VE Valiant (1967-69)
The VE Valiant was a new model for 1967 from Chrysler Australia, being the first model of the third generation of Valiants. Chrysler had completely redesigned the bodywork from its predecessor, the VC Valiant, but further developed the sleek, bold and straight contours of the previous model. The VE was developed in parallel with Chrysler’s Plymouth Valiant and Dodge Dart models that were produced in the United States, and as a result, the VE shares many similarities and common body panels.
The most obvious stylistic difference between the VC and VE models is the front end. The styling of the VE is much squarer, featuring an indented front grille, slanted front guards and contoured bonnet edges. The Chrysler design team also made some changes to the rear of the VE, giving it a larger boot and semi-circular rear light clusters, which replaced the older triangular units. The VE featured an unusual concave rear windscreen, which was quite similar in some ways to the HR Holden.
Wheelbase was increased by 2 inches from the previous model and the overall length of the car was increased by 5 inches.
The VE model range included eight different models – three sedans, three wagons and two commercial utility models. There were three levels of trim and fittings, with the Valiant being offered as the basic model within the range, the Regal which was the mid-priced offering and the VIP which was the premier model. Each model was available in sedan or wagon form.
Up until this point, the V8 engine was only available in one model of Valiant known simply as the V8. The V8 was renamed the VIP, as Chrysler began to make the V8 engine available across the entire range. The standard engine that came with all cars, except the VIP, was the 3.7L Slant six-cylinder.
With the introduction of the VE, Chrysler began offering two variations of the 225 cu in 6 cylinder, along with the 4.5L V8 engine. The entry level 225 cu in (3.7 L) straight-six remained at 145bhp, however changes made in an effort to compete with Ford Australia’s popular new XR Falcon and Fairlane model saw the release of a 225 cu in (3.7 L) “High Performance” Straight-six, with a power output of 165bhp. An increase of 20bhp. This was possible due to a number of small improvements, along with a double barrel carburettor fitted as standard.
Transmissions remained much the same as before. There was a choice of three-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmissions, with the higher priced Regal and VIP models fitted with automatic transmissions as standard. The 4.5L V8 engine was also tweaked resulting in an additional 15bhp increase over the previous model.
The brakes on all Valiants were upgraded in the VE model to tandem master cylinder dual circuit units to comply with new Australian safety laws. Front disc brakes on the V8 models and front seat belts were also introduced as additional safety measures. Other safety measures added by Chrysler included recessed instruments with an anti-glare face to them, and flush fitting door handles to prevent accidental opening.
The Valiant VIP was the height of luxury for the era, having individual reclining seats at the front with adjustable headrests and folding center armrests in the rear. It came fully carpeted, featured exterior mirrors, colour matched vinyl interiors with wood grain accents, as well as a heater demister which wasn’t standard on the other Valiants. The VIP was easily recognizable from the other models with unique mouldings, badges and by the addition of a vinyl roof.
During production of the VE, Chrysler offered a heavy duty utility model which was fitted with a Dodge badge. The ute was much more basic than the other models, as it featured a painted grille and bumpers in place of the usual chrome.
From October 1967, Chrysler Australia built 68,688 units of the VE Valiant, before it was replaced with the VF Valiant in September 1967.
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