Central West Car Club: John's R-Series automatic Valiant one of a very few

RARE: John Sullivan from the Central West Car Club is fortunate enough to own one of 336 R-Series Valiant push button automatics that rolled off the assembly line in South Australia in 1962. Photo: Jeff McClurg
RARE: John Sullivan from the Central West Car Club is fortunate enough to own one of 336 R-Series Valiant push button automatics that rolled off the assembly line in South Australia in 1962. Photo: Jeff McClurg

Built in Australia from January 1962 to March the same year, the R-Series Valiant had a production run here of weeks, not months, with 1008 of the sedans leaving the assembly line in South Australia.

672 were manuals and the remaining 336 were automatics and John Sullivan from the Central West Car Club is fortunate enough to have one of each.

I spoke to him and his wife Lenette recently to find out a little more about them.

After owning a few of the later S-Series Valiants, John bought this car, his first R-Series about 1998.

Lenette was quick to tell me that while out with some friends looking at a Renault for somebody else, John told her he'd bought something for her.

"I thought I was getting a puppy," she laughed, "but he came home with another Valiant."

"I'd owned Ss before," John said.

"But I'd always admired and wanted an R-Series.

"They're very similar looking cars and I'd always thought it was just a few cosmetic changes between the two models, but I've since found out that there's more than 75 differences between the two."

UNIQUE: The unique automatic push buttons controls on the right of the steering wheel of the 1962 R-Series Valiant. Photo: Jeff McClurg

UNIQUE: The unique automatic push buttons controls on the right of the steering wheel of the 1962 R-Series Valiant. Photo: Jeff McClurg

The R-Series Valiants were brought into Australia from the U.S. as a CKD (Complete Knock Down) and pieced together here.

They were painted and upholstered here and various other components were also sourced locally to ensure Australian content.

Because of the limited run of the R-Series, dealerships were allocated limited numbers each.

As an example, Stansfield Motors here in Parkes at the time was only allocated two cars which sold immediately.

"Funnily enough, this car came from a retired Chrysler dealer in Canowindra," John said.

"It'd been parked in a creek bed under a tree for 12 years so it needed a lot of work. I owe a lot of thanks to David Shanks who did all the initial rust repairs for me."

John's car has been finished in the original white duco with a blue interior. It has the well known 225 c.i. 'slant six' motor with Valiant's unique push button automatic transmission.

John's R-Series Valiant has been finished and on the road for almost 10 years now, and he's absolutely loving it.

If you would like to find out more about the Central West Car Club you can search for us on Facebook or go to centralwestcarclub.com

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