apMLKIGH 1969 VF Valiant VIP 5
1969 VF Valiant VIP 5
1969 VF Valiant VIP

Valiant VIP longed to be a Fairlane

Remember the Valiant VIP?

It was Chrysler Australia’s “luxury” car from 1967 to 1971.

It was designed to compete with Ford’s highly successful, Falcon-derived Fairlane.

The name was cycled through three models: VE, VF and VG.

And get this, the VIP outsold Holden’s Brougham.

When I was first told that information I thought “that can’t be right”. 

I had assumed that the VIP was a distant number three in sales of local “luxury” models of that era, reflecting Chrysler Australia’s declining market share at the time.

But a check of the available data confirmed it. 

The VIP went to 10,050 buyers. 

The HK/HT/HG Brougham is estimated to have reached around 9800 units.

Mind you, the Brougham was never a sales winner, so beating it was not hard.

When the VE VIP first appeared in mid-1967, it was really a Valiant Regal sedan with all the trimmings.

It came in sedan and wagon formats.

A V8 was standard along with power disc brakes, radio, heater, power steering, bucket seats, a vinyl roof and a flowery VIP badge.

Sales were not brisk but it accounted for six per cent of total VE model sales, which was a nice little earner for Chrysler.

For the VF and VG models Chrysler Australia dropped the wagon and the six-cylinder engine became standard, with the V8 now optional.

They also stretched the Valiant sedan’s wheel base by 4.0 inches/102mm.

The VIP’s brochure made much of its longer wheelbase adding to rear legroom.

Trouble was, occupants in the back seat of a Falcon and Kingswood already experienced a similar amount of space.

And Ford’s Fairlane was even longer, with a healthy 116 inch/2946mm wheelbase.

Plus, the extended wheelbase of the VIP made the narrow Valiant look even narrower. 

A bit too dachshund like. 

While the Fairlane was a demonstrably bigger car than the Falcon, and the Brougham’s longer boot gave it some point of styling difference, the VIP still looked like a Valiant from the side. 

And that was its biggest drawback.

On the upside, the VG VIP was the first local car to have air conditioning as standard.

The Chrysler Australia board must have been proud of the VG VIP, because a photo of them was included in the VIP brochure. 

But even the ageing faces of the Chrysler’s decision makers could not stop luxury car buyers walking into a Ford dealership and driving out in a longer, lower, wider Fairlane.

As with all forgotten classics, a VIP is a rare and valuable automobile these days.

David Burrell is the editor of retroautos


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