Anthony Barone’s 1967 VC Regal Valiant

Anthony Barone has owned his VC Valiant Regal for 34 years, but the car's latest build has it truly living up to its name

Photographers: Troy Barker

In Adelaide’s ’burbs back in 1988, mullets were king and tough Valiants were aplenty. These were heady times for Anthony Barone. Back then he was a wide-eyed teenager strongly influenced by the locally produced Pentastar brand thanks to his dad’s VG Regal coupe. But it was the earlier VC Valiant that truly captured Anthony’s attention, having witnessed examples that had been nicely modified into a tough bit of kit. “VCs were popular to do up at the time,” he explains.

First published in the March 2022 issue of Street Machine

Fortunately, it wasn’t long until Anthony could sink his teenage enthusiasm into one of his own. “I was 17 and about to start my apprenticeship as a fitter and turner, so I needed a car to get to work,” he says. “My father then bought me a ’67 VC Valiant Regal – it was just before he passed away.” Needless to say, Anthony now has a strong emotional attachment to the car.

Sporting a factory-fitted 273ci V8 backed by a 904 trans, the red VC was finished with a modernised black vinyl interior. It was a great daily for a couple of years – until a lifter broke.

Like any self-respecting car dude, Anthony planned to rebuild the mill and bang out a quick engine bay respray during the donk’s absence. But what should’ve been a fairly quick fix and tidy-up exploded into a much larger project thanks to his childhood neighbour and great mate Bill, who was an apprentice spray painter.

“Bill said, ‘Well, we may as well do it up’,” Anthony laughs. A panel guy was promptly employed to finesse the body, and a couple of years later, the tight VC was presented back to Anthony. “It was all metal-finished and looked amazing,” he says. “With the bodywork that good, I could now have the car painted black like I’d always wanted.”

However, the build was relegated to the back burner for the next couple of years, until Anthony’s engagement in 1993 saw him get back into it in the hope of getting the Regal ready for his wedding day the following year. Unfortunately, the tight timeline ensured that wasn’t to be.

Despite that setback, Bill (who was also Anthony’s best man) was spurred on to finish the paintwork during the newlyweds’ honeymoon, surprising Anthony with a freshly coated black VC upon his return home.

With renewed enthusiasm, Anthony got cracking and brother-in-law Rino Conte of RC Performance Engines fettled the 273ci. By 1997, the Val was back on solid cruising duties.

Five years on though, the Regal had numerous niggling issues that could no longer be ignored. Anthony hatched a plan: “I wanted to build the VC better now that I could afford to do so, and also make it safe and legit.”

Jeff Apps from Streetrad Customs was commissioned to sort the rear enhancements, recessing the chassis 15mm and relocating the leaf springs inwards before stitching in mini-tubs.

Further refinements occurred on top, with the sinister duco also copping a freshen-up. With Bill now a paint rep, Anthony entrusted Daniel Varricchio of DV Paint & Panel with the task.

First, Daniel filled excess engine bay holes, replaced the bonnet hinges with gas strut-assisted units, and changed the fuel cap to a flush-mount pop-up item. He then laid down Dulux Jet Back finished with clear, adding both stunning depth and colour protection for the unforgiving hue.

Up front, Rino gave the 273 V8 a once-over before adding an EFI set-up, swapping the mill from avgas reliance to PULP. The Holley Sniper EFI feeds an Edelbrock manifold, while the worked factory heads are packed with goodies to handle the lumpy Crane cam sporting 0.580in lift at 248 degrees. Below, 11:1 KB pistons are pinned to shot-peened and beam-polished rods on a shot-peened and ground crank. The lot is good for 400hp at the rears – plenty for Anthony’s cruising needs.

Behind the mill, the 904 Torqueflite has been fitted with a manual valvebody and paired with a 4000rpm stally. Further back, Anthony upped the third member considerably with a stout nine-inch packed with a Truetrac, 4.88s, Romac full-floating hubs and 31-spline axles. Wilwood disc brakes and master cylinder round out the upgrades.

Best of all, the VC is well on the way to being certified 100 per cent street-legal. “All the documentation is done now, including the fat-and-skinny wheel and tyre combo of RC Components Exile-S five-inch front-runners and 11-inch rears,” Anthony explains.

It’s been a long road, but 34 years after Anthony first turned the key, the VC is now a stunningly crafted embodiment of the dream car of his youth. And he’s not stopping there, with a 273ci-powered AP6 Regal in the build for his two sons to cruise. Valiants might be a far rarer sight on Aussie roads these days than in 1988, but the quality of tough examples – thanks to blokes like Anthony – is only increasing.


Paint: Dulux Jet Black
Brand: Chrysler 273ci V8
Induction: Holley Sniper EFI four-barrel
Manifold: Edelbrock
Heads: Factory ported and polished, 11:1 compression
Camshaft: Crane, .580in lift, 248 degrees
Conrods: Shot-peened and beam-polished
Pistons: KB
Crank: Shot-peened and ground
Oil pump: Melling high-volume
Fuel system: PULP, Holley Sniper EFI pump
Cooling: Adrad crossflow alloy radiator, 12in thermo, Moroso electric water
Exhaust: Block-hugger headers, 21⁄2in stainless pipes, four MagnaFlow
Ignition: Crane XR700
Trans: 904 Torqueflite, manual valvebody
Converter: Hughes 4000rpm
Diff: 9in, 4.88:1 gears, Truetrac, Romac full-floater, 31-spline axles
Front: Koni adjustable, 2in drop spindles 
Rear: Viking double-adjustable, reset leaf springs
Brakes: Wilwood 12in discs, two-spot calipers (f & r) Master cylinder: 3 /4in
Rims: RC Components Exile-S; 17×5 (f), 15×11 (r)
Rubber: M/T Sportsman S/R 26/6/17 (f), Hoosier 29/12.5R15 (r)

Rino Conte at RC Performance Engines; Bill Papastamatis at Dulux; Jeff Apps at Streetrad Customs; Daniel Varricchio at DV Paint & Panel; Johnny Belperio for electrics and being my go-to mate for help; Cosi at Monaco Auto Trimmers; Adam DeRose at Trim By Mooch; David Varricchio for detailing and polishing; Dan Eastham at Phat Guts Racing; Matt Stanton at Tyrepower; Philip Degenhardt at Motiv Engineering; Warren Piatanesiat SA Suspension Centre; Street Outlaws Car Club Adelaide