1970s / American / Australian / Chrysler

Driven daily: Chrysler Valiant Ute (CM-series)

I photographed the CM-series Chrysler Valiant Ute you see below a couple of hours east of Melbourne, Australia.

I’m certainly not an expert on the Australian auto industry, but my impression after spending a little over three weeks there is that classic Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon utes are markedly more popular than the Valiant. I don’t know if this because Chrysler sold fewer cars, because the Valiant isn’t as sought-after by collectors, or both. I’m sure readers from Down Under will shed more information on this topic.

What I can say is this is the only Valiant Ute I saw on the trip. Utes are — as the name clearly implies — primarily utility vehicles, and this one has had a rough life. Virtually every single body panel is dented, scratched, or rusted. Living in a humid climate hasn’t helped its cause, though it’s fared better than some of the Italian cars I encountered in the same area. It’s still being used regularly so it must be in decent mechanical shape, especially considering the long distances cars typically drive in Australia.

 

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One thought on “Driven daily: Chrysler Valiant Ute (CM-series)

  1. Back in the day Valiants (always ‘Chrysler’ Valiants) were a distant third of the big three, and the same applied to their utes. The local Chrysler subsidiary was taken over by Mitsubishi in 1980, who made the last Aussie Valiant the following year (yes, a Valiant made by Mitsubishi).

    Holden and Ford Falcon utes continued in production of course, with occasional model updates, so they’re much more visible, but their utes of that era (70s) are pretty thin on the ground too. (A real find would be a Valiant panel van, a rare animal.)

    The ‘4.0 litre’ badge refers to the local 245 ‘hemi’ six, which was known to be more powerful than the Holden and Falcon equivalents. They also came in 215ci and 265ci displacements. Also available was the 318 v8.

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