1965 Plymouth Valiant
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1965 Plymouth Valiant

This car was given to me by a friend as a gift in a moment of need when my 1980 Datsun 200SX was down waiting for a replacement engine after it went out on involuntary U-Boat duty. (Ingesting gallons of muddy water into an engine does bad things to bearings in short order...) It was scary to drive, but in a fun sort of college car way. The master cylinder was shot, so the brake pedal slowly faded to the floor, the floor was mostly missing due to rust, and the car blew an oil-smoke cloud constantly - under power it literally spit droplets of black oil out the tailpipe! On the plus side, it started every time, idled great, and always got me where I needed to go. I was putting a quart of oil in for every tank of gas (sometimes more oil than that) and it made a greasy mess, but it was free and fun.

This car had an odd history that is worth mentioning. It was given to me by Dan "Shag" Birchall, of Quartz BBS - and no doubt many other Internet places - fame. He nicknamed it the "Shagmobile" - you do the math - and it was rather infamous around NJ at the time because it was so memorable. Anyways, when I drove the car home for the first time, my fiancée at the time about flipped out and asked me where I got the car from. When I told her, she explained the Dan and his sister went to the same private school that my fiancée had gone too and that this was the car that Mrs. Birchall had brought Dan and her sister to school with every day for years and years. Even then the car was memorable, I guess. Anyway, I never knew that I had inadvertently met up with a few folks from my fiancée's past and gotten to be good friends with them without her ever knowing about it. It was really odd when they met again and a BBS folks' gathering. I found out later I had a habit of meeting other folks from her past without ever knowing that our social circles were always so close - we were about 3 degrees away in the proverbial "6 degrees to Kevin Bacon" style of relationship tracking. The two odder ones that stand out are that 1) I ended up working with and splitting rent with one of her ex-boyfriends when I moved out here to WA, and that 2) while I was still in NJ, another friend of mine had an ex-girlfriend who ended up splitting rent with a rather notorious alumni from the private school my fiancée had gone to - the woman had killed two of her kids by letting them starve to death and claimed she didn't remember a thing. Very odd, but memorable. And almost completely unrelated to this car. It's my page of memories, so I figure I'm entitled to ramble a bit.


Purchasing Order

This was car #4. It was my first and only Mopar, my first experience with the Slant 6 engine, my only experience with a column mounted manual shifter, my first experience with front drum brakes, and my first real experience with rust.

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Page last updated 01/02/2009 01:51:39 PM