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Published on May 28, 2018

The Chrysler Valiant (CL) is an automobile which was produced in Australia by Chrysler Australia from 1976 to 1978. The CL, which was the twelfth Australian Chrysler Valiant model, replaced the Chrysler Valiant (VK). It was also built in South Africa by Sigma, who marketed it there as the Chrysler SE.

The Chrysler CL models featured new grilles, a new nose cone and new bonnet, and, (on sedans), new rear panels including boot lid, lower panel and quarter panel. A panel van body style was added to the range in April 1977.

CL Series
The CL Series Valiant was introduced in November 1976. Although it used the same bodyshell as the previous VK range, the front and rear ends were restyled. The front end used horizontally arrayed quad round headlamps flanking a central grille. The front guards and bonnet were also reworked accordingly. The new bootlid's curved leading edge flowed down to new taillights that sandwiched a simple centre garnish panel. The bumpers, however, were the same units as had been used on the 1969 VF series Valiants.

The Ranger name was dropped; the base model CL was simply called Valiant, and the long-wheelbase "Chrysler by Chrysler" was replaced by the Regal SE. The CL series Regal was marketed as the Chrysler Regal, in contrast to the Valiant Regal name used from the AP5 series through to the recently superseded VK Series. The CL series was the last to include a Charger model, which — like the previous VK model — was badged and sold as a Chrysler, not as a Valiant submodel. The CL Charger was generally available in only one trim level, the Charger 770, though a Charger XL was made available to police departments. The CL series also saw the arrival of the panel van variant to compete with similar offerings from rival makers.

Interiors carried over largely unchanged from the VK range, though the Regal SE offered luxurious buttoned-leather seating as an option. Base Valiants continued with the previous Ranger style strip speedometer, while the Regal dash featured recessed circular gauges and clock with a woodgrain finish. The Charger 770 dash was similar to that of the Regal, except it was finished in black and had a tachometer instead of a clock.

The 3.5L (215 ci) Hemi-6 and 5.9L (360 ci) V8 were dropped, and the only engine options were low- and high-compression versions of the 4.0L (245 ci) Hemi-6 and the 5.2L (318 ci) V8. The CL's introduction had closely coincided with that of the strict exhaust emission regulations contained in ADR 27A. With the 318 engine, a new emissions control system was introduced: Electronic Lean Burn.

Transmission options were 3-speed manual with floor or column shift, four-speed manual with floor shift, and three-speed Torqueflite automatic with floor or column shift. The automatic was standard equipment with the 318 V8, and optional with a 6-cylinder. The 4-speed was optional for six- and eight-cylinder models. The floor-shift auto option was fitted to most Regals and all Regal SE's.

In 1978 Chrysler released a limited edition run of 400 special Regal Le Baron models (option A17). The Le Baron was available only in Silver, with red or blue interiors. The 265 Hemi-6 was standard, and the 318 V8 was optional.

Valiant and Regal sedans also benefited from the 1978 introduction of Radial Tuned Suspension in response to Holden's having marketed their suspension as particularly suited to radial tyres. RTS improved the car's handling and roadholding significantly, and "Modern Motor" magazine proclaimed that the Valiant offered a better drive than the Holden.

The last special option in the CL range was the $816 Drifter package, available on the Charger. The Drifter package included Impact Orange, Sundance Yellow, Spinnaker White or Harvest Gold body paint, and large side and rear stripes. Drifters in white had additional "strobe stripes" on the bootlid. Engine options were again the 265 six or 318 V8, but the 4-speed manual was the only transmission option. A Drifter Pack was also offered on the Valiant Panel Van and on the Utility.

The CL was the last Valiant series assembled in New Zealand – by now the Chargers and Ranger were gone and the Regal and the Regal SE, replacing the 770, were the only models. The Regal SE was the first car to be assembled in the country with standard air conditioning.

36,672 CL Valiants — including the last-ever Chargers — were built, prior to the replacement of the CL by the Chrysler Valiant (CM) in 1978.

CC rating: 4,342cc 265 ci (4.3L) I6

NZ First Registration: 28-Apr-1978 / NZ New


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