Stock Rebuild/Restore


It is always exciting to get a story in that is all in the family. Such is the case with Jason Stevens 1962 Plymouth Valiant.

Originally purchased by his grandfather, this vehicle has served his family well. Going from grandfather, to aunt and now to him, he had promised his aunt that he would restore it.

This is the story of that promise being kept.

This article is about a build in progress. Make sure you come back often to see any updates made.

Make sure you go to the bottom to see all of the pictures of this great car!

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What type of vehicle?


Who is the first owner of the project and is it still their project?

Me (Jason Stevens)

When was it purchased?

1963 by my grandfather John J. Stevens Sr. His daughter Eunice (Stevens) Cooper inherited it in 1966 (I inherited it in 2002 and it has been in storage ever since)

How much was it purchased for? (This is optional, mostly so people can get an idea of what a project may cost)

$1300.00 in 1963 as a demonstrator in Kingsport TN

Why this vehicle?

My grandfather’s car. I promised my Aunt Eunice before she passed that I would restore it so I am keeping that promise.

Give me some backstory, are you a mechanic, do you like to fabricate, are you really good at body work, etc. Some info about you.

I am a retired 31 year US Navy veteran. I was submarine officer. I was a Data 26943071_10155244194397335_351573883_nSystems Technician in my early days repairing submarine torpedo fire control systems before I became an officer. I was then a nuclear weapons officer on 2 nuclear submarines, an engineer on a diesel submarine, a deep sea diver and commanded a special mission unit collecting submarine launched missile telemetry data before I went into anti-terrorism and force protection for the submarine force, future concept analysis for NATO and conversion of ballistic submarines to guided missile capable submarines before retiring in 2008.

Before the Navy I worked as an auto mechanic and did general building maintenance.

I have owned and maintained 2 1968 390 cu in AMXs, a 1965 389 cu in GTO, a 1967 351 Windsor Cougar XR7, a 1968 427 cu in corvette Stingray convertible and a 1963 Jaguar MK4 3.8 ltr sedan.

I have restored an old house (built in 1885) and did nearly all of the work myself.

I just like to repair / maintain things!!

Info about the vehicle prior to starting it. (i.e., condition, missing parts, just needed paint, no engine, etc.)

When I started the project, I thought it would be a few bolt-on engine refreshes and a little body work / paint….ha ha.

What have you done to it so far?

The engine is the only major system that is really fine. The engine is the basic 170 ci in slant six  and has a little over 30K miles on it.

I replaced all pumps / electrical, cooling / heating components, fuel tank and lines / carburetor and wiring harness just so I could start with a good prime mover. It runs like a sewing machine.

Since I began I have converted it to front disc brakes, replaced all the brake lines and customized the drive shaft to accommodate improved U-joints.

The transmission is fine and I am considering moving the shifter to the floor. If I do that I will replace the clutch at the same time.

I have had all the upholstery and door panels redone  red and white tuck and roll, powder-coated all the grill and headlamp bezels and interior trim “Festival Red”.

I have a replacement package tray, re-chromed the bumpers, have a replacement headlight conversion kit from old sealed beam system to LED throughout the entire car and dash, have refurbished the instrument panel and re-chromed all the trim I intend to replace (some original trim will not be used).

I have put 14” rally wheels that will be powder coated to match the “Festival Red” grill and headlamp bezels and interior metal trim and put on Cooper Cobra Radial GT tires.

Where is it now, in the rebuild stage?

It is currently in the body shop (Charleston Chrome and Collision). They are going to totally redo the body as we found that it had been in an accident and there was some very creative body work done on her.

I am replacing both rear quarter panels due to rust, repairing / reinforcing frame areas that rusted out, straightening the body from the accident, repairing one door hinge replacing the rocker panels due to rust welding up the fastener holes for the trim that will not be replaced, sandblasting the undercarriage and undercoating it. After the body is done and primed, the A/C kit will be added, the exhaust will be customized to be dual and the car will be painted “Wimbledon White”.

Lastly the interior will be installed and the only piece I have not readied for that is the refurb of the steering wheel which is OK, but has some cracking and needs repainting. I have a kit from Eckler’s which I will do myself along with the interior replacement and conversion to bucket seats…

Any special parts you have used?

Disc brake conversion kit (got it from Pirate Jack, but it was a disaster and I would NEVER recommend them for ANYTHING!!),  Gabriel air shocks front and rear – easy conversion…LED lighting conversion – again easy to do…everything else is pretty much stock….

Any help you have gotten? (i.e., friend(s), a garage, body shop, parts supplier, box store or online, yahoo videos that were helpful, etc.)

The folks at Portside Jaguar and Range Rover in Mount Pleasant, SC (Tucker Birch) were invaluable in the effort to assess the car’s condition, getting it running perfectly, make recommendations, replacement of the gas tank and drive shaft and getting the disc brake conversion done.

Tri-City Plating in Elizabethton, TN is fantastic for chrome.

Charleston Chrome and Collision is amazing with all the help on the body work and restoration / mechanical conversion efforts. did a great job on the instrument cluster (not cheap)

For ABodies Only website is invaluable in getting parts / advice from other MOPAR aficionados was again great for pot metal repair / re-chroming (not cheap)

Marchant Powder Coating in North Charleston SC was really good and reasonable for powder-coating work.

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