In response to the growing success of the medium sized
Ford Cortina and Holden Torana, Chrysler countered with
Based on the French "Simca", the Centura
was considered by many to be too little too late, being
released in 1975, some 8 years after the Torana and
TC Cortina had made inroads and established their market
Entry level Centura's had the donor Simca's 4 cylinder
engine bored out to increase capacity from 1.8 liters
to 2.0 liters.
But to be competitive in the Australian
market, and compete equally with the Cortina and Torana,
Chrysler needed a mid sized six cylinder car.
Chrysler Australia engineers set about transplanting the
Valiant's Hemi 245 engine, utilising an Australian Borg-Warner
gearbox, tailshaft, and differential.
The Centura was criticised at the time for its handling,
particularly in 6 cylinder form with a heavy front end
and extremely light rear end.
However unlike the Valiants
and Chargers of the day that had torsion bar front ends
with leafsprung rears, the Centura had coil springs all
To compensate for the 6 cylinder Centura's weird weight
distribution Chrysler engineers placed a variable hydraulic
pressure limiting valve in the rear braking circuit.
device sensed the cars attitude and reduced the rear brake
pressure when the front of the car dived, such as under
hard braking, thereby preventing the rear brakes from
This device was bolted to the rear of the chassis and
connected to the rear axle through a series of springs
and levers. Few owners bothered to maintain the device
properly and existing examples of the Centura have
probably had the device "bypassed".
The Centura would not last 3 years in the showroom, initially
being released as the KB and then followed by the facelifted
and better optioned KC model. The European Simca C180
on which the Centura was based had slightly better longevity,
being manufactured from 1970 to 1981.