1974 Plymouth Valiant Brougham 4dr Sedan 225 CI Slant Six from North America


An all around well appointed and balanced car, that is reliable and adequate for most purposes


Driver's side front three point seat belt actuator failed, not allowing the belt to be drawn out of the retractors.

Fuel gauge failed at 27,000 miles; would not register any fuel level.

General Comments:

This year Valiant was built on the longer Dodge Dart platform, which with torsion bar suspension, allows the car to drive and ride like a much bigger car.

Interior space seems cramped, even with the seat moved all the way to the rear most position. The driver feels as though they are sitting too close to the steering wheel.

Visibility is good to excellent.

Interior appointments are almost luxurious, with the padded door panels and a sensible application of faux woodgrain appointments to the dash, steering wheel center, and insets on the door pulls.

The exterior has the right amount of bright work, and is accented with tape stripes and a very nice hood ornament and rear finish panel.

Wheel covers are boring, and are not in keeping with the other appearance upgrades.

As mentioned (Supra), the Valiant rides well, but is not as nimble as one would expect. The front suspension is soft and allows the car to dive into a turn, even with new shock absorbers. In comparison to modern automobiles, it handles like a porpoise with heartburn, but is as good as most cars of that era.

Fuel economy is fair to good for a 3600 lb car, with results of as much as 24 MPG on the highway, and as little as 15 in town, yielding an average of about 18 MPG.

Performance wise, it is adequate on power, so long as you are not trying to win any races.

The slant six is a wonderful power plant, and goes forever without major repair.

My Valiant is a 30,000 mile original with only general maintenance performed from new.

The only noticeable problem is evidence of oil getting past the valve seals when the engine is cold. One can detect the slight odor of burning oil until the engine reaches operating temperature.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th March, 2011

21st Mar 2011, 10:13

"The only noticeable problem is evidence of oil getting past the valve seals when the engine is cold. One can detect the slight odor of burning oil until the engine reaches operating temperature."

My '85 Suburban used to do that. The unfortunate thing is that no matter how well cared for a vehicle is, seals dry rot.

Your car sounds like a polished gem. Could you please post some photos of it somewhere? Thanks.

21st Mar 2011, 14:56

A little valve guide puff isn't nothing, hell most show cars do that because they're not driven enough to keep the guides from rotting. I would use a ZDDP additive in the oil to keep the cam from going flat in a car that old.

It was nice reading a review about something different than a 10 year old Toyota too.

21st Mar 2011, 18:08

Canadian Valiants suffered from the following... all because of accelerated rusting caused by road salt.

(1) No adjustment possible of the front end alignment.

(2) The torsion bar mount across the floor at the floor area under the driver/passenger seat would rust away, allowing the bar to twist to a non loaded position.

(3) The front fenders rust through above the headlights.

Unless you are in a dry climate with your car, you would be wise to have it oil sprayed to save your gem... or at least those areas before the rust gets in there.

1974 Plymouth Valiant 318 cu in V8 from North America


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.

General Comments:

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

13th Aug 2009, 16:07

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.