Last March, I had the opportunity to attend the unveiling of the Motus MST at Pratt and Miller Engineering. Pratt and Miller, as most of you know, are behind the tremendous success of the GM Corvette racing team among many other engineering accomplishments. While looking around their operations before the bike was rolled out, I spotted a black 1962 Plymouth Valiant off to the side and it brought a smile to my face because many moons ago, my mom had one of these, a nice gray, slant 6 powered car, perfectly appropriate for commuting to work. The car I saw in Michigan, however, was another matter altogether. The hood was up and nestled inside was a 6.1 liter Hemi and the car had the stance and appearance of something powerful but understated.
I didn’t think to take in all of the details and had only the memory until I saw the November issue of Hot Rod magazine which includes a feature article on that very car. Dustin Bechtold, an orthopedic surgeon from South Dakota, had been looking for a Valiant for quite some time and finally found one in Minnesota. After purchase, he turned the car over to the restoration division of Pratt and Miller and worked out the details of what he envisioned.
The Hemi is mated to a 5 speed automatic connected through a Dynotech driveshaft to the Moser 8 3/4 inch rear with 3.55 gears. The body has been reinforced and subframe connectors were installed. Wilwood brakes slow things down.
Pratt and Miller says they:
replaced all of the suspension with modern coil over independent front and rears manufactured by Reilly Motor Sports. Dynamat sound deadener has been added to make this ride road noise free. Complete custom interior with heated and cooled driving seats by Recaro, custom touch screen stereo by Kenwood with DVD/NAV and a back-up camera, power windows and A/C by Vintage Air … make this Valiant a one of a kind resto Mopar.
With replacement body parts pretty much nowhere to be found, everything had to be preserved and restored wherever possible. The grill surround was restored while a new grill was CNC machined to look like the original piece.
The surgeon contributed a stainless steel prosthetic hip joint for the shifter and a replacement knee joint P&M used as a parking brake pedal. Neat!
The car won numerous awards at the Cleveland Auto Rama last March.
Custom resto-mods like this are a favorite of mine. Subtle looks with a complete up to date rebuild. It looks great and I’m sure it brings lots of smiles to the doc and his family.