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Specifications, Identification Information, Original Photographs, Road Tests, Brochures, Advertisements, Press Releases
Hey Charger! That ultra-successful advertising slogan sits high in the annals of well- remembered promotions in Australian motoring history. Indeed, many think that Hey Charger even outranks Holden's "... meat pies and Holden cars" and Ford's "Trim, Taut, Terrific" in the all-time list of best-ever slogans. Almost 30 years have passed since these glorious days of over-the-top automotive engineering and marketing, yet there's still a huge amount of interest in cars like the Valiant Charger to this day.
This Valiant Charger was an Australian invention, though it borrowed its name, as well as some design themes and engineering experience from Chrysler's head office in the USA. The styling was something else again. In an era of big bonnets and short tails the Aussie Charger took things one very extravagant step further. The bonnet was positively vast and from the driver's seat seemed to stretch forever in all directions, though the rising outer edges did help to make it less daunting in traffic than it would otherwise have been. The tail set new ground in its shape with a convex appearance that owed a lot to the Kamm principle of aerodynamics. At least in theory, we're not sure if the Charger's body ever saw the inside of a wind tunnel.
The slope of the Charger's roof was just right and in an automotive era where bold was good, those big slots in the upper reaches of the three-quarter looked just great. Though there have been reports since then that what look like aero slots are there to mask a hard-to-match joint rather than for any other reason. Pity, we like to think of them as being purely functional in their intent.
Charger arrived in the midst of the muscle car era that had begun, arguably, with the Ford Mustang in the early 1960s. Chrysler had long had a long history of motor sport and many of its muscle machines were the real thing. With a bit of imagination you can look at the Charger and even see cues to the legendary Chrysler C300, which later became the 300C. Today's Chrysler 300C for the 21st century is shaped to bring back memories of its honourable forebear.
Charger E49 was famed as the fastest accelerating production car of its time and still ranks right up there with the best of them. Hurt by the so-called Supercar Scare, it nevertheless managed to carry on with less loss of prowess than the hot Holdens and Fords of the time.
From the moment it hit the Chrysler showrooms and the front pages of newspapers in car -mad Australia, Valiant Charger was never going to be anything but a hit. At one stage in its short but glorious career it was selling an unheard of 50 per cent of the total Valiant lineup. Then the fuel crises of the mid 1970s struck, not to mention the financial crises of at Chrysler's head office in the USA. These combined to slow the development of the big coupe and eventually led to its sad downfall.
We trust you enjoy this Valiant Charger book that is part of our respected Marque Classic Series and hope that you get as much enjoyment from reading it as we got from compiling the story of the best Australian Chrysler ever made.