical issue I have experienced with the car was a dead battery, which occurred during a cold snap this past January... after accessing the shape of the original battery, I decided to purchase a new one and haven't had any issues since then.
There are small "annoyances" that occur... a couple of the dash lights illuminate "off and on"...
Water from rain and snow melt seem to enter the car through the trunk and glove box.
The 1974 Plymouth Valiant was a vehicle designed for the budget minded consumer who needed a reliable mid size sedan for local commutes, and is a car built simply enough for a novice mechanic (like myself!!!) to perform general repairs and maintenance.
The majority of the parts on this vehicle are easily accessible and can still be purchased through local auto parts stores... I haven't encountered any difficulties so far obtaining maintenance items --- spark plugs, filters, etc...
The overall functionality of the car is very good... I am impressed with the reliability and performance of the 318 V-8 engine in my Valiant... it has the power when you need it, but is also a good cruiser for day-to-day commuting.
If I had to make one negative comment about this engine I would have to say that the gas mileage is a bit disappointing... on average I have been getting 12 miles per gallon, which combines city and highway mileage... I have tuned up the vehicle and it still yields this subpar mileage.
As far as other specs on the car, I have been equally impressed. It handles well and seems to have very responsive steering ability; highway cruising is a breeze in this car -- not mushy or wandering all over the road... holds the road very nicely. I need to replace the rear shocks on the car for an even better ride... they have worn out.
Most of the other systems in the car... transmission, brakes, electrical --- are in good working order. I drained and refilled the radiator and backflushed the heater core earlier this year; this seemed to help the performance of the heater which previously blew cold air.
Overall... I have been pleased with this classic mopar product!!!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th July, 2009
That was a fun review to read --- glad that you are enjoying the car!
I've owned a few 318 vehicles ('73 Charger, '75 Charger, '85 Ram) and totally agree about the reliability of the 318. Cruising on the highway at 60-65, I think it's typical for a '70s era 318 car to get about 18-22 mpg, depending on terrain and driving habits. I typically get 22 mpg in my '73, with a maximum of 24 mpg, and get about 14 mpg in short trip and city driving. Remember, this was the era when it was really important to "drive like there is an egg under your foot" before computers adjusted fuel and acceleration. You might bring that mpg figure up if you're gentle on the throttle.