A while ago, I made a new rule: I wouldn’t photograph cars in undercover parking lots anymore. The photos never turned out all that great, rarely meeting my standards for Curbside Classic or for my Instagram. This beautiful, blue ’65 Chrysler Valiant wagon, however, defied all photographic odds.
This is an AP6-series Valiant. For the first few months of production, the AP6 Valiant wagon used the same rear pressings as the US/Canadian Plymouth Valiant wagon. Shortly thereafter, Chrysler Australia made some changes: vertical taillights, revised side windows, and new rear quarter panels and a new rear bumper, among other modifications.
For comparison’s sake, here’s a ’66 Valiant wagon. Personally, I think the original rear end looked better.
From 1963 until 1971, Valiant wagons used the Safari nameplate. The AP6-series Safari was available in regular Valiant and fancier Valiant Regal and Valiant V8 trims and with either the Slant Six or the 180-hp 273 cubic-inch V8. This was the first series of Aussie Valiant to have a V8 option, as well as the first to be available in ute form. The utes are hard to come by nowadays, well-maintained or restored wagons being the most common 60s Valiants on the roads. The metallic blue paint may or may not be stock as the AP6 series also heralded the introduction of metallic paint as an option.
Here’s another AP6-series Safari I spotted in the wild. The AP6-series was an evolution of the AP5, the first Valiant to be manufactured in Australia instead of just assembled. The AP5 also saw some meaningful differentiation from its US cousin, including a different trunk and rear window on the sedan.
The big three Aussies of the 1960s – the Holden, the Ford Falcon, and the Chrysler Valiant – were all handsome cars but the Valiant has a special kind of swagger. Remember, Americans and Canadians, that these were considered to be standard or full-size cars in Australia and not compacts. Chrysler did offer some larger vehicles like the Dodge Phoenix but the Valiant was their bread-and-butter. It also beat the Falcon to the punch in offering a V8, if only by a few months; Holden’s V8 option was still a couple of years off.
By the AP6, Virgil Exner’s excesses had been mostly toned down but there were still some creative flourishes. Kudos to Exner for designing a wagon that didn’t simply look like a sedan with a box on the back. Coupled with the glimmering paint of this example, the AP6 Valiant Safari is worth breaking a rule for.