Chrysler Valiant VC 1966-1967 - Buyer's Guide

By: Cliff Chambers

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The VC Valiant was in production for just 18 months. By then 65,000 had been built

 

CHRYSLER VALIANT VC

The VC Valiant that hit Australian showrooms in 1966 offered a new and more angular shape but sat on a platform unchanged from the previous AP6.

Big news in addition to the restyle was confirmation that the V8 engine previously available only to buyers of sedans would also be fitted to Regal wagons in addition to the VC V8 sedan.

In basic form the VC Valiant offered a 3.7-litre, 108kW engine and three-speed manual transmission with synchromesh on every forward gear. Upgrades in line with new safety regulations included windscreen washers and two-speed wipers, front seat-belt mounts and reversing lights.

| Read next: Valiant AP6-CL, V8/VF-VH hardtop market review 2017/18

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The Regal added 25 per cent to the price of a basic VC and the extra money included Chrysler’s three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission that was standard. Also in the mix was a heater/demister with blower fan, satin-trimmed dash and courtesy lights including one in the boot.

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The VC V8 was a natural progression from the previous AP6 version. Like the AP6 V8 it wasn’t badged as a Regal and sold as a separate and quite exclusive model. These cars came with a mandatory vinyl-covered roof, separate non-reclining seats, centre console and massive, chromed shift lever for the automatic.

The big black and white steering wheel was an AP6 carry-over but the dash layout and control knobs were new. The V8 Wagon swapped its bucket seats for a bench with armrest and included remote operation of the tail-gate window.

Anyone needing a lot of load-space and some class to accompany it could hop aboard a Wayfarer utility. The name dated back to Chrysler’s Royal-based utes of the 1950s and while not quite that large, the Valiant was roomy and more powerful than a six-cylinder Holden or Ford ute.

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The VC Valiant was in production for just on 18 months before the line switched to building up stocks of the VE model. By then, more than 65,000 VCs had been made and it’s likely that less than five per cent of those cars had V8 engines.

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Even with the six-cylinder engine these 1960s Valiants were no slug. Manual cars could get very close to 10 seconds for the 0-60mph (0-97km/h) sprint and top speed was more than 160km/h. These were and are a good tow-car too, with lots of torque from very low engine speeds and superior engine braking in low gear than was available from the Holden’s two-speed Powerglide transmission.

MARKET REVIEW

Some years back the VC V8 seemed set for a lunge towards $50,000 but that trend has lost its momentum. A couple of cars sold recently were unremarkable and didn’t reach $30,000. There are some very good examples still in existence though and it’s fair to predict that one of those when sold would reach close to if not better $40,000.

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Today’s market is accordingly biased towards the six-cylinder cars and there remains a decent supply in most price segments. Excellent basic cars cost $15-18,000, with six-cylinder Regals at around $25,000. VC wagons are more difficult to find than sedans and utilities very scarce but no dearer than passenger versions.

For parts support and perhaps assistance in locating a good car, join your nearest Chrysler club. These organisations are very active with numerous events and display days in various parts of the nation. They also stock or know sources of spare parts that will keep cars running and contribute to their survival.

VALUE RANGE - Chrysler Valiant VC

Fair: $4500
Good: $16,000
Excellent: $25,000
(Note: concours cars will demand more)

BUYER'S CHECKLIST

BODY & CHASSIS

Rust attacks these unitary construction cars in various places but is most critical when it affects the front suspension and sub-frame mounting points. Any VC must undergo close inspection on a hoist, looking for corrosion or recent welding. Inner and outer sills are important as well and less expensive to replace than sub-frame mounts. Repair panels are available to replace the lower front mudguards and rear quarter panels. Station wagon tailgates rust internally and can jam the window winder mechanism, so ensure it works properly. Bumpers are shared with the VE and can be found in the used market for around $250 each or rechromed for $800.

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ENGINE & TRANSMISSION

‘Slant Six’ engines and Torqueflite transmissions have a wonderful reputation for durability and it is common for these units to exceed 200,000 kilometres without major problems. Timing chain noise is common and not concerning unless it persists once the engine is warm. The motor is meant to lie at an angle but it still pays to check old engine mounts for cracks and rusty mountings. Changing them is very easy. Take off the air-cleaner and look around the carburettor for fuel leaks – your insurer will thank you. Replacing a cracked exhaust manifold with extractors is common, cost effective and will improve fuel economy. Make sure the automatic engages reverse within a couple of seconds and doesn’t shudder when down-shifting.

SUSPENSION & BRAKES

Free play at the steering wheel is common in Valiants but more than 50mm needs investigation. Bouncing and ‘chattering’ from the front end points to worn shock absorbers and tired torsion bars. Original-spec bars are being made and current costs (parts only) are around $750 per pair. Kits of front-end service components are available in Australia for less than $600. Test the drums for binding and assume a soft pedal is due to a faulty master or wheel cylinder. The hand brake should not need excessive force to activate or release.

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INTERIOR & ELECTRICS

Seat coverings, door trims and vinyl flooring remain available but avoid cars with a trashed interior as repairs are expensive. Sets of seat vinyl are around $2000 – plus installation of course – with new door cards an additional $900 per set. Steering wheels crack with age and will need to be replaced second-hand or with a US-sourced wheel. Dash hardware including gauges, a radio blanking plate and reconditioned Regal steering wheel were all found on-line at reasonable prices. Replacements for tired and noisy starter motors and alternators are being made.

Chrysler Valiant VC specs

Number built: 65,634
Body: steel, integrated body/chassis, four-door sedan or station wagon, utility
Engine: in-line 3686cc six-cylinder or 4474cc V8 with overhead valves and downdraft carburettor
Power & torque: 134kW @ 4200rpm, 352Nm @ 1600rpm (V8)
Performance: 0 -97km/h 10.5 seconds 0-400 metres 17.5 seconds (V8)
Transmission: three-speed manual, three-speed automatic
Suspension: independent with torsion bars and anti-roll bar (f) live axle with semi-elliptic springs and telescopic shock absorbers(r)
Brakes: drum or disc (f) drum (r) power assisted
Tyres: 6.95 x 14 cross-ply

 

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