River Sky has started the engine and gotten her own Valiant rental business up and running.
As the owner of seven Plymouth Valiants—every model from 1963 to 1966—Sky is keenly aware of people’s interest in classic cars. “I can’t go anywhere without people honking, waving, smiling,” says Sky. “I go to fill up with gas and I give myself an extra 15 minutes or more because I know it’s going to take [longer]. People are going to be coming and talking to me and I don’t want to be rude.”
Sky decided to start renting her Valiants for weddings, date nights, and even girls’ nights out, after she realized how interested the community was in going for a ride in a classic car and taking photos with it. She offers her driving and professional photography services as part of the event packages and can tailor the packages to fit the needs of clients.
The options are limitless. Sky says she can take individuals out for photoshoots, drive them to dinner, take them back to a club, or stop along the way to get ice cream.
Sky has always been a lover of classic cars, especially Valiants. “My very first car was a 1963 Plymouth Valiant and I bought it for a whole $100,” explains Sky. “I drove that car for the better part of my formative years in high school… Even though some people had fancier, faster cars—nobody cared. Everybody absolutely loved my little car.”
“Ever since then,” continues Sky, “I’ve always had such a keen interest in classic cars.” When she came across a 1964 Plymouth Valiant years later, she jumped at the opportunity to get back into a classic car.
“They’re such unique looking cars,” says Sky. “They have the pushbutton typewriter style gearshift on the dash and… a little sliding parking lever on the early ones [the ’60 and ’64 models…] and it was always a point of fascination for me.”
Sky started learning how to restore her Valiants after she realized how expensive it was bringing the cars into the shop. She hired a mechanic to teach her how to rebuild an engine, and she uses service manuals, books, and even Facebook groups and YouTube videos to learn more about restoring the cars. “As soon as you get over the fear of getting your hands in there and working on things, the better it is,” she explains. “I love being a part of that car from every nut, every bolt, to then taking that out and letting other people enjoy [the car] as well.” Now, she does everything including mechanical work, welding, and autobody repair.
While the restoration process can take up to eight years with classic cars like Valiants, Sky isn’t hung up on perfection. “I make sure that the cars are mechanically sound. That’s my first and foremost, to make sure that the cars are safe to be on the road. And from there I start working on the cosmetic part of it,” she says. “And to me there’s no point in spending thousands and thousands of dollars re-chroming a piece of chrome that nobody’s going to see… I’m an imperfect person and I don’t care if my cars are perfect and have a little blemish, a little fault here and there.”
So far, Sky has driven a couple in her 1965 convertible on their wedding day. They had been looking for a classic car for almost a year-and-a-half. “There aren’t many people that are willing to loan out their vehicles for photo shoots, for film, for weddings,” Sky explains, and she is happy to bridge that gap.
Sky is also passionate about empowering women through her business. “I want to start teaching and inspiring other women to get involved in stuff like this,” she says. “You can do it. It’s not just a guys’ domain. If you really want to know how to do it, you can.”
Two of Sky’s Valiants, the four door 1964 sedan and the 1965 convertible, are currently available for date night packages, weddings, and more.
Check out valgalmotors on Instagram for more information.