Chrysler Centura - Best Aussie Buys #3

By: Guy Allen, Cliff Chambers, Photography by: Unique Cars Archives

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The market for collectible Aussie cars may hve gone nuts over the years but that doesn't mean all the bargains have gone. We've chosen our top five and at number three is the Chrysler Centura



Chrysler’s Centura was a bit of an oddball locally and, like its closest competitor – Ford’s Cortina – had its roots in a European design.  The engineering was conventional enough, and the pricing was competitive, but the parent company once again found itself battling much stronger brand loyalty for Ford and Holden equivalents. It was briefly available with a 2.0lt four-cylinder engine, but it’s by far best remembered for the Australia-only sixes.

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Mid-size was a hot market segment at the time

Launched at a time when the market was looking for something smaller than a Falcon or Kingswood that seemed to be growing, the sixes were launched as a 215ci (3.5lt) or the big 245ci (4.0lt) in XL or GL trim levels. Move on a couple of years and the 245 GLX became the sole survivor.

| 2019 Market Review: Chrysler Centura/Charger/Drifter Van 1971-1978

The vast majority of this model were delivered as three-speed automatics. However a three-speed manual was available, and there was even a handful that escaped with the four-speed Borg-Warner.

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Braking was pretty up-spec for the day, with disc front and drum rear, fitted with a proportioning valve to minimise lock-up. That gave it a useful safety edge.

| Buyers' Guide: Chrysler Centura 1975-1978

Typical of the period, the big sixes tended to give these cars a ‘lead-tipped arrow’ nose-heavy feel, which could be alleviated with a better choice of springs and a general freshen up of the front end. The engines are robust and parts can be found, while trim can be a real challenge. Anything other than a dry and whole body is going to be big job to revive.

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A combination of rust and disinterest got most of them, partly because they were worth literally next to nothing up until quite recently. However the odd one still pops up on the market. Something solid will cost you around the $10k mark, while an exceptional – and it would have to be the 245 – just might climb to the $15k-plus mark.

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1975-78 Chrysler Centura specs

Engine 3.5 & 4.0lt* six
Power 123kW @ 4400rpm*
Torque 319Nm @ 1800rpm*
Gearbox 3/4-speed manual or 3-speed auto
Front Independent with coils Rear: Live axle with coils
Brakes Discs/drums F/R
Weight 1250kg


Best Aussie Buys:

#2 - HSV VR-VS Clubsport
#3 - Chrysler Centura
#4 - 2002-2007 BA-BF Ford Falcon XR6T
#5 - 2002 Mitsubishi Ralliart Magna

From Unique Cars issue 441, June 2020


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