SV1 Valiant (1962-63)

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Vehicle Overview

The SV1 Valiant Chrysler, or “S Series” as it’s known, was released in Australia three months after the arrival of its predecessor the R Series. A limited number of 1,008 R Series models were shipped from the United States to Australia for assembly in order to test the market. They went on sale in January 1962 and were immediately sold out. The success of the R Series with the car-buying public prompted Chrysler Australia to release a new model of Valiant as fast as possible.

The Valiant had been on sale in the US under the Plymouth badge since 1959 with the R series being an American 1961 model. Chrysler decided to replace it with the S Series, which, at the time was the most current US model. This gave Australian consumers confidence in knowing they were getting value for money as well as the most up-to-date in terms of design. Though the Valiant could be found in station wagon and two-door variants in the US, it was only available in its four-door sedan form within Australia.

There were a few aesthetic changes made to the S Series, however the majority of the design improvements were mechanical. The most notable design differences were made at the rear of the vehicle. The S Series sported a smooth boot lid and round tail lights, while the R Series featured a faux spare-tyre mount stamped into the lid and cat-eye tail lights. There are also minor changes to the front, as the S Series was fitted with an all chrome grill in place of the chrome and black design on the R Series.

The S Series was constructed with a new sealed chassis design with fewer lubrication points. This greatly reduced the need for regular chassis lubrication, which was required every 32,000 miles. The R Series and S Series were fitted with alternators rather than the less efficient generators that were still in use by Chrysler’s competitors at the time. This represented the company’s forward thinking design and the reason why it proved to be so popular with the press and public.

The S Series was fitted with a 3.7L (225cu) slant six-cylinder engine that was capable of outputting 145bhp. This was paired with a three-speed manual transmission as standard with the option of push-button automatic transmission. In what may have seemed like a step backwards to some, Chrysler moved the gear shifter up to the steering column for the manual version of the S Series. On the previous model, it had been floor mounted.

The brake sizes were increased on the new model and a larger fuel tank was fitted. An aluminium exhaust system that was more corrosion resistant than that of the previous model was also added as factory standard. Fuel economy was increased with an altered axle ratio and improved carburetor design.

Inside the car, the S Series received an entirely redesigned instrument cluster from its predecessor, featuring individual gauges that were easier to read. Instrumentation included a speedometer, gauges for fuel levels, engine temperature, amp meter, as well as heater controls and controls for the automatic transmission. In the construction of the instrument cluster, the S Series utilized modern printed circuit boards, rather than individual wires.

The interiors were basic but considered spacious for the time. When compared to its biggest market competitors, the XL Falcon and EJ Holden, the S Series was larger overall, but its interior trim was comparable on all cars. The trim was in a durable vinyl with bench seats front and rear, without options for upgrades.

The S Series was locally manufactured and assembled in Chrysler’s Adelaide facilities between March 1962 and April 1963. Chrysler Australia produced 10,009 units of the SV1 before replacing it with the AP5 Valiant.

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