Aussie Valiants abroad

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Maniac -

Fifty years ago this year Aus­tralian-built V8 Chrysler VC Valiants went on sale in the Old Dart. Dutch AMC reader Ge­orge Koop­man re­minded us of this fact when he spot­ted a re­port in a 1966 is­sue of Au­to­car.

“Num­bers would have been very lim­ited de­spite the pos­i­tive press re­ports. Now imag­ine what a Stir­ling Moss Spe­cial of the VC would have done in 1966. I bet a hand­some amount would have been sold,” Ge­orge en­thused. “I was re­minded of the VC be­ing ex­ported to Bri­tain in ’66 after read­ing about the SMS in AMC #82.”

Ge­orge was kind enough the scan the cover and the news story in­side, which reads: “It’s a sign of the times that is pos­si­ble, and in­deed ad­van­ta­geous, to ship a car all the way from Aus­tralia and be able to sell it here for £200 less than the equiv­a­lent model im­ported from the USA. Pref­er­en­tial tar­iffs and the fact that Aus­tralians drive on the left-hand side of the road and use R.H.D. cars are two such good rea­sons be­hind this.

“Such a car is the Chrysler Valiant, the first Aus­tralian-built car to be of­fered on the Aus­tralian mar­ket. Im­ported by the Rootes Group, and dis­trib­uted by War­wick Wright Ltd, it one of the tan­gi­ble re­sults of Rootes’ as­so­ci­a­tion with the Chrysler Cor­po­ra­tion which has al­ready given them valu­able ex­port out­lets, through Chrysler deal­ers, in the USA, Europe and Aus­tralia.

“Six ver­sions of the Valiant are avail­able, based on two ba­sic shells – a four-door saloon and an es­tate car.

“Sim­ple and lux­u­ri­ous 6-cylin­der mod­els of the Valiant are known as the Medium (!) and Re­gal saloon and es­tate car. The vee-8 en­gined equiv­a­lent mod­els are iden­ti­fied by the name Pre­mium and are avail­able with au­to­matic trans­mis­sions only.

“We col­lected our test Pre­mium saloon im­me­di­ately after its pre­sen­ta­tion in Lon­don. A wet night in town is not the best place to get to know an un­fa­mil­iar, high-pow­ered car. How­ever, Aus­tralian tastes in steer­ing ra­tios are ob­vi­ously the same as our own, and the spring­ing re­quired to cope with the ‘out­back’ gives a firm ride by Amer­i­can stan­dards.

“Small by Amer­i­can stan­dards, but large by ours, the 4,473cc Valiant vee-8 could not be faulted on the scores of start­ing, smooth­ness and free­dom from flat spots.”

Mean­time, Daniel O’Grady, an Aus­tralian liv­ing and work­ing in Ja­pan since 2001, and the man who last year tracked down an Aussiebuilt Isuzu States­man in his adopted home, has been in con­tact with de­tails of his next hunt. It’s a Chrysler 318 or 770 which were im­ported into Ja­pan in the early 1970s.

Daniel, who op­er­ates carspot­ting web­site wasabi­cars.com, will no doubt even­tu­ally track down the Charger or Valiant in the land of the ris­ing sun, if ex­am­ples still ex­ist.

So who will your your money be on to first de­liver pho­to­graphic ev­i­dence of these rare Aussie-built Chryslers? Daniel in Ja­pan or Ge­orge in Europe?

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