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How much did it weigh? 1974 Valiant/Dart, 1972 Imperial, and their options

by David Zatz

These figures come from extensive reports filed by Chrysler Corporation with the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association (MVMA). A full list of specifications could take up 30 pages. They also estimated the curb and shipping weights of new cars, and the additional weight for each of their options. We’ve extracted two reports, for the Plymouth Valiant and the Imperial.

1974 Valiant (similar to 1974 Dodge Dart)

When the 1974 Valiant sedan and hardtop moved to the Dodge Dart’s wheelbase, Chrysler issued a new set of Valiant specifications to the MVMA. The forms listed the curb weights for the Plymouth Duster two-door coupe, as well as the Valiant four-door and the Valiant Scamp two-door hardtop. (The Duster was not listed as a Valiant but was included in the Valiant specifications and was closely based on the 1970 Valiant.)

Valiant on scale

The Duster body was unchanged for 1974, so it had a shorter wheelbase than the other Valiants; and as a result, it was the lightest of the Valiants, though not by much. The curb weights for each car were:

Curb Weight Six-Cyl 318 V8 360 V8
Duster 3,055 3,155 3,395
Valiant 3,115 3,215  
Scamp 3,090 3,190  

Shipping weight was for the car itself, coolant, oil, transmission fluid, and three gallons of fuel. Curb weight was the car with “full quantities”  of coolant, oil, and fuel. Chrysler estimated that the difference was 80 pounds for each of these cars, most of which would be gasoline.

The numbers are estimates and almost certainly rounded off, as well—they all end in 0 or 5. Complicating factors a bit was the fact that bigger engines also added weight to the suspension, radiator, and sometimes for the brakes and wheels. The Duster 360’s heavier-duty transmission also added to its weight.

These weights were almost certainly within a few pounds of the nearly identical Dodge Dart, if not identical to the Dart. The 1974-76 Valiant and Dart had precious few differences.

The options may be more interesting than the estimated weights. The base car had a 198 cubic inch slant six (which shared the 225’s block), and, because it was ordered by a vast majority of buyers, Chrysler treated the Torqueflite three-speed automatic as the base transmission for the car.

With all that said, here is the increase in weight for many of the options:

There were also some items whose weight varied depending on the engine:

Added Weight (lb) 6 Cyl 318 V8 360 V8
3-speed manual trans -13 60 6
4-speed manual trans n/a 96 33
Air conditioning 97 112 106
Heavy duty suspension 26 20 (std)

Why would air conditioning vary? When you ordered air conditioning back in the day, the factory changed the cooling system as needed to keep up with the extra load. That could mean a bigger fan (or more blades), a fan shroud, and/or a bigger radiator. The bigger radiator added the most weight. If one bought the towing package, air conditioning might not add anything because the most effective cooling might already have been installed. Likewise, the four speed manual transmission would add 96 pounds over the 318 V8’s A-904 TorqueFlite, but only 33 pounds over the 360’s heavy-duty A-727 TorqueFlite. A heavy duty suspension added to a 318 V8 would add less weight than it did to the slant six, because the V8 already had more leaves in the leaf-spring rear suspension; and the 360 came with the heavy duty suspension.

In short, while option weight figures are more likely to be accurate than the overall vehicle weight estimates, they could vary based on which other options were installed.

1972 Imperial

The Valiant was the smallest Chrysler passenger car (not counting wagons and vans) made in the United States, while the biggest was the 1972 Imperial. The 1972 Imperial LeBaron came with one engine, the 440 cubic inch V8; it was sold only as a hardtop, in two-door and four-door form. With its larger fuel tank and radiator, the Imperial’s curb weight was 150 pounds over the shipping weight. The two-door hardtop weighed in at 4,940 pounds; the four-door hardtop at 5,070 pounds. These were true luxury cars for the time, made in small numbers; they had all the sound insulation the company could add.

The Imperial had few options, some of which are surprising. Here they are with their added weight:

Option Pounds
Dual air conditioning with
automatic temperature control
Power bench front seat 25
Power 50/50 split front seat 48
Cruise control 5
Power locks (two-door) 7
Power locks (four-door) 11
Skid control* 71
Rear window defroster 4

* Skid control, which Chrysler marked as “Sure-Brake,” was the first four-wheel antilock brake setup in an American car; the option had launched on the 1971 Imperial.

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