The only automatic Valiant Charger R/T in existence restored to its former glory


GENUINE muscle cars are a rarity these days; hard driving, rust and natural attrition have thinned the herd. But when your car is the only one of its type ever made – now that’s rare. Like Stephen Gay’s R/T Charger automatic.

Chrysler Australia never offered an automatic transmission with their R/T Charger range. If you wanted an R/T you were getting three pedals, and that was that. But Chrysler Oz was nothing if not flexible. Under the Special Order Accepted system you could get just about anything if you knew the right people to talk to. It didn’t happen a lot, but there are enough Six Pack-powered Pacers and 340 V8-powered sedans out there to prove that it did happen.

This particular Hemi Orange R/T Charger was sent directly to the United Kingdom, which may help explain a few of its peculiarities. Additional side markers, oddball Dodge truck door handles, and a dealer-fitted slide-back cloth sunroof would normally be enough to make the average Mopar enthusiast cringe, but they’re all part of what makes this car special. Add that factory-fitted BorgWarner automatic transmission and you’ve got a truly unique bit of Chrysler history.

Stephen himself has an interesting history. Born in Australia but raised in the US, he’s lived and worked in more countries than the average person, and he was living in the UK when a mate told him about this rare Charger for sale. The car was as rough as they come, but all the numbers lined up.

This Charger isn’t a Six-Pack car – it’s a whole lot rarer than that. It has a body number of VH8S29, to reflect its auto R/T status (rather than the usual VH7S29 used to identify every other Valiant R/T Charger on the planet), while the SOA number stamped into the inner guard explains why it exists at all.

Stephen bought the car and had it shipped back to Australia where it could be returned to its former glory.

If you want to know more, we’ll have a full feature in our September issue (on sale 11 August), but in the meantime, have a look at the interview we did with Stephen during the photo shoot. This Charger is a cool piece of motoring history, and we’re glad that he had the guts to restore it the way it was meant to be.