1969 Chrysler VF Valiant Safari: Reader ride
David & Prudence Virgona's 1969 Chrysler VF Valiant Safari
1969 Chrysler VF Valiant Safari
I guess you could say I’m a Chrysler geek, I’ve got every model in the VF range, they’re all project cars. I bought this car from a guy in Adelaide who’d bought it from the original owner and just wanted to ‘flip’ it. He sent me some photos and it looked good so my wife Prudence and I went over to Adelaide and drove home with it. It’s a beautiful car and only had 80,000 miles on it when I got it. It drank a lot of oil on the trip and you could tell the engine was on its last legs, which was a bit suss for that many miles. I think it must have sat around for a long time.
I wouldn’t say it was a barn find but it was a country car and had been well looked after all its life. I found receipts that showed it had been repainted in 1986 but the interior is perfect. The original owner had put carpets on the floor and when I pulled them up the original vinyl floor mats were under it. They were 95 percent perfect.
And there is absolutely no rust anywhere in it but I did spend two days with an air compressor and steel brush getting all the brown dust off the underside of the car. It really was a farm car and I’m still finding gunk under it when I wash it.
Last year I painted the engine bay and apart from rebuilding the engine, that’s about it. It’s got the original 225 cubic-inch slant-six with a two-barrel Carter, which was an option at the time.
The engine spec is totally original. When I pulled it down, I had everything checked out and put it straight back together the way it was, all it needed was a set of rings. The only change was the two-barrel carby because I had the manifold and thought, ‘Why not drink a bit more fuel when we cruise?’ It’s got all the original suspension and a Borg-Warner 35 three-speed auto and it drives beautifully.
I’ve added the sun visor, wind deflectors and Venetian blinds. It had a mesh visor on it when I bought it but I replaced it with one of the original solid visors. We tend to go to all the Chrysler car shows but we haven’t won any trophies because the car usually gets lumped with Pacers that have had 80 grand spent on them. A wagon can’t compete with a Pacer on the show scene. I mainly go to car shows to catch up with all the boys, anyway. I’ve got plenty of cars in the shed to work on at the moment, including a ute, and I’m looking for a good VIP Valiant.
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