VC Valiant (1966-67)
The Chrysler VC Valiant arrived in March 1966, superseding the previous model, the AP6, with a longer, lower and more aggressive looking vehicle. Though it is almost identical in dimensions to its predecessor, the VC exhibited a more dynamic style for the Valiant.
The Chrysler design team put a lot of effort into creating the new look, squaring off the gentle curves of the rear end and giving the nose of the car a sharp slanted profile. The VC was styled with a new grill that was recessed and extended across the whole front of the vehicle, and incorporated to include the headlights. The squared off rear side panels and subtle tail fins shrouded the one-piece triangular rear lights.
The VC embodied a more contemporary look with wide and square bumpers that were inset into the bodywork. These now housed the indicators, which were previously built into the rear lights on the AP6. The new model also featured a chrome strip that ran down each side of the car.
The Wayfarer utility model (ute) received the updated VC front, but retained the rear end and tail lights of the previous AP6 model.
Seven variants of the VC Valiant range were available, including the Valiant 225, Valiant Regal and Valiant 273 V8, which were all available in sedan and wagon formats. The Valiant 225 6 cylinder was sold as the basic model whilst the V8 marketed as the most luxurious. The other variant was the Wayfarer utility which was carried over from the previous model.
The VC was fitted with Chrysler’s 3.7L slant six-cylinder engine, aptly named as it was mounted in a slanted position within the engine bay. This was supposedly done in an effort to gain greater clearance for the cylinder heads, which allowed for a much lower hood line. The slant-six had been the staple engine of the Valiant range since the line’s inception in 1962. However, the VC was significantly heavier than the AP6 which resulted in a reduced top speed. This was due to the fact that the engine wasn’t modified in any way to compensate for the additional weight. Chrysler offered the slant-six with either a three-speed manual transmission or a newly developed all-synchromesh three-speed automatic gearbox.
All models at the start of production came with self-adjusting drum brakes, but by the end of 1966, Chrysler added the option of front disc brakes across the range. This was especially useful on the V8 models which were capable of a top speed of 105 mph.
Safety was becoming more of a priority in the mid-1960s, which resulted in the VC receiving new features. The instrument panel was fitted with a full-width crash pad, whilst anchor points for seat belts were improved, although seat belts at that time were still an option. The Regal and V8 models came with automatic transmission as standard and featured unique badging and fittings to symbolize the prestige above baseline models.
The interiors of the Regal and V8 models were more luxurious with a range of optional extras that many of the entry level vehicles didn’t have. Such as heater demisters, front and rear center armrests and a stylish two-tone steering wheel. The V8 model were optioned with front bucket seats and a full-length console which housed the gear selector. The doors were trimmed to full height and there was full carpeting throughout, including the boot. The V8 Valiant was also the only model to be optioned with a vinyl roof. All Interiors were trimmed in a hard wearing leather-like vinyl.
For now, Chrysler was still the only one of the big three Australian auto manufacturers to offer a V8 in its flagship sedan model. This would change the following year, as Ford and General Motors produced their own V8 models and began a relentless race to outperform the competition.
From March 1966, Chrysler Australia built 65,634 units of the VC Valiant, before it was replaced with the VE Valiant in September 1967.