You may say that Ron Silva got lucky that he painted his Valiant silver. It allows him to give his car a cool nickname, such as "Silva Valiant" or "Silvaliant." But what would a cool nickname be if the car couldn't back it up? Well luckily, Ron brought it all to the plate and called his shot to the fence. He put the car on an extreme diet, added the appropriate power, and then painted it in a fancy shade of silver. When it comes down to it, he hit this one out of the park.
Ron isn't new to the Mopar game. He learned about them from a very young age and pledged his allegiance to the A-Body for their superior power-to-weight ratio. That brought him to his '71 Demon. That car earned a lot of respect in its own right for Ron's attention to detail and his well-put-together combination. He owned it for 11 years and sold it in 2005. He was foolish to believe that he wouldn't have the motivation to build another and he couldn't ignore it.
"I really like the Valiant two-door sedan body style from '67 to '69," he says. "After selling my Demon, I had the desire to build an all around driver car, something I liked to call a street touring car."
This Mopar crate engine is soon to be tossed in favor of something a little more muscular.
In order to get this project off the ground, that meant he would have to find a car. With the resource of eBay Motors, it didn't take long for Ron to narrow his selection down to a '69 Valiant that was located in Florida. "It was a '69, which meant it had the one-year grille. I love that grille because it looks so ahead of its time!" Dealing with the seller was cake, too. He answered all his phone calls and questions right up until Ron took delivery. Ron tells us, "Once I got the car, he wouldn't pick up the phone because he knew he was lying through his teeth!"
When the car arrived, he found out that he received a Slant-Six powered, rusted out unusable shell of a Valiant. This drove him through the roof. While stripping the shell, he kept finding rust all over the body and frame of the car. It was nothing like the seller said it was and the pictures were deceitful. "I fixed it up as much as I could and then stuck it back on eBay for a $1,000 loss," he admits. It was a tough pill to swallow but he moved forward.
While he was back on eBay, he found this '67 that you see here. He vowed to never buy another car on that site again without seeing it in person first. Thankfully, this one was only about an hour south of his home in Alta Loma, California, so Ron drove down to take a look. Everything added up. Ron discussed the '67 with the seller and he was kind enough to reveal his reserve on the auction. After some thought, he decided to bid the reserve in the last 20 seconds of the auction, and won. It was a running and driving car that was in very poor mechanical shape, but the body was a rust free desert car and that's exactly what he wanted. Well, almost exactly what he wanted. He still held hopes for a '69.
After about a year of the Valiant sitting, he gave up on the dream of finding a '69, and since he had an excellent '67 sitting in his garage he decided to get started. Ron tore the car apart and worked hand over fist to get the car finished. "I worked on the car every single day for 23 months, maybe taking a break from the car four or five days," he says. "I was determined to build the car and make it into something that could win car shows but also lay down a good number at the track."
Before he knew it, the car was down to a bare shell. He borrowed a dolly from his friends Doug and Bryan Sloan so that he could move the car around, and he sent it off to paint. This is when his meticulous attention to detail began on the car. This car may hide it well, but Ron has carefully modified nearly every item on it. From the body to the interior and wiring, this A-Body has been gone over thoroughly.
The two-tone blue interior played a major part in the exterior hue.
To say that Ron was obsessed with shedding weight is hardly an understatement. "I went through every piece of the car and thought about if it could be removed, replaced, or lightened," he says. The center shaft of the steering column was drilled including the centerlink and door hinges. The front bumper bolts and washers were replaced with aluminum, the hood pins and jam nuts-all aluminum. Even the steering wheel is aluminum. Then he moved onto titanium. The front bumper brackets bolt to the frame with titanium bolts, and the wheel studs, flange nuts, and a majority of the suspension bolts are lightweight titanium. As a firm believer in weight bias, this brought the car to be properly biased to the rear by approximately 100 pounds-with the driver in place. The total weight of the car comes out to 2,900 pounds, and that's with an iron-headed crate engine and rear weight ballast. Ron even took it so far to have the exhaust made from 16-gauge aluminized pipe and was even upset that he wasn't able to get the even thinner 18-gauge pipe.
Another area Ron obsessed over was the color selection. He was originally going to go with a green color but once he chose a blue interior, he knew that green wouldn't work. Then he saw a silver Jeep Wrangler and a 3/4 ton Ford Truck and liked the way they looked. He eventually decided on a generic PPG silver because it gives the car a modern-paint look.
Titanium lugs and lightweight Weld Alumistar II wheels are just the beginning of the massi
With the paint dry, Ron dropped in a Mopar Performance 406 crate engine. He didn't make any effort to lighten the engine because he plans to swap in a "good motor" sometime in the future. His Demon had a 474-inch engine that was fun to drive around, and made incredible power. It also had lightweight internals and aluminum heads, shaving off a clean 50 pounds. "I would like to go with something similar in this car and it would also bring the weight to around 2,850 pounds!"
In the meantime, Ron has been driving the car everywhere and entering shows. His attention to detail was really what caught our attention since it's always great to see a car that has more to it than meets the eye. Ron's obsession with weight and a modern spin on appearance make this A-Body a grand slam. Especially considering the performance. So far, it has run a best of 11.07 at 118 mph with an astonishing 1.49 60-foot. As the motor breaks in, Ron would like to see a 10.99. We think it can be done! Now he can concentrate on really enjoying his Valiant since he's gotten over his weight issues.
'67 Plymouth Valiant 100
Owned by: Ron Silva; Alta Loma, California
- Engine: A Mopar Performance 406 crate engine. The entire rotating assembly uses SCAT parts and features a Mopar .501/.513 230/234 hydraulic roller camshaft. Bolted to the block are Mopar Magnum RT big-valve heads, which receive air and fuel from an M-1 intake and Race Demon carb. The ignition has been converted to the popular MSD Digital 6 controller. The headers were made by Ron and are stepped. They flow into a 3-inch exhaust with Dynomax Super Turbo mufflers.
- Transmission: Dave Smith at Pro Trans in Lancaster, California, is a good friend of Ron's and he built the 904 to handle the future power upgrades. It uses an ATI converter with a Pro Trans shift kit and a B&M Pro Stick.
- Rearend: A Mark Williams 9-inch with an aluminum spool and 40-spline gun-drilled axles. The final drive comes from Richmond 4.10 gears.
- Suspension: Underneath the Valiant is an assortment of suspension and chassis goodies, starting with 2x3 frame ties. The front frame was boxed and fully welded for strength. Ron added Firm Feel adjustable strut rods and Mopar drag race torsion bars and polyurethane bushings up front. Out back, Tri City Launcher leaf springs were installed and all four corners have Strange double adjustable shocks. The steering box was also rebuilt by Firm Feel.
- Brakes: Mark Williams light weight disc brakes on both ends.
- Wheels and Tires: Weld Alumistar II wheels look incredible and they're also very light. Ron's wheels measure 15x3 1/2 up front and 15x10 rear. Massive Hoosier 28x11.5x15 QTP tires launch the car to short times in the high 1.40s while Mickey Thompson front runners help keep front weight down.
- Paint and Body: A VFN Fiberglass hood and front bumper are the only fiberglass parts. The front and rear wheelwell openings were stretched and the gas filler was shaved. All paint and body work was performed by George Hernandez at Pollo's Auto Body and Restorations. The paint is a PPG Base Clear called Mack Silver.
- Interior: Ron went with a two-tone blue interior and sourced his seats from Summit Racing. Paul's Auto Trim in Ontario, California, restored and reupholstered the interior. A Speedway Motors aluminum steering wheel was put on to save weight.