RE­TIRE­MENT PLAN

PHIL ROY­CROFT JUST RE­TIRED, SO HE FIG­URED IT WAS TIME TO GRAB AN S-SERIES VALIANT AND BUILD HIS FIRST STREET MA­CHINE

Street Machine - - Contents -

Fa­ther/son team Phil and Mike Roy­croft bought their S-series for a song and to­gether they’ve got it hum­ming

THIS sweet S-series Valiant was put to­gether as a fa­ther/son ef­fort by Phil and Mike Roy­croft from Perth. They must know what they’re do­ing, as it went to­gether pretty quickly, tak­ing around a year from go to whoa. Of course, it helps if your son has in­her­ited the Mopar mad­ness and has an old Valiant or two ly­ing around, and, as Mike was so in­volved in the build, who bet­ter to tell the car’s story? I’ll let him take it from here.

“My dad has al­ways had a fas­ci­na­tion with this par­tic­u­lar model, ever since he was young. He has owned lots of dif­fer­ent Valiants as daily driv­ers over the years, but has never man­aged to own an S-series. Once he re­tired, he de­cided it was time to buy him­self a lit­tle toy, and while he con­sid­ered a few dif­fer­ent cars, the main cri­te­rion was sim­ply that it had to be a Chrysler prod­uct. When it all came down to it though, he just had to get him­self an S-series.

“I was ini­tially not too thrilled about his model choice, much pre­fer­ring him to pick up some­thing a lit­tle later or per­haps a VH-VJ hardtop. But the car was to be ex­actly what he wanted, and I knew that with the right build, any car can be nice. So, an S-series it was.

“Over the years, be­tween us we have built up a fair bit of ex­pe­ri­ence find­ing Valiants, al­ways hav­ing a sharp eye on Gumtree and ebay for ‘bar­gains’ – much to the dis­may of my mother – most of them be­ing projects of my own. A few cars sparked Dad’s in­ter­est, in a va­ri­ety of price ranges, but as an avid TAVO (Tight Arsed Valiant Owner) he is al­ways par­tial to a bar­gain, and one par­tic­u­lar car in Ade­laide just seemed to stand out from the rest.

“It was a white S-series with blue trim and a 318 V8 in­stalled, sit­ting proudly on 1980s-spec Hotwires. This car looked like a great buy to Dad, only need­ing a few small things to be done. The de­cid­ing fac­tor was the 318 in place of the reg­u­lar 225 slantsix – he re­ally craved that V8 rum­ble. The ic­ing on the cake was the price; about half the price of any other S-series ad­ver­tised any­where, it ap­peared to be an ab­so­lute bar­gain to any true TAVO, too good to pass up. A few days later, Dad ex­cit­edly mes­saged me say­ing he’d won the S-series auc­tion and that it would be ar­riv­ing in Perth the fol­low­ing week via train!

“Af­ter Dad trail­ered it back to his house, I went over for my first look. Ini­tially the car looked good, but there were quite a few things need­ing at­ten­tion. It had pre­vi­ously run on LPG at some stage (with a nice de­funct filler neck spout­ing through the quar­ter panel) and on in­spec­tion the lit­tle Chrysler small-block was look­ing very, very tired: rust wa­ter leak­ing through the Welch plugs, some ma­jor oil leaks, and the en­gine bay it­self in a very poor state of af­fairs. Af­ter about an hour of me tin­ker­ing, the car fired into life, but was barely run­ning on seven cylin­ders. It wasn’t ex­actly liv­ing up to ex­pec­ta­tions.

“Our ini­tial plan had been to pull the en­gine out for a freshen-up; smooth, paint and de­tail the en­gine bay; freshen up the trim; and swap out the wheels for some­thing a lit­tle nicer. But af­ter giv­ing the car a thor­ough go­ing-over and notic­ing lots of small is­sues with the body, it be­came ap­par­ent there was only one way to ap­proach the build. This was Dad’s first mod­i­fied car and he wanted to keep it un­til the end of his days, so we de­cided to strip it right back and re­build ev­ery­thing prop­erly so we could have a car to be proud of.

“We pulled the en­gine and trans and Dad be­gan strip­ping all the glass, wiring, chrome trim and in­te­rior ready for the Val’s big birth­day. Unique Auto Refin­ish­ers han­dled the panel and paint, get­ting the body to a pre­sentable shape, fill­ing all the re­dun­dant holes in the en­gine bay, and, most im­por­tantly, get­ting rid of the pesky LPG filler in the quar­ter panel.

“Af­ter a bit of per­sua­sion on my part, Dad chose at the last minute to de­vi­ate from stan­dard white with blue and change the colour to straight black, com­ple­mented by the dash and door frames in candy red to tie in with the planned new in­te­rior. Look­ing back now, Dad al­ways com­ments that he’s so glad he painted it black; it re­ally does look like a whole new car.

I WAS INI­TIALLY NOT TOO THRILLED ABOUT DAD’S MODEL CHOICE, MUCH PRE­FER­RING HIM TO PICK UP A VH-VJ HARDTOP, BUT I KNEW THAT WITH THE RIGHT BUILD, ANY CAR CAN BE NICE

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