This 1965 Chrysler Valiant Signet Is a Rare Canadian Gem in Stunning Condition

1965 Valiant Signet 10 photos
1965 Valiant Signet1965 Valiant Signet1965 Valiant Signet1965 Valiant Signet1965 Valiant Signet1965 Valiant Signet1965 Valiant Signet1965 Valiant Signet1965 Valiant Signet
In 1950, Nash introduced the Rambler and created a brand-new segment of compact cars. It was soon joined by the Kaiser Henry J, Willys Aero, and the Hudson Jet. Moderately successful at first, the Rambler gained traction during the recession of 1958, when sales of compact cars increased to 14% of the US passenger vehicle market. As a result, the Big Three immediately jumped on the compact bandwagon.
In 1959, Ford introduced the Falcon, while Chevrolet launched the rear-engined Corvair. Chrysler opted to tackle the compact segment with the Plymouth brand and unveiled the Valiant for the 1960 model year. Built on the A-body platform that welcomed the Dodge Lancer and the DeSoto Rebel in 1961, the Valiant outlived its competitors and remained in showrooms until 1976.

But unlike the fourth-gen Dodge Dart that used the same A-body underpinnings from 1967, the Valiant was never offered with big-block power or an overly potent V8 engine. As a result, it didn't develop into a highly desirable classic. But here's a cool fact the Dart can't brag about: the Valiant nameplate had a very long career outside the US.

In Australia and New Zealand, for instance, the Valiant was sold with a Chrysler badge from 1962 all the way to 1981. Exports to the United Kingdom lasted until 1976, while the South African version soldiered on until 1980. The Mexican version lasted even longer, from 1963 until 1988. But I'm actually here to show you this stunning 1965 Valiant Signet built in Canada.

The Valiant became part of Chrysler Canada's lineup as early as 1960 as a standalone brand marketed at Dodge and Plymouth dealers. The Valiant was visually identical to its American counterpart except for the badging. In 1963, the Canada-made Valiant became a US-spec Dodge Dart with a US Valiant front clip. This continued until 1966 when Chrysler dropped the shorter Valiant wheelbase and adopted the entire US Dodge Dart body.

All these Canadian cars are rare nowadays regardless of trim and model year. That's simply because Canada wasn't such a big market for the nameplate. For instance, while US deliveries came in at a whopping 187,815 in 1960, the Canadian version moved only 6,478 units. In 1964, one of the Valiant's best years, US production reached almost 228,000 examples. In Canada, the compact found only 26,900 customers or nearly 30,000 if we also factor in Barracuda sales.

In all, the Valiant brand moved only about 133,600 automobiles from 1960 to 1966. That's still high enough to call the Valiant somewhat common in Canada, but many of these cars are no longer around, having been dumped into junkyards or left to rot away in barns. All told, fewer than 5% have soldiered on into 2023 as unmolested survivors and restored examples, meaning fewer than 7,000 cars.

And that's precisely why seeing a pristine 1965 Valiant like the one recently featured by YouTube's "Lou Costabile" is a big deal. Spotted at the 2023 Chrysler Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, this Valiant is perhaps one of the finest Canadian-made Mopars residing in the US right now. Because this two-door hardtop looks flawless from bumper to bumper and sports a highly original and clean interior. And yes, the 273-cubic-inch (4.5-liter) V8 engine and automatic transmission are both of the numbers-matching variety.

If you're not familiar with Chrysler trim packages from the era, the Signet identification puts it at the top of the Valiant range thanks to a few extra goodies (the 273 V8 included) as standard. The Signet was slotted above the 100, Custom 100, and Custom 200 trims.

The 273 V8 was also the largest and most powerful engine available in 1965 in both the Plymouth Valiant and the Dodge Dart. This Signet packs a two-barrel version rated at 180 horsepower, but Chrysler also offered a four-barrel variant with 235 horses on US models. But I'm not at all disappointed that this Signet features the lower output lump. Not only was it restored to a perfect finish, but it also sounds fantastic while pushing fumes out of the single exhaust pipe. Check it out in the video below.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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