In late 1962 Chrysler Australia began an expansion
programme aiming to increase production to 50,000
units per year by 1967.
It was in 1963, with the
introduction of the AP5, that Chrysler Australia
began manufacturing Valiant’s rather than just
assembling them (the "AP" referring to
Entirely new sheet-metal with
new body panels were stamped at the new South Australian
Tonsley Park facility.
Surprisingly the AP5 only shared 6 common body panels with its US cousin, the
left hand drive cowls being initially imported from
the US with wipers sweeping to the left.
The reason was simple; money could be saved by having the Australian
operation stamp the rear panels, but import the sheet
metal forward of the windscreen so as to be able
to take advantage of any US facelifts at minimal
While the level of US content dropped during
its manufacture, significant items such as the engines
were still imported - Australian content only climbing
The AP5 carried over the R and S Series 3.6
liter 225 slant six engine, although it was now fitted
with a new single-barrel downdraft Holley carburetor;
the Holley provided a slight improvement in fuel
consumption, although the power remained the same
at 145bhp (or 109kW).
The suspension also remained
generally unchanged, the engineers opting to only
make the minor revision of putting softer springs
on the rear. The AP5’s transformation into a
dinky-di Aussie included the fitment of a unique
extruded aluminum grille and a larger boot than the
US model, along with a different rear deck and flat
rear window. Chrysler claimed the AP5 offered a 12%
increase in body torsional stiffness.
Unfortunately some rationalization had occurred at the front end,
where the attractive twin-headlamp configuration
of the R and S series was replaced by single units.
Inside, the AP5 sported a two-tone synthetic material
and there was more padding in the seats than in previous
models. The standard features list was to grow, with
sun visors, cigar lighters and ashtrays added as
no cost items.
The AP5 had a more conservative and
conventional look in comparison to the "R" and "S" Series,
although new up-market models were introduced, such
as the Valiant 'Regal' sedan and Valiant 'Safari'
station wagon. Chrysler Australia produced the “Regal” to
take on the likes of Holdens “Premier” and
Ford's “Falcon Futura” models. Having
more bright work and badging than the standard model,
the Regal also offered better seats and interior
trim, auto transmission, a heater with integrated
demister, two tone steering wheel, carpets and even
That the AP5 was widely praised
by the press at the time came as no surprise, the
new smooth lines and less fussy appearance being
typical of the tastes of the day, while the highly
tractable 225ci engine remained entirely engaging
for the driver looking for some spirited performance.
Inevitably the waiting list for a new Valiant would
grow even longer, helped in some way by the price
drop over the outgoing models. Buyers could save £35 on the manual, and £40
on the automatic, the new prices being £1220
($2440) for the manual, £1345 ($2690) for the
automatic and £1498 ($2996) for the Regal.
In November 1963 the “Safari” station
wagon was to join the Valiant lineup, and was available
in manual, automatic and even Regal models. Priced
from £1320 ($2640) the wagons used the same
mechanical components and front-end styling as the
sedans, but were fitted with bigger tires and heavier
The main selling feature was obviously
the huge luggage space afforded by the wagon, although
the low-level counterbalanced tail gate and wind-up
rear window which could be locked in any position
certainly showed the competition just how a wagon
should be built! By the end of its production run,
some 49,440 AP5 Valiant’s had been manufactured.