Joined: 14 Aug 2006
|Posted: Tue May 31, 2022 4:42 pm Post subject: Valiant Charger
|The Valiant Charger
The Chrysler Valiant Charger was a two-door hardtop coupe introduced by Chrysler Australia.
Introduced as the VH Valiant series, it continued in the VJ, VK and CL series until production ceased in 1978.
It was marketed and badged as the Valiant Charger in the VH and VJ series and as the Chrysler Charger in the later VK and CL series.
The Charger was based on the US Chrysler A-body platform, with virtually identical front suspension.
The fenders were widened and a wider rear axle fitted so that the track, front and rear was considerably wider than any US A-body, thus allowing the wheels to be much wider than the USA body.
The Charger was extraordinarily popular in Australia during the VH series. At one point Charger production totalled 80% of all Australian Valiant production.
The VH Valiant Charger achieved critical acclaim, winning the 1971 Australian Wheels Car of the Year Award. It was also popular in New Zealand where they were assembled from imported kits.
The sporty image of the Charger faded through the VJ range of cars and production was phased out with the release of the VK series.
During the seven years of production, the Charger carried many variations of essentially two basic powerplants, based on the Chrysler Hemi-6 Engine and versions of the Chrysler LA engine V8.
VH Valiant Charger
The Chrysler VH Valiant Charger range, introduced in 1971, consisted of Charger, Charger XL, Charger 770 and Charger R/T (Road/Track) models.
The R/T version carried on Chrysler's performance image from the VG series Valiant Pacer, and soon became the platform for Chrysler's participation in production car racing in Australia. The range of cars was broad-based to appeal to all manner of people:
• Charger: (140 bhp (100 kW), 3spd manual, $2795.00
• Charger XL: 245 cu in (4.0 L) base engine (160 bhp (120 kW), 3spd manual, $3195.00
• Charger R/T: 265 cu in (4.3 L) HP base engine (218 bhp (163 kW), 3spd manual, $3395.00
• Charger R/T E38: 265 cu in (4.3 L) HP base engine (280 bhp (210 kW), 3spd manual, $3975.00
• Charger R/T E49: 265 cu in (4.3 L) HP base engine (302 bhp (225 kW), 4spd manual, $3975.00
• Charger 770: 265 cu in (4.3 L) HP base engine (203 bhp (151 kW), 3spd automatic, $3625.00
• Charger 770: 318 cu in (5.2 L) 2bbl V8 engine (230 bhp (170 kW), 3spd automatic, $4105.00
• Charger 770 SE E55: 340 cu in (5.6 L) 4bbl V8 engine (275 bhp (205 kW), 3spd automatic, $4850.00
The Charger R/T option E37 featured a tuned "Six Pack" version of the engine with triple side-draught Weber carburettors, and was the basis of Chrysler's touring car racer for 1971. This engine could also be ordered as an option on all models.
The Charger R/T E49 engine produced remarkable torque on a seven bearing configuration which enabled considerable power development previously un-obtained from 6-cylinder engines and not surpassed until the Porsche Turbo 911 (300) release of 1975.
The Charger 770 SE (Special Edition) featured the E55 option; which was the 340ci 4bbl V8 engine, many motoring journalists correctly reported at the time as being imported by Chrysler for an aborted racing touring car homologation exercise.
Chrysler Racing Manager John Ellis stated at the time that a ute fitted with the 340ci V8 (and the same wheelbase as the R/T Charger) was track tested at the Mallala circuit in South Australia by racing driver Leo Geoghegan (and on local roads by Leo and his brother Ian), but was found to be 2–3 seconds slower around Mallala than the E49.
The heavier V8 at the front caused severe understeer and required earlier braking than the Hemi six. Despite the slower lap times at Mallala, it was expected that the extra power of the 340ci V8 would have worked better on the long straights and uphill runs at Bathurst where there were few heavy braking or tight corners.
John Ellis then incorrectly stated that the 340ci engines were not imported for Bathurst and that an R/T 340 Charger was not being considered.
336 340ci engines plus 4 speed gear boxes were imported by Colin Adey under direct instructions from Chrysler Chief Engineer Walt McPherson. Chrysler General Manager David Brown and Walt McPherson had discussed the short comings of the E49 265ci and decided the 340ci was to be the next R/T Touring Car.
Due to bad press coverage at the time the 340ci program was aborted and Chrysler did the only thing it could do which was to recoup the cost outlay by selling the stocks of the imported 340ci engines. The engines were sold off in the upmarket 770 SE (Grand Tourer) Charger.
The SE was fitted with an imported 'Torqueflite' 727 transmission, Chrysler further watered down engine performance by using a single pipe exhaust system.
Apart from its unique engine, the Charger 770 SE featured other signature details such as combination black and white vinyl trim and one with single colour Maroon vinyl trim, turned metal dash facia, and it was only available in three body colours, namely Vintage Red (Bright Red), Limelight (green), and Sunfire (yellow metallic).
Production records indicate that Chrysler manufactured a total of 125 VH Valiant Charger 770 SE cars, two of which varied from standard specification in being painted White and one Deep Maroon.
In March 1973 the VH range was superseded by the VJ series.
The VJ featured changes to the cowl, grille, lighting and rear quarter feature panel, with notably 7" round headlights replacing the previous rectangular units.
Significantly, this new model range saw the end of the Charger R/T, which pretty much coincided with Chrysler having officially withdrawn from participation in Australian touring car racing at the end of the 1972 season.
Then came the VJ Charger 770
When specified with the E55 340ci V8 engine option, such VJ-series cars were no longer tagged as a special edition Charger 770 "SE". This meant that a variety of colour and trim combinations are featured in E55 optioned VJ Chargers such that the only external distinguishing features were the "340 4BBL" badges on the front guards. Most, but not all, of the VJ-series E55 option cars also featured the W35 option seven inch wide alloy wheels that had been special orders on previous Chargers.
There was an improvement to the motor in this model with the introduction of "Electronic Ignition" which replaced the use of points ignition. This greatly improved the Charger for day-to-day use and make cold starts much easier and no longer required the ignition to be tuned every 10,000 km.
The Carter ThermoQuad carbie was used in this series which provided an improvement to engine performance as the flow in the carburettor was increased from 625 cfm to 800 cfm.
Early VJ models maintained heads with 2.02" inlet valves, whereas later heads had a decrease in inlet valve size
Most E55 versions of the VJ Charger were manufactured during the latter half of 1973. When remaining stocks of the 340 cu in (5.6 L) V8 depleted Chrysler ceased manufacturing cars with the E55 option E55 and in late 1974 extended availability of the V8 to the Charger 770.
In August 1974, a limited edition Charger Sportsman was released, based upon the Charger XL. Built to a quantity of 500 units, all Sportsman Chargers were painted an exclusive combination of Vintage Red and white, with a combination black and white interior featuring specific cloth trim.
These cars were powered by the standard 265ci engine and four speed manual transmission.
A mildly revised VK series Charger was then released in October 1975 in only two variants:
• Charger XL:
• Charger 770:
The introduction of the VK series saw the demise of the "Six Pack" engine E48 option package, such that only a basic specification 4.3 L (262.4 cu in) engine remained.
The Charger was now marketed as the Chrysler Charger rather than as the Chrysler Valiant Charger with Chrysler script badging having replaced Valiant badging front and rear.
Some further changes with the VK model included 'white-out' grille treatment, revised rear light clusters, and revised 'C' pillar ornamentation utilising extended fibreglass panels in black, incorporating XL or 770 badge identification.
Inside, wiper and windscreen washer controls were now integrated into the indicator stalk and there were also some trim revisions.
In June 1976, ADR 27A (an updated emissions regulation) was implemented for all Australian market motor vehicles, which resulted in both the 3.5 L (213.6 cu in) engine and the 5.9 L (360.0 cu in) V8 engine being dropped from all relevant vehicles in Chrysler's VK series range.
The final Charger was the VK Charger White Knight Special released in July 1976 as 200 limited edition Charger XL cars.
This model received a cosmetic treatment inside and out, and featuring a front body spoiler. Half of the production run were painted Arctic White and the other half were painted Amarante Red, with bumpers and grille painted to match.
These cars featured the 4.3 L (262.4 cu in) six-cylinder engine, with a choice of manual or automatic transmission, and interiors were trimmed to a specific combination of white vinyl with red accents.