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I have decided to look for a car with a 170 slant 6 and an automatic, preferably a 4 door. Nameplate not important. I want a super reliable and durable car. What were the most common, and what would be the cheapest to maintain and drive? What might be harder to find body parts and trim for? The early 60s models look great with the swoopy styling but seem like they might be harder to find parts and trim for. Issues to look for? Most cars I see for sale have the 225, but I would really like a 170. Thanks!
 

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Since the 170 wasn't that common, I think you need to look for the best car you can with the 170, knowing that body and trim parts won't be particularly easy to find for any of them. You will probably find more parts for the "square" 1967+ Dart and Valiant and probably more Dart than Valiant parts so 1967-1969 Dart. As these cars age, rust is a big factor. It will be cheaper to buy the most rust free example you can afford rather than a cheap rusty car.

The benefit of the 170 is its fast revving design (at least compared to a 225 slant 6), but that benefit isn't as great with an automatic.
 

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I have owned both 170 and 225's and there is not much an MPG difference to justify the 170 over the 225. This just of my personal experience.

I had the 170 with the auto, so if you are set on a 170, I would have the manual trans.

I have noticed that highway MPG with 170(about 25-26) is a tad better, but city MPG with the 225(15-20) is better.
 
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I think the 170 is not only hard to find, but underpowered in everything it's in, and you'll be into the throttle enough to get the same gas mileage as the 225. The 225 1-bbl in a Dart with 3-spd auto gave me as high as 23 mpg highway and 18 city. Dart, Valiant or Duster/Demon are your best bets.
 

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I am not looking for power, was wanting to get the engine in it's earliest form as originally designed. I appreciate the input! I will probably end up getting a 225 just because the 170 is harder to find.
 

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225 was also made for many more years and offered in many more different models of cars than the 170.
 
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First generation cars are too rare to find parts. The second generation A-bodies are the lightest weight and the stock engines will get the best mileage, plus you can get a four speed manual. Mechanical parts are mostly available, but sheet metal not so much.

The first couple of years of the third generation have much more sheet metal available, but emissions rules kill both mileage and performance.

If I was on the same quest, I'd get a second generation car with a 225 and a four speed. The mandatory things I'd change soon would be 14" tires and manual disc brakes on the front. Thirteen inch tires are getting near impossible to find, and disc brakes are a hundred times better than the stock 9" drums. From there, it all depends on what else is important to you.
 

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If you can find a base Valiant 100, it's more likely have the 170 slant 6. Those from the '64 through '66 model years were pretty common, though parts will be an issue for any vehicle from that long ago. If you buy one, you might also consider a parts car, if you have the room for it.

The 1960 Valiants had an optional "Hyper Pack" 170 with 4-barrel carburetor. Since the 225 made roughly the same amount of horsepower, that was more often the option chosen. The Hyper Pack was eventually offered on the 225.

The slant six Hyper-Pak (at https://www.allpar.com/mopar/hyper-pak.html )
 

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A 198 cu in was offered for a short while (1970-74) after the 170 was discontinued in 1969.
The rear axle ratio will have some effect on fuel economy/acceleration. The 4-speed A-833 was an overdrive, but you don't want to go too steep with ratios.
The Valiant (V-100) Signet was a value level car.
My friend at school had a Valiant Brougham that was downright luxurious.
 

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I think the 170 is not only hard to find, but underpowered in everything it's in, and you'll be into the throttle enough to get the same gas mileage as the 225. The 225 1-bbl in a Dart with 3-spd auto gave me as high as 23 mpg highway and 18 city. Dart, Valiant or Duster/Demon are your best bets.
Particularly "- underpowered in everything it's in, -"
We would be having same discussions with varying opinions - IF the (t44e6's) choice was for a 273 over a 360. It can be all about 'bang for the buck' and in that case, no substitution for cubic inches (except, perhaps, rectangular $ ).
 

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Since the 170 wasn't that common, I think you need to look for the best car you can with the 170, knowing that body and trim parts won't be particularly easy to find for any of them. You will probably find more parts for the "square" 1967+ Dart and Valiant and probably more Dart than Valiant parts so 1967-1969 Dart. As these cars age, rust is a big factor. It will be cheaper to buy the most rust free example you can afford rather than a cheap rusty car.

The benefit of the 170 is its fast revving design (at least compared to a 225 slant 6), but that benefit isn't as great with an automatic.
Then a 60 or 61 Valiant would be the most likely choice as the 170 was standard and the 225 didn't become available as an option until some time later.

Also a base model Valiant or Dart would be more likely to have the 170.

I mistakenly replaced a 170 in my 63 Signet years ago, mistakenly thinking it was standard in that model. Wrong. I found out years later that not only was my car a 170, but that 170s only had four leaf springs and the 225 five.
Had I not bee so ignorant, I'd have kept the 170. I saw 23 mpg on the road back from Yuma the day I drove it home to LA in 1982 [170/3speed manual]. I've never seen that with the 225 and 3M.

Check Allpar's Slant Six page: A durability legend with performance upgrades: Mopar slant six engines (at https://www.allpar.com/slant6.html ). It tells how to check the difference between a 170 and a 225.

Perhaps a 198 later model would be a good compromise for both mileage and automatic.
 

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First generation cars are too rare to find parts. The second generation A-bodies are the lightest weight and the stock engines will get the best mileage, plus you can get a four speed manual. Mechanical parts are mostly available, but sheet metal not so much.

The first couple of years of the third generation have much more sheet metal available, but emissions rules kill both mileage and performance.

If I was on the same quest, I'd get a second generation car with a 225 and a four speed. The mandatory things I'd change soon would be 14" tires and manual disc brakes on the front. Thirteen inch tires are getting near impossible to find, and disc brakes are a hundred times better than the stock 9" drums. From there, it all depends on what else is important to you.
Good luck finding one with a 4 speed. 3 on the tree or floor is vastly more common.
 

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A 198 cu in was offered for a short while (1970-74) after the 170 was discontinued in 1969.
The rear axle ratio will have some effect on fuel economy/acceleration. The 4-speed A-833 was an overdrive, but you don't want to go too steep with ratios.
The Valiant (V-100) Signet was a value level car.
My friend at school had a Valiant Brougham that was downright luxurious.
Valiant V-100 was the bottom of the line. Signet was like Falcon's Futura or Corvair's Monza.

But my own 63 Signet came with all the Signet luxuries [buckets, hardtop body style, standard carpet, etc] but only 170, radio, heater and possibly whitewalls as options.
 

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The percentage of 225s with four speeds in my part of the country was quite high when I was selling them in '64. Valiants were probably 60-40, automatics to 4-speeds, while V100 manuals were mostly 3-speeds on the column. Actually, I don't recall us ever ordering a V100 4-speed. We didn't get any Barracudas with 3-speed manuals, but that first year, we were rationed in the number of Barracudas we could get from the factory.

Of course, now that it's been so long since either the car or the engine have been in production, the enthusiasts have gathered up most of the A-body slant 4-speeds, but you still see them for sale now and then.

The '63 Signet I bought in '66 had a 225 with TorqueFlite, but otherwise pretty short on options, but I loved it! The '64 V200 convertible I own now has been upgraded to Signet trim and extensively modernized and improved mechanically.
 

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I had a 1968 Dart 225 908 auto. After putting on a Holley Economaster, and jetting one step rich, I'd get 25 highway or city in good weather.
Also had radial tires on 14x 5.5 steel wheels.
The car weighed in at an honest 2750 lbs. Bench seat. AM radio. Manual brakes and steering.
Was a nice car for the $600. I paid. Had 95,xxx miles on it when purchased. Also, lashed the valves - huge improvement in power!
I had it for about 3 years in the early 80s.

Bottom line: you don't always need a manual trans for decent mileage.

Later, I had a 74 Dart, 198, 3 on the tree. I could not top that 68 for power of MPGs. The 74 weighted a lot more! (400+lbs.)
Power steering and brakes, door side beams, bigger bumpers.... All adds up
 
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