Chrysler Valiant VE

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Chrysler Valiant VE

1967 - 1969
Slant 6 & V8
3.7 & 4.5 ltr.
109/120 kW 6 cyl. 146 kW V8
3 spd. man / 3 spd. "TorqueFlite" auto
Top Speed:
109 mph / 175 km/h (V8)
Number Built:
3 star
The Valiant VE was an all new design, the bodywork sharing some sheet-metal with the US Plymouth Valiant and Dodge Dart; despite the US content the VE was unquestionably the most Australian Valiant to date.

The amalgam of Dodge Dart and US Valiant created a lower profile and sleeker look, thanks largely to the almost completely flat body panel profile.

Only the floor-pan was carried over from the VC, although this too underwent extensive modification. To further set the VE apart from the previous iterations, it sported a new more aggressive grille treatment, curved side glass, a concave rear window and a longer boot line.

The VE was largest of all Valiant’s to date; the wheelbase was increased by 50mm to 2740mm (108 inches), it offered a wider track and the overall length was increased by 140mm (5 inches).

The longer wheelbase and wider track afforded the car much improved ride and handling characteristics, not that any previous Valiant was particularly criticized in this area.

In all there were 18 different VE model variations available, each receiving some common improvements over the outgoing VC model, such as the introduction of a 64 liter (14 gallon) fuel tank, shorter gear lever throw on the manual gearbox, relocation of the dipswitch from under the brake pedal to the high left of the firewall and the windscreen wipers were finally located on the engine side of the firewall - greatly reducing their noise, while the vacuum type windscreen washer system was replaced with an all electric version.

The challenge of each of the “Big Three” was to be better able than the competition to tempt new car buyers into their particular showrooms. Larger capacity engines, better performance and economy combined with superior handling were the mainstay of improvements being undertaken by engineers at all three companies, but it was arguably the increase in “standard features” that the average Australian family man noticed most, along with even more up-market modes to help the successful identify their status in society.

Given Ford’s new long wheelbase Fairlane, the VIP needed to be something special – and it was; fitted with a V8 engine, 3 speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, coaxial power steering, power assisted front disc brakes and high speed nylon tires. Despite the ever growing list of standard inclusions, the VIP was, however, always at a disadvantage in that it shared the same wheelbase with all the other Valiant models. It deserved comparison with the Fairlane, but many discounted it as simply an optioned standard Valiant sedan – they were wrong.

The Valiant VIP - The Only Problem Was The Price

The VIP was lavishly furnished by the standards of the day, with cushioned transmission control console and individually adjustable reclining front bucket seats, each with “dielectric impressions” allowing air to circulate around the body of the driver and passengers. The front seats were also fitted with built-in adjustable headrests, an item that was far from common for any car built in the 1960’s. The VIP Safari wagon was fitted with all the same luxury appointments, along with a roof-rack and power-operated tailgate window and rear interior dome light.

There were a few that found fault with the new VIP’s, and at $3650 for the sedan it was certainly not cheap. Criticism’s included the lack of boot depth, steering wheel placement (it being considered too close to the driver) and poor instrument switchgear placement. That there was no vanity mirror, speedometer trip meter or rear reading lights seemed a glaring oversight. The lack of directional dashboard ventilation was also counted against the car – that the 1962 Ford Cortina featured just such a control only highlighted the perceived lack of attention to the interior layout of the VIP, but the truth was that many of these same criticisms could just as easily be leveled at the competition.

The original 109 kW (145bhp) slant six engine remained; however it was to come in for some significant tweaking by the Chrysler engineers for the Regal model. Improvements included a new two-barrel carburetor and air cleaner, matched performance camshaft combined with a low back-pressure exhaust system, making it good for 120 kW (160bhp). The new engine nicely filled the gap between the 109 kW six and 146 kW V8, while also allowing Chrysler to offer a better mid-tier option in price and features.

The V8 Is Tweaked To Match Ford's New Mustang V8

The V8 was to also undergo some minor performance tweaking, particularly given Ford’s 150kW V8 released with the new Ford Fairlane and Falcon XR had a sizeable power advantage over Chrysler’s 135kW version. Torque was no up to 347 Nm and produced at a remarkably low 2000 rpm, making the Chrysler engine far more tractable than the competition. The V8 was fitted as standard in the VIP and VIP Safari, and was made optional across the entire Valiant range.

Safety revisions were also introduced, all models now fitted with dual line brakes operated by a tandem master cylinder with separate front and rear braking systems – the first for a mass produced Australian car. The V8’s were fitted with power-assisted front disc brakes as standard on the V8’s, and were available as an option on all other models.

The Power Safe Valiant - The Best Ever (9 tracks)

Brimming With The Latest Safety Kit

Other safety improvements included double-sided safety rim wheels, seat belts, exterior rear-view mirrors fitted across the entire range, a slightly modified suspension set up to improve road-holding, a recessed non-glare instrument panel, an increase to the power and operation of the windscreen wipers, electric windscreen washers, non-glare wiper arms and blades, padded sun-visors, flush-fitting interior door handles, a shatterproof interior rear-view mirror and vastly improved visibility due to the increase in glass area. In a rather strange marketing initiative, seat-belts were offered as a mandatory $10 option

The price for the base model remained unchanged at $2490, with the VIP Safari Wagon being the most expensive at $3720. They may have been a little more expensive, but they were in every way a superior car. Vastly better performing 6 cylinder engines, better road-holding, ride and comfort, those that choose to take the path less traveled were richly rewarded, and it was hard to find a dissatisfied Valiant owner. The VE would remain a very popular car, with some 68.688 being manufactured during its production run. It was the first Valiant to take out Wheels “Car of the Year” award.

Also during the VE’s production run, Chrysler Australia were able to achieve their designated 95% (average) local content quota and they opened ther Lonsdale (South Australia) foundry and engine plant in 1967. Below is a selection of 10 individual radio commercials for the VE Valiant, including the VIP and some run-out deals being offered near the end of the production run.

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Also see:

Valiant VE Specifications
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