ixo Dodge_Valiant_Acapulco

MCHOF’22: IXO Dodge Valiant Acapulco Does Simple Right

The 1963 Valiant holds an interesting spot in Chrysler’s design history. The previous Valiant, often referred to as the road toad” was, umm, complicated. And not pretty. It was a lumpy, overwrought design with so many bulges and chrome tidbits that one could hardly believe it came from the company that brought the sleek “Forward Look” to their cars a few years earlier.

So the next generation Valiant was kind of bland by comparison. So why would someone make a model of it? And why should it be the Model Car Hall of Fame’s choice for 1/43 Model of the Year for 2022? Let’s explore. 

ixo Dodge_Valiant_Acapulco front

By toning down the absolute weirdness of the Road Toad, MOPAR created a nice-looking mid-size car, which was kind of a big thing in that era. Nothing too controversial, but it had some neat lines. Of course, a couple of years later, they would add a tapering wraparound glass fastback to the car (along with a bigger engine!) to create the original Plymouth Barracuda. Yes, this modest Valiant served as the basis for the first muscle car from Chrysler.

In case you are wondering, depending on what country you lived in, the Valiant was marketed as a Dodge, Plymouth or Chrysler with no significant changes aside from the badges.

It was the kind of car you drove if you wanted to stand out but still stay in budget. IXO captures the sedate spirit of the Acapulco variant with nice attention to detail and proportions. It’s a perfect bridge from the bloated excess of the 1950s styling to the howling excess of the muscle car era. For bringing this automotive artifact to life, the IXO 1963 Vailiant is the Model Car Hall of Fame’s 1/43 Model of the Year.

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