Chrysler Valiant VC
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
The release of the VC Valiant in March 1966
heralded the true beginning of the “Battle of the Big Three”. The Chrysler stylists had been busy creating a car that looked longer, lower and sleeker than any previous model, even though it was basically only a facelift of the previous AP5/AP6 design, the overall dimensions remaining virtually unchanged.
Chrysler advertisements of the day highlighted the new grille and front-end treatment, claiming it to posses a “bold new styling” and “up to the minute sculpting”. To create the new look the designer’s fitted deep-set bumper bars fitted with recessed park/turn signal lights. A new look rear was created for the sedan, it now afforded different and individual panels and tail lights; the Safari wagons and Wayfarer utilities carried over the panels and lights from the AP6, although the Wayfarer did have a new bonnet and front guards.
The familiar “slant-six” was also carried over, although quite some work had gone into making the engine smoother and more economical. Chrysler claimed the VC offered “extensive mechanical refinements”, such as a new steering
column and three-speed all-synchromesh gearbox. This was the first release of Borg Warner’s Australian “common industry” manual transmission
, and showed those who bemoaned the loss of the push button automatic system in the previous model why Chrysler had been forced to adopt the “common industry” standards of the day, particularly with the Commonwealth Government pushing the manufacturer to up the local content on the Valiant to 95%.
Chrysler also introduced a greater degree of individuality between the models not seen in previous iterations. The Valiant, Regal and V8 each had individualised hubcaps, horn-rings and steering
wheel motif, while the V8 sedans carried over the use of a vinyl roof. The V8 wagon was fitted with a chrome roof rack and stainless steel air deflectors on each side of the tailgate, designed to help keep dust and dirt from building up on the rear glass.
Helping with safety, each Valiant was fitted with full-width instrument panel crash padding, seat belt anchor points, safety door locks, a modified zone windscreen, lift up interior door handles, wide double-sided safety wheel rims, lower profile tyres
and a larger glass area. All this contributed to the increase in weight, by 36kg to 45kg depending on the model.
Also adding to the increase in weight were the many now standard features, such as windscreen washers, fresh air ventilation, vanity mirror, armrests on all doors, reversing lights, coat hooks, new-look floor mats and variable intensity instrument lighting, while to provide some protection at the local supermarket a full length chrome strip ran almost the entire length of the car. And all of these were fitted to the base model!
The Regal and V8 iterations also included a heater and demister with two speed fan, full carpeting, central armrests, prismatic anti glare rear-view mirror, boot light, courtesy light switch gear to all four doors, “sponge vinyl” trim, door sill skuff plates, two tone steering
wheel, wheel trim rings, dual horns, air deflectors on the station wagons and whitewall tyres. The V8 also sported new bucket seats with full length console plus a glove compartment and ashtray.
The revised automatic transmission
lever had a straight fore and aft selection with a push-button lock-out release. On both Regal and V8 models the three-speed TorqueFlite transmission
was standard. Contrasting the high level of creature comforts now gracing the VC models, the Wayfarer utility was an entirely utilitarian affair, although the external rear-view mirror and tonneau cover were included.
In February 1966
Australia converted to decimal currency, with 1 pound equalling two dollars. The base model VC’s were priced at $2490, a $10 premium over the previous model, while the most expensive in the range was the V8 Safari Wagon, now $3590. Cheapest was the Wayfarer Ute, at only $2128. In late 1966 Chrysler introduced front disc brakes
as an option, this improvement only adding to the already stoic reputation the Valiant’s enjoyed.
Solid, Reilable, Powerful, Unassailable...
Solid, reliable, powerful and brimming with creature comforts, it seemed the Valiant was unassailable. But the following year Ford upped the ante, the March 1967 release of the Fairlane 500 and XR Falcon signalling “game on” from the blue oval.
In contrast to the 135 kW Chrysler V8, the Ford iteration was good for 150 kW, and was available across the entire Falcon range rather than only in the up-market models. The General would soon follow with their 5.0 litre 307 c.i. Chevrolet sourced V8 made available in the HK
series. At a time when Australian petrol was amongst the worlds cheapest (regrettably not for much longer however), it seemed whoever could boast the most power would fare best at the dealer showrooms.
Motoring writes of the day also noted how the Valiant V8’s suffered from noticeable understeer, something many forgave when the Valiant was the only Aussie family sedan fitted with a V8, but with the new competition closer attention was being paid to the Valiant’s handling, or perceived lack of it. By the end of production, some 65,634 VC Valiant’s would be manufactured.
Above we have included 14 individual radio advertisments for the VC Valiant range, from the Slant Six 225, 273 V8 and Wayfarer utility.