BLOODY rust! It’s always a risk when you’re working on a car as old as the Carnage VE Valiant, but with a build like this running on such a tight schedule, rust is just about the last thing Scotty wanted to see.
Everything seemed to be tracking solidly. Top Torque were making good progress with the 318 small-block, and Scotty had the disc brake conversion all reconditioned and ready to throw onto the Val along with some new ball joints. However, after he finished ripping off the old front drum brakes, our intrepid host decided to have a quick look at a known problem area in the front chassis rail of these Valiants – and he was far from impressed.
These VEs are based on the US-designed-and-built Dodge Dart, and in the original left-hook layout, the steering box is bolted to the front crossmember. When the Australian engineers were tasked with making the chassis RHD, they just bolted the steering box to the chassis rail, which eventually flexes too much, cracks and then rusts.
It’s a known problem for just about every Valiant of this type, and sadly, Scotty’s Dad’s old VE ute is no different. One glance revealed two cracks and some holes to go with them, which means this thing needs some major surgery.
Scotty has already done this job on our other VE Valiant that he’s in the middle of restoring, which means he knows exactly how long it takes to do it properly, and it’s a serious setback he didn’t need with less than four weeks to go until Mopar Sunday.