Pratt and Miller Builds a 62 Plymouth Hemi Valiant

Pratt and Miller 1962 Valiant resto mod

Pratt and Miller 1962 Valiant resto mod

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.

Valiant before restoration

Valiant before restoration

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.

Pratt and Miller Hemi powered 1962 Valiant resto mod with CNC machined replacement grill

Pratt and Miller Hemi powered 1962 Valiant resto mod with CNC machined replacement grill

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.

Remove slant six, install Hemi

Remove slant six, install Hemi

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!

Hip joint for shift lever

Hip joint for shift lever

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.

Link: Pratt and Miller Restorations

Comments

  1. Rob says

    Why is this car not in Mopar Muscle and Mopar Action? I LOVE this Valiant! Besides, you can only read about ’69 Roadrunners with 440s for so long before you need something different. And different this is!

    • Paul Crowe says

      I agree, this Valiant is definitely out of the Mopar mainstream and there are probably a lot of guys who would appreciate the work done on it. Everything P&M is involved in is really high quality and this build is no different. With the few remaining originals plus all of the clones and tributes of Hemi Barracudas and Roadrunners you begin to think everyone forgot about all of the other cars Chrysler produced, but nothing like this ever existed and no one will ever be able to say “Yeah, I used to have a Hemi Valiant.”

      I think you’ll probably see this popping up a lot more now that it’s beginning to get some exposure.

  2. Jay says

    Not so much old news, but maybe a bit deja vu depending on where you grew up…
    We loved ‘em Downunder!

    “The Valiant remains prominent in Australian motoring history, a testament to the heroic efforts of Chrysler Australia’s engineers. Their unique engines and models, the Hemi Charger and Pacer, made the Chrysler Valiant cars uniquely Australian. The Valiant remains a presence, and its racing record in New Zealand is unparalleled.

    The Australian Hemi engine did not need eight cylinders to get muscle-car acceleration. With its six hemispherical-head cylinders fed by triple Weber carbs, the Hemi Six easily outdistanced even Chrysler’s own hot 340 V-8 engines. Powered by this straight six, the Valiant Charger was for decades the fast accelerating production car made in Australia. As Leo Geoghegan wrote in Hey Charger!, “what a sweet powerhouse the E38 R/T turned out to be.”

    In 1972, Modern Motor tested the 265 cid E38 Valiant Charger and achieved a 14.8 second quarter mile time, with 0-60 mph coming up in a mere 6.3 seconds. The car did 0-100 in 17.2 seconds. By comparison, the Ford Falcon GT, powered by a big 351 V8, took 15.1 seconds in the quarter mile, 7.7 seconds in the 0-60, and 19.2 seconds in the 0-100 — considerably slower than the Charger. The Holden Monaro GTS, powered by the GM 35o V8, was even slower: 9.3 seconds 0-60 (around the same as a base PT Cruiser), 15.3 seconds in the quarter mile, and a full 24.6 seconds 0-100.”

    source: http://www.valiant.org/ausval.html