Chrysler Valiant CL
1976 - 1978
|Hemi 6 & V8
|245-265ci Hemi / 318ci
|152kW Hemi 265
|3/4 spd. man / 3 spd.
|109 mph / 175 km/h (V8)
The CL Valiant was supposed to be something special.
Chrysler had been touting the fact that the all new
Valiant VL would be an Australianised edition of the
Plymouth Volare / Dodge Aspen intermediate sized car
proving to be very popular in the US.
But cost cutting measures were enforced upon the manufacturer in light
of the growing trend of Australians to favour smaller
4 cylinder cars.
In early 1976 the idea of creating
a truly all new VL were all but shelved, and so the
decision was made to once again make over the existing
VH, VJ, VK model that had, with the latter models,
been fast losing market share.
Released on the 21st October, 1976, there were some major styling changes
that at least went some way to making the CL look considerably
different to the earlier models, and at last some new
sheet metal was evident in the design.
The front featured a new nose cone and bonnet, while new rear panels included
the boot lid, lower panel and quarter panel.
A sleeker new bumper was fitted below the obligatory redesigned
tail lights, and the fuel filler cap was relocated
in the lower panel of the rear deck.
The revised front and rear treatments were complemented by full wheel
covers, sill and door frame mouldings and different
ornamentation. Once again Chrysler Australia performed a model rationalisation,
reducing the range of models to seven and the engine
range to four.
And again there were fewer options available
across the range, although it could be argued that
the new CL came with such a plethora of standard equipment
that made the need to a large options list unnecessary.
The biggest of the V8’s was dropped (the 5.9
liter 360) along with the flagship Chrysler by Chrysler
model, the entire range therefore assuming the big
Chrysler’s “C” designation.
Compliance with ADR 27A legislation necessitated several mechanical
alterations, and from July 1976 both the Valiant sedan
and wagon came standard with the 4 liter Hemi 245 low
compression engine, de-tuned to run on standard low-octane
fuel, the previous 215 engine being phased out.
New features on the Valiant sedan and wagon included 185SR
radial tires, a front anti-roll bar, dual horns and
reclining bucked seats with a centre cushion armrest.
The instrument panel featured a constant voltage fuel
guage and parking brake warning light. The network
of interior lights, formerly exclusive to the more
expensive Chryslers, was extended to the base models
The Chrysler Regal sedan and station wagon
received a distinctive grille taking advantage of the
same sheet metal changes. In addition to the features
included on the base model Valiant’s, the Regal’s
were equipped with an engine bonnet ornament, front
fender repeater lights and a remote control external
mirror on the drivers side door. The Regal sedan also
featured some stainless steel body mouldings and a “Regal” fuel
The wagons featured a “C” pillar
stainless steel appliqué, special tailgate mouldings
and a chrome plated roof rack. The sedan was fitted
with the 4 liter engine mated to a three speed automatic
transmission as standard, while the wagon came with
the 318 V8, again mated to the atmo transmission.
The Regal SE Becomes The Flagship
flagship of the range was now the Regal SE, although
it did not use the longer wheelbase previously reserved
to for the more prestigious of the Chrysler’s.
The Regal SE came standard with the 5.2 liter 318 V8,
power steering, air conditioning, automatic transmission
and a higher equipment level than any other Chrysler
Features included overriders on the front
and rear bumpers, quartz halogen high beam headlights,
color-coded wheel covers and coach lines on the body
sides. A vinyl roof was standard, as was a lockable
fuel-filler cap with SE ornament. The dash was finished
in a fake walnut wood-grain, the instrument cluster
incorporating a quartz clock, trip odometer and ignition
key delay light.
Then there were the power windows,
a roof console (with front map reading lights), retractable
front and rear seat belts and fully carpeted boot.
Although the Regal SE came fitted with cloth interior
as standard, for the first time in a Valiant you could
factory option leather and, if you needed to keep costs
down, you could “de-option” the
Regal SE to be fitted with the Hemi six cylinder engine
or without air-conditioning. The CL range brought 7
new colors, each given a typical Chrysler name; Sundance
Yellow, Amazon Green, Harvest Gold, Lemon Twist, Alpine
White, Impact Orange and Moonstone Metallic – and
these were in addition to the eight colors already
With sales of the Charger flagging, it was
restricted to one only model, the Charger 770. Thankfully
it also benefited from the new front-end panels, and
was identified by a honeycomb grille. There was a stainless
steel moulding around the front windscreen, along with
a glove box vanity mirror, engine compartment light
and dual horns.
It was fitted as standard with the
High Compression 245 Hemi six cylinder engine, although
you could option the 4.3 liter 265 Hemi along with
the 318ci V8, which now also ran on standard fuel.
Chrysler stuck with the 3 speed manual for the Hemi’s,
but thankfully you could option the 4 speed, something
most purchasers did. It was an auto-only affair if
you choose the V8, although to ensure better performance
Chrysler fitted a less direct first gear.
The commercials also benefited from the new front
end sheet metal, and the Dodge name was dumped in favour
of Valiant. The base CL Valiant was priced at $6309,
the Charger 770 at $6948, while the flagship Regal
SE came in at $11,401. A total of 32,672 CL Valiant’s
were manufactured, and during its production run Chrysler
Australia celebrated its 25th birthday, while the 500,000th
Australian made Valiant also rolled off the production
line – this particular car being presented by
then South Australian Premier Don Dunstan to the Adelaide
But with the decision to
shelve development of the VL Valiant everyone knew
the writing was on the wall…the question remained,
would there be another model Valiant?