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
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
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.
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.