Chrysler Australia built cars locally from 1962 to 1981, producing memorable and still much loved cars starting with the R & S Series sedans based on the US Plymouth Valiant. The AP5 followed in 1963 - the last to offer the novelty of push-button gear selection. Replaced by the AP6 of 1965 - the first locally built car to offer a V8 option with the 273 Commando. Stock engine was the bullet proof and powerful 225 cubic inch slant six that was the mainstay under the bonnets of the VC, VE & VF models. With the VG of 1970, Chrysler replaced the slant motor with the locally developed 245 inch (4ltr) Hemi.
The first all Australian Valiant was the VH of 1971, with Hemi sixes offered in sizes from 215 (3.5ltr), 245 and 265 (4.3ltr) cubic inches. V8s ranged from the 318 Fireball to the potent 340 offered in the E55 Charger, and the 360 that was the stock unit in the luxury Chrysler By Chrysler sedan and hardtop. The VJ introduced electronic ignition in 1974 - first local manufacturer to do so. The little-changed VK introduced in late 1975 sold barely 16,000 units - signalling the beginning of the end for Chrysler Australia. The restyled CL range released for 1976 heralded the demise of the legendary Charger two door - phased out in 1977.
The final locally built Chryslers were the CM sedan and wagons introduced in late 1978, with cutting edge ‘Electronic Lean Burn’ engine management on all engines, the range dropped to two sixes - 245 and 265 Hemi, and the 318 Fireball 5.2ltr V8. The last CM rolled off the line in late 1981 - the end of an era.
Models included the Safari wagons, prestigious Regal and VIP sedans, Regal 770 hardtop, long wheelbase Chrysler by Chrysler, the iconic Charger coupe, Pacer and R/T muscle cars.
Chrysler Australia’s most loved car is undoubtedly the Charger. From the sensational VH of 1971 through to the VJ, VK and final CL model of 1977 - the Charger remains the most successful coupe ever made in Australia. Models include the muscle Chargers - the VH R/T E37, E38 and mighty E49 six packs - triple side draft Weber carbs mounted on the mighty 265 (4.4 litre) Hemi. The E55 offered the hot US Mopar 340 small block, or buyers could order a milder 318 and 360 V8. Cheaper models came with the 245 Hemi which still offered rapid performance.
One of American’s great marques, Chrysler’s most memorable post-war model was the magnificent Hemi powered 300 ‘letter cars’ starting with the 300C of 1955 and ending with the 300L in 1965. Full sized luxury was available in the form of New Yorker, Town & Country and Newport sedans & wagons, the sleek 300 coupe, convertible and hardtop sedan, and luxurious Cordoba coupe introduced in 1975.
From 1955 through 1975, Imperial was a standalone marque. After 1975 it was brought back in to the Chrysler fold…but in the two decades Imperial stood alone, it made some magnificent luxury cars to rival Cadillac and Lincoln. Models include the Imperial Crown, Custom and LeBaron sedans, coupes and convertibles.