Awesome Hemi-powered Valiant combines crazy attention to detail with classic patina

Photographers: Alastair Ritchie

VALIANT is a name revered by Aussie Mopar freaks, but it doesn’t quite find the same favour in Chrysler’s homeland. Back in the States, the Plymouth Valiant was a dowdy economy model, and about as exciting as an Amish barbeque. They never covered themselves in motorsport glory, and weren’t the sexy muscle machines being used by cool characters in movies, so they were never something Americans aspired to build into street machines.

But Don Montgomery’s raw ’69 two-door might change that, with killer pro-touring styling, a stout new-gen Hemi up front and crazy custom details, all topped off with that cool original patina. Built by Grant and Jesse down at the Greening Auto Company, it’s been finished to an elite standard, but on first appearances looks like a dirty old street brawler.

“I found the car in a secret salvage yard in Sedona and bought it just because it was in such good condition,” says Don. “The entire exterior of the vehicle is original. We haven’t touched anything, except sealing it with satin clearcoat. That was the hardest part of the whole build, just fitting the 6.4-litre Hemi without damaging that non-replaceable patina on the body panels.”

As the olive-green two-door-post needed to handle curves far better than any original A-body, the decision was made to replace the undercarriage with a brand spankers Art Morrison frame. But that was just one piece of the handling package.

The chassis was kitted out with an Art Morrison swaybar and four-link rear-end package, plus rack-and-pinion steering, Ridetech coilovers and fat six-piston Baer brake calipers clamping 14-inch rotors. The compact shell rides low and heavily raked over the mandrel-bent frame, giving a super-aggressive look with the fat 18 and 19-inch wheels that Greening Auto Company custom-made for Don.

“They’re genuine knock-off mounts,” says Don, “and they measure 10 inches wide in front and 12 inches out the back, with Goodyear run-flat tyres.”

The big hoops and slammed stance meant Greening Auto Company had to fabricate a new fuel cell, tubs, floorpan and trans tunnel, before they even got to the engine bay. Up front the welders and grinders copped a workout, sitting the big fourth-gen Hemi back into the firewall and handcrafting the alloy inner guards, radiator shroud and raw-finished intake scoops.

To help the 6.4-litre engine be all it can be, the guys stitched together a full custom exhaust system, custom sump and re-mounted the oil filter. The standard cam made way for a tougher Comp Cams unit, and the tall long-runner intake was ditched for a custom intake manifold topped with individual throttle bodies made to look like old downdraft Weber carbies.

The carbs have been finished in a super-cool dark matte-brown coating, to match the GAC-made rocker covers that mimic those found on first-gen Hemi engines. They’re good enough to fool most into thinking the Valiant has an old-school Hemi up front – although the front-mounted dizzy has had a few scratching their heads.

Grant and Jesse have slipped just a few alloy detail points into the car. Okay, so there’s more than a few: gauge bezels; console trim; fluid reservoirs; fuel filler; mirror mounts; gear shifter; dash switches; grille; handmade rear bumper with exhaust cut-outs; custom car badges; knock-off lugs for the custom wheels. They’re scattered all through the car, lending it a bare, industrial style that merges with the pro-touring engineering and weathered patina body for a perfect hardcore result.

Long drives are certainly made nicer with the addition of JVC navigation, Vintage Air, and a Kicker sound system with a backing chorus supplied by 600hp worth of Hemi V8.

Another cool feature – done just for this car – is the lighting. Hella projection headlights are matched up with custom-made LED driving lights, tail-lights and turn signals, all working far better than original filament jobbies.

Don, a resident of Sedona, Arizona, has a garage full of cool old rods and exotics, but this Mopar was built to clock hard road miles, and he’s been making the most of it. So far he’s done over 8000 in just five months, including driving it to and from the SEMA show last year.

You may well ask why it’s called ‘Pissed Off’? Well, Don reckons it’s the car’s calling. “If you’d been left to rot in the Arizona sun for 45 years, wouldn’t you be?”