VF Valiant (1969-70)
The second iteration of the third generation of Australian Valiants, the VF model, saw the Valiant line expand again with the addition of a two-door coupe hardtop variant and a sporty four-door sedan called the Pacer. This was part of an aggressive expansion from Chrysler Australia who had previously only offered a four-door sedan, a five-door wagon and a two-door utility.
The VF models were essentially a face-lifted version of the VE Valiant. With a heavily revised front end and grill, new rear quarter panels and lights, the VF almost resembled a completely new car. An interesting design feature at the time, was the placement of the front indicators which were inset into the top of the front guards, giving the car a very unique look.
The luxury VIP model (formerly the V8) was rebranded as the Chrysler VIP and would no longer be known as a Valiant. Instead, it would be promoted as the Regal 770 which was fitted with a higher powered 5.2L “Fireball” V8. The budget Valiant and mid-priced Regal models were also available in sedan, “Safari” wagon and now hardtop models. The Regal 770 was optioned in sedan and hardtop format, but no wagon version was optioned. The Valiant, Wayfarer and the heavy duty Dodge utility models continued production.
The concept behind the Pacer was that it would be a cheap and cheerful performance model aimed at the younger crowd. This was Chrysler Australia’s first attempt at a sports model, as all of the previous Valiants were fairly conservative and aimed squarely at the family and commercial market. With many of the other major auto manufacturers all courting the performance and youth markets, Chrysler was somewhat late to the party.
Nevertheless, the Pacer was stylish, and offered great value for money with the quality and attention to detail that Chrysler always delivered. Rather than a V8 engine, the Pacer was fitted with the high compression version of the 3.7L (225cu) slant six-cylinder fitted with a dual throat carburettor. It was optioned with a floor-mounted three-speed manual transmission only without an option to upgrade to automatic.
The Pacer was available in only three “wild” colours, with all badges and chromework replaced with “225” decals and stripes. It was much more basic than the other Valiants but purposefully built for cheap fun.
The 2-door hardtop was Chrysler’s response to General Motors-Holdens Monaro coupe that was finding favour in showrooms and on racetracks around the country. The VF Hardtop had the same front end as the Valiant sedans, but many of its rear end panels were from the Dodge Dart which had to be imported from the United States. It is to date the largest two-door coupe produced in Australia.
The range of engines also increased, as Chrysler began to offer five different performance options. There were three variations of the slant six-cylinder engine, which included the standard 145bhp 3.7L engine, a 160bhp high performance unit and a 175bhp high compression unit. The 5.2L V8 engine was also offered in either its standard 210bhp configuration or a 230bhp version called the Fireball V8.
The Chrysler VIP was offered as a four-door sedan with much more luxurious trim and fittings. Unlike previous models, the VIP wagon was discontinued, as Chrysler was aiming this model squarely at the luxury “town car” market. The VIP was built over an extra-long wheel base and it featured twin headlights upfront, a wide rear windscreen and unique tail light design.
From March 1969, Chrysler Australia built 52,933 units of the VF Valiant, before it was replaced with the VG Valiant in February 1970.
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