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Thread: Chrysler Valiant (VJ) 1973-1975

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    Feb 2005

    Chrysler Valiant (VJ) 1973-1975

    May 1973 saw the introduction of the next model in the new All-Australian designed Valiant The VJ. Although essentially a facelifted version of the VH Valiant before it, the VJ's subtle changes made enough of an impact on the buying public to make it the biggest selling Chrysler Valiant model of all, with 90,865 units being sold.

    Externally the VJ Valiant continued on with the VH series body styles, though the VJ reverted to single 7" round headlamps and a new 8-segment grille. VJ sedans also received new horizontal taillights.

    Although the physical changes were few, many other new features were introduced in the VJ Valiant range, such as electronic ignition, rustproofing and floor-mounted shifters as standard features.

    Chrysler upgraded equipment levels in July 1974 with front disc brakes, door reflectors, lockable glovebox and retractable seatbelts all as standard features.

    While the VJ range still offered sedan, wagon, ute, hardtop and coupe variants, the performance-oriented Pacer sedans and Charger R/T coupes were deleted from the new range. However, a variation of the E37 Six Pack engine (now with four-speed manual transmission) was made available, in the form of option E48, with most of the cars bearing this option ending up being base model VJ Charger coupes. Interestingly, four VJ Charger coupes were built by special order featuring the VH series option E49 engine. The other carry-over performance variant was option E55, with the 340ci V8 engine option officially remaining as restricted to Charger 770 coupe application only.

    In August 1974, a special run of 500 Sportsman coupes were released, based upon the Charger XL model. They were only available in Vintage Red with white body accents. These cars also had a unique white interior with plaid cloth seats and featured a standard 265 engine with a choice of either manual or automatic transmissions.

    In New Zealand, Todd Motors was even more adventurous with the VJ. The base Ranger XL and Charger were updated, as in Australia, with similar NZ-only variations as the VH but the VJ Regal 770 was something of a 'parts bin special' and essentially a merger of a VJ Regal with a CH Chrysler. The nose combined the CH's four headlamps and grille with VH Valiant sheetmetal (retaining the older, larger, clear park/indicator lamps) while the rest of the body was as per Australian VJ. Inside, new front seats were CH style, with individual chairs forming a bench shape, and a column automatic shifter was now used. Earlier cars had all-vinyl upholstery but cloth was fitted as standard later. New Zealand VJ Regals also had a vinyl roof in black or beige and the panel between the tail lights was also trimmed in vinyl to match.

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