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My 1971 VG Valiant

Crisp and clean styling lines contrasted with the more rounded shapes of contemporary Fords and Holdens.

When your computer spits the dummy Mark fixes it So what car would you expect this technology guru to drive every day? A 1971 VG Valiant four door sedan, that's what. But not any Valiant.

This one is a base model, with a basic 215 cubic inch hemi six. It has a three speed automatic, a radio and is stopped by drum brakes. There is no power assistance of any kind.

The VG is a genuine one family car. "It was my grandmother's car. She won it in an Art Union lottery. She only bought one ticket," explains Mark.

So not only is the Valiant a bare bones basic piece of transport, it cost almost nothing. Mark continues the story:  "My grandmother drove it for about 20 years and when she gave up driving at age 85 it was given to me".

Nothing has been done to the Valiant during its forty years on the road, save for the usual servicing and replacement of worn parts. The motor and auto transmission are original. The interior is original, too. The front seat shows some signs of wear but the back seat gleams as if new.

Although the body has a few rust spots, the paint work may be fading in a few places and the chrome a little tarnished, Mark's VG is a perfect example of classic car motoring in its purest form. Cheap, reliable transport that has been cared for but not pampered.

And it is rare. How many stock standard VG Valiants with the smallest of the hemi sixes have you seen recently?

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Any automobile that has survived with its original motor intact, its interior in useable condition and the paint work still presentable renders it very desirable and collectible.

In the USA and the UK there values of original cars are climbing at a faster rate than restored collectibles. They are considered to be irreplaceable time capsules. "Worn in, not worn out", is a sound bite starting to gain traction.

(pic left: The 215 cubic inch 'hemi' engine.)

VG History

  • Released in March 1970 the VG Valiant was little changed from its VF predecessor, at least in the styling department. The VF was itself a mild facelift of the VE, which was an Australianised version of the 1966 American Dodge Dart.
  • By contrast it was the engine which got all the attention. Gone was the reliable `slant' six, and in its place was a trio of `hemi' sixes.
  • These motors allowed Chrysler to keep its bragging rights for having the most powerful six cylinder engines of the big three in Australia.
  • To ensure we all were aware of the hemi , Chrysler brought a retired Stirling Moss out to Australia to front their comprehensive advertising campaign.
  • VE, VF and VG Valiant's are very much underrated as classic cars.
  • The two door hardtops have never reached the money levels of the Monaro, despite their Dodge Dart heritage and cool, clean looks. Consequently they represent great value for those looking for stylish and reliable classic cars. Buy now and avoid the rush.
  •  The distinctive concave rear window was an enduring design feature of the VE, VF and VG models

David Burrell is editor of  www.retroautos.com.au

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