Chrysler Valiant VK/CK
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1
The VK Valiant was yet another mild makeover of the previous VH and VJ models. The obligatory new grille design combined with a revised tail light assembly made up the more obvious of only a handful of changes, leaving many to ask why Chrysler had indeed bothered.
The answer, at least as far as the local distributors were concerned, was that the VK was only intended as a stop-gap before the release of the all-new VL model.
Going back as far as the VJ Valiant, it is easier to compare the strategies employed by Chrysler as compared to that of Holden, who, with their HQ model, were creating a more compact looking large car.
In contrast to the HQ, the VJ looked enormous. The gamble taken in the late 1960’s was being played out in the 1970’s, would Australians continue to favour large family sedans over the more compact Japanese varieties such as the Toyota Corona.
The designers had probably got it right, as most even today would prefer to comfort and space afforded by a large car, but there was one critical factor few had foreseen in the late 1960’s, and that was the fuel crisis.
the cost of fuel skyrocketed by up to 50%, and Australians were quickly ditching their big cars in favour of small more fuel efficient models, such as the Toyota Corolla and Chrysler Galant. For a time there was a glut of near new large sedans on the second hand market, and non-existent resale values soon followed.
When the VJ Valiant was in its design phase family six-cylinder cars enjoyed a healthy 70% market share, but by the time of the release of the VK Valiant this had slumped to only 28%. So it came as no surprise then that Chrysler would claim one of the advantages of the new VK was better fuel consumption, combined with better performance and enhanced safety.
The model range was to again undergo some rationalisation, the model line up being reduced from 11 to 8; available was the Chrysler sedan, Regal sedan and wagon, Ranger sedan and wagon, Charger XL and 770 and Dodge utility.
Unfortunately it was even harder now to individualise your Valiant, as the options list was to undergo some rationalisation also. The idea was to trim the time each vehicle spent on the production line, thus helping to reduce the total cost per vehicle and, hopefully, help increase profits. The Chrysler name was now used for all models in the range, the base Valiant and Charger models known as Chrysler Valiant and Chrysler Charger respectively. Even the smaller models in the Chrysler line-up, the Centura, Galant ant Lancer would also undergo a name change, now wearing the Chrysler name badge in favour of the Valiant one.
A Two Barrel Is Fitted Across The Entire Hemi Lineup
six cylinder engine fitted to all VK and CK Chrysler models was now fitted with a two-barrel carburettor, the “solid fuel” design had been developed in the US to meet tougher emission control standards, it also helping the VK Valiant to comply with the ADR27A clean air law introduced into Australia in 1976. Also released with the VK was the “Fuel Pacer” option, which used the vacuum to trigger a flashing warning lamp to enable the driver to back off the acceleration to help ensure better fuel economy. Interestingly the warning lamp was mounted on the front guard beneath a chrome protector cover.
Helping improve safety was the fitment of a pressure sensitive proportioning valve to reduce the possibility of rear wheel lock up during braking, power boosted brakes
(originally introduced on the later VJ’s), and hazard warning indicators. Radial tyres
were fitted to both the Regal sedan and Charger 770. Another new feature was a steering
column stalk containing the controls for the turn signals, windscreen wipers and washers, headlight dip and headlight flash functions; Chrysler were the first of the “Big Three” to introduce this now standard feature.
The new model was also fitted with more comfortable seats, new trim styles and colours, courtesy switches on all doors, a quartz clock on the Chrysler and Regal and illuminated heater controls. The Valiant Regal was fitted standard with the three-speed automatic transmission
, reclining bucket seats, centre cushion armrests and heated rear windows. A flow-through ventilation system was fitted to the sedan, but it was rather primitive, being devoid of directional dashboard air-vents – a feature the competition had offered for over 13 years!
There were 5 engines available throughout the VK range, the 360 5.9 litre V8 made available as an option on most models, including the Ranger sedan and Charger 770. The base Ranger cost $5310, rising to $6783 for the 770 V8. The 265 Charger 770 cost $6191, while the Chrysler V8 cost $8784. In all, some 20,555 VK Valiant’s would roll off the production line, making it the least built Valiant model since the S Series.