1967 VE Valiant

VE Valiant hiding in plain sight

The 1967 VE Valiant is one of those classics that has been hiding in plain sight for decades.

It won the 1967 Wheels magazine Car of the Year, sandwiched between 1966 winner, the XR Falcon and the 1968 winner, the HK Monaro.

And yet prices in the classic car market lag behind those of its Ford and Holden equivalents.

That’s good news for those who might be considering their first classic car, because the VE represents the best of the USA and Australia.

The origins of the VE’s clean cut styling are in the design studios of Chrysler in the USA.

It was styled alongside its American siblings, the Plymouth Valiant and Dodge Dart.

It’s shape is a neat combination of both, with some Australian design influence thrown in.

The chamfered front end and grille is all Dodge.

The dimensions and side styling are from the Plymouth.

The roof line and everything beyond the back doors, especially the convex/concave rear window — is all Aussie.

When the VE was released in 1967, it could be had with Australia’s most power six-cylinder engine, the 160hp version of the famed slant six 225. 

The 273 cubic inch/4.5 litre V8 was an option.

The model to find is the top of the range VIP.

With the V8, automatic and vinyl roof as standard, the VIP sedan was a stop gap against the then recently released long wheelbase Ford Fairlane. 

The VE VIP did predict the profitable niche market for standard wheelbase “super luxury” models that Chrysler and Ford later exploited with the Regal 770 and Fairmont Ghia models, respectively.

What is especially unique is the VIP wagon.

It appeared only as a VE model.

An integrated roof rack replaced the sedan’s vinyl roof.

It was a super luxury and very powerful family hauler long before Audi, BMW and Mercedes offered us their upmarket “estate” cars.

If you can find a good example of a VIP wagon, then you are a lucky person.

I’ve always admired the VE, with its straight cut, sharp-edged styling.

It stood apart from the more rounded shapes of the XR Falcon and HR/HK Holden, its main competitors at the time.

And with its prices still below that of the Falcon and Holden, I reckon that some smart Chrysler enthusiasts are quietly collecting good examples for when everyone else realises their real value.

David Burrell is the editor of retroautos


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