Tan Is The New Black?


I was at a car cruise the other night with
my ’64 Valiant Signet, 273 two-barrel. It
has been in my family since new, and,
while certainly not a show car, I have tried
to, in the 20 years that I have been in
charge of it, keep it in good condition
and as original as possible.
A guy at the cruise told me that
my distributor cap should be black,
but mine is tan. He said that tan did
not start until 1965. Is he right?

He’s wrong. Tan alkyd caps were
phased in during late model year

  1. The later the build date of the
    car, the greater the odds that it was
    built with tan.
    The 273, you should remember, was
    a mid-year introduction, heralded as
    “America’s lowest-priced V8.” Nevertheless,
    I am certain that many ’64 273s were
    built with black caps. Saying, however,
    that no ’64 Mopars were tan is, as I said,
    simply wrong, but I might add that I have
    never personally seen an unmolested ’64
    dual-point car (Prestolite dist.) with the
    cap (P/N 258500), although that number
    does appear in the later editions of the ’64
    parts catalog. So, your guess…

    1965-up, through at least well into the
    ’70s, all were tan—take that to the bank.
    Tan distributor caps were phased in late in MY

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