OPERATION RESTORATION

Mark Kay’s Chrysler Charger

The 1973 Valiant Charger was, and still is, one of the most iconic Australian muscle cars in automotive history.

As any motoring enthusiast would know, they aren’t very common these days and the ones you do find need a heck of a lot of work.

Enter Bill from BK Race Engines and George from RaceMax Direct!

Mark came to Bill and George with a simple brief:

“Make my Charger fast but streetable,” he told the boys.

Mark’s car is worth tens of thousands of dollars today but the amount of blood, sweat, tears and money that went into it is something only a dedicated car buff would appreciate.

Having scoured the countryside for years in his attempt to recapture a lost youthful memory, he stumbled upon this one in Bathurst but like many stories you hear, it was a complete mess.

“I had one of these when I was 17 years old but then sold it – it was my biggest regret,” Mark told George from RaceMax Direct.

“I spent many years trying to find another one and in November 2019, I finally got what I wanted.

“It wasn’t going to be an easy project though because it was in pieces and had been that way since the mid-1980s.”

An ex-Bathurst car, the original owner had taken apart the Valiant Charger and kept it stored in that exact same way since 1985.

With an original 42,000 kms on the clock, its exterior was in pretty good nick because it hadn’t seen the weather. The interior and everything underneath the hood was a completely different story though.

“We basically had to redo everything….it was definitely a whole nuts and bolts job,” Mark said. “You name it and we pretty much did it.”

This beast can now boasts 700 horsepower and go deep into the 10-sec range for a quarter mile – a far cry from its halcyon days when it would top out at 250 h/p in original condition.

The Chrysler Charger was a big part of the Australian fabric in the 70s and when first released could be secured for as little as $2,750 according to Shannons. The premium model, the Charger 770, could be bought for $3,625 – approximately $40,000 by today’s standards.

MARK KAY’S RESTORATION SNAPSHOT

WHAT: 1973 Valiant Charger

HOW LONG: Approximately 12 months

RACEMAX SUPPLIED PARTS: APD Billet Enforcer 1040 gas Carburetor; BAM Bushed Roller Lifters; Custom forged pistons, T&D Shaft Rockers.

ENGINE: Built by BK Race Engines 697hp @ 6700/ 577ft-lbs @ 5700

THE DETAIL: Original 360 Block stroked to 408ci; Edelbrock Victor Heads, Edelbrock manifold, custom headers, Torqueflite Transmission; Ford 9” diff.

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