based on early '60's Mopar Logo

Restoring a 1965 Valiant

Style note: Text that is not bold is from car owner Joe Sadie, or other people, as identified; text that is bold is from Gary P. Hamel, the '62 to '65 Mopar Web Site administrator & webmaster.

Joe Sadie is about to undertake the restoration of a 1965 Plymouth Valiant. He has asked that people from the 1962 to 1965 Mopar Mail List provide suggestions and advice as to the best way for him to proceed.

The first step anyone needs to do is determine the end result desired. Having a game plan before you begin such an undertaking is critical. For example, do you want a driver? a show car? a racer? What is your goal when you are through. (Beware: you are never 'finished' with a restoration!)

Hand in glove with your goal is your pocketbook. Indeed, the end result may flow from the amount of money you have to invest. It also may depend upon the amount of skill you have. Whatever you are able to do properly yourself you will save money. Mechanicals, paint and body and upholstery are three areas that people do themselves or farm out, for example.

Joe's intentions

Initial intentions: January, 1999

Joe Sadie writes:

It's me the newly retired old guy who is getting ready to start my restoration on my '65 Valiant Signet rag top.

First of all I would like to invite all the guys to take part in this project from the beginning. I intend to send photos & details as I go so you all can see how I am doing, step by step, so all can take part in the project.

Here's what we have to start with: '65 Valianta 1965 Valiant Signet convertible. The top is good, color white; the interior is good, except for the door panels, (warped pretty bad on the edges). It now has a /6, auto. The body is better than most--a little rust on the door corners & bottoms, small holes, 1/2 the size of a pack of smokes. The body is solid but is completely covered with surface rust. The underneath is good, no rot just flaking a little here & there. The tops of the front fenders are really thin, on the edge next to the hood opening for about a foot long on both sides. The front valance is screwed up, but they all are I guess; it can be fixed. Everything else seems to be O.K.?

Now for the good stuff? I have a Cuda that has had it. It has a 318 V8, 4 speed. Now do you guys think it is worth the effort? To make it a V8 -4 speed car? or leave it a /6?

As I said this is every ones project--so what ever you guys decide will be done. I am now retired so time is not a problem! I am a retired heavy equipment operator--I have twisted a few wrenches in my time so the work is no big problem. Hey! guys remember it has not got to be all done by 5 p.m.! I knew you guys would get a kick out of that statement! So let's get all the facts together & decide just what we all want to do with our little rag top?

Intentions Clarified: April, 1999

Joe says:

I just want the Little Valiant to be mechanically sound --I have already decided to replace all the brake lines--install new brake shoes--& brake cyls --Big ? on disk!--All the front end parts that are worn or weathered will be replaced--

The engine {which ever the club decides on} will be torn down & be rebuilt--as stock as possible--maybe plain the heads --to be sure they are true{flat}--

new Rubber all the way around--& reupholster the front seat--I donít know what to do with the door Panels?--Warped bad!--a nice paint job--after the body is repaired--& new exhaust system--& any thing the guys want that is reasonable!--thatís about it!--its up to you really!--So let me know what you think?

Joe is touching on all the systems that need attention. Perhaps the easiest way to start thinking about the project is to put the car apart by systems and go from there. Here is an initial list.

Suspension, including steering, springs, shocks, front end parts



Rear End and Driveshaft


Paint and Body



As people start suggestions and Joe get's working we will update the restoration's progress.

Remember, in the end it is Joe's decision as to what he does to the Valiant! Please stay focused on the project and respect other people's opinions when you send suggestions. Remember, other options that are suggested but not used will doubtless prove beneficial to other people in their own restoration projects. Thanks!

Restoration web page uploaded April 9, 1999
Last update: April 11, 1999; revised and moved to the new web site garage August 18, 1999.

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