This is a prototype Valiant Charger V8 that was built in-period by Keith Anderson of the Anderson Brooker Motor Enterprise Chrysler dealership, in South Africa. It was intended as a pre-production prototype, leading up to a limited-production run of locally made V8 Chargers.

Sadly, the production run would never materialize but magazine reviews of the car at the time of its creation were overflowing with praise. Given the relative shortage of V8 cars for sale in South Africa at the time, the Valiant Charger V8 would have likely sold relatively well if it had made it into production.

Fast Facts – The 1970 Valiant Charger V8 Prototype

  • In 1970, Keith Anderson of Anderson Brooker Motor Enterprise in South Africa built a prototype Valiant Charger V8. This unique vehicle was based on the South African Valiant Charger, which differed from its Australian namesake and was derived from the North American Plymouth Duster/Dodge Demon. Unlike the standard South African model equipped with a 225 cubic inch slant-six engine, Anderson’s prototype featured a V8 engine, aiming to gauge interest for a potential production run.
  • Anderson’s initial modifications included replacing the original engine with a 383 cubic inch V8, upgrading the transmission to a TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic, widening the wheels, and lowering the suspension. The car received positive reviews from Technicar magazine in January 1973. Unsatisfied, Anderson further improved the engine, boring it out to 390 cubic inches and applying various performance upgrades. These modifications significantly boosted the car’s performance, reducing its quarter-mile time from 15.3 to 14 seconds.
  • Despite the prototype’s impressive performance and positive reception, the project was ultimately derailed by the 1973 Oil Crisis. The global event caused fuel prices to skyrocket, making V8 sports cars less appealing to consumers. As a result, the Valiant Charger V8 never entered production, leaving Anderson’s creation as the sole example of what could have been a successful line of V8-powered Chargers in the South African market.
  • The unique Valiant Charger V8 prototype is now being offered for sale in Johannesburg, South Africa. With only 8,531 km (5,301 miles) on the odometer, the car retains its silver finish, chrome trim, and black vinyl interior. It comes with historical documentation, including magazine road tests, correspondence from Chrysler, and original registration papers. While it currently sports non-original 17-inch alloy wheels, a potential buyer might consider adding period-correct wheels.

The South African Valiant Charger

The South African Valiant Charger was a different car to its identically-named Australian counterpart – initially at least. The Valiant Charger sold on the South African market was based on the contemporary Plymouth Duster/Dodge Demon from North America with a few modifications, including a Demon front end and Duster tail lights.

1970 Valiant Charger V8 Prototype 4

Image DescriptionThere’s no denying that the South African Valiant Charger was good looking, thanks to its Plymouth Duster/Dodge Demon heritage, but the performance wasn’t there until Keith Anderson stepped up to the plate and built this prototype example.

Perhaps the biggest difference from the North American cars was the complete lack of a V8 option for the South African models. This would have been unheard of in the United States, but the much smaller size of the South African market coupled with the economies of scale being what they are, Chrysler only offered the Valiant Charger with the same humble 225 cubic inch (3.7 liter) slat-six engine they used in the four-door sedans.

Keith Anderson And The V8 Prototype

This non-V8 Valiant Charger was popular in South Africa, but there was one man who felt it wasn’t quite good enough. His name was Keith Anderson of the Anderson Brooker Motor Enterprise Chrysler dealership. Given Anderson’s connections, facilities, and resources he was the perfect person for the job – the job being to drop a V8 into a Charger and hopefully drum up enough demand for a low-volume South African production run.

The project started with a near-new 1970 Valiant Charger, the 225 slant-six was removed and sold, then a 383 cubic inch (6.3 liter) V8 was sourced in good condition from a wrecked car in a junkyard and bolted into place. The original transmission had no hope of handling the vastly increased torque, and so it was replaced with a new TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic.

Although the conversion could have stopped here, it didn’t. Anderson wanted to do the job properly, so he had the wheels widened to 6.5″, then lowered the suspension by 1.5″ front and rear, this was done by resetting the front torsion bars and relocating the rear leaf spring mounting points.

The additional power was causing axle tramping in early tests, where the force of the live axle under heavy acceleration begins twisting the leaf springs, and so Anderson and his team developed and fitted a pair of anti-tramping bars to keep the axle correctly aligned.

1970 Valiant Charger V8 Prototype 15

Image DescriptionThis V8 started out as a 383 but it’s now a 390 cubic inch V8 with ported and polished heads, a hotter cam, headers, and a four-barrel Holley carburetor.

With these modifications in place and testing completed, the car was offered to South African motoring magazine Technicar who published their glowing review in the January 1973 issue.

A Series Of Upgrades

Despite the fact that Technicar loved the car, it seems Anderson wasn’t completely happy with it.

He had the 383 engine removed and bored out to 390 cubic inches, the block was chemically cleaned, double grooved main bearings were fitted to the bottom end to improve oil flow, a higher-performance cam was fitted, and the cylinder heads were ported and polished to increase flow.

Once the engine was back together a better flowing four-barrel Holley carburetor was fitted, along with a Mallory distributor, a new sports exhaust, and a more capable radiator.

This considerably more powerful version of the car was then tested again by Technicar. The original 1/4 mile time had been 15.3 seconds with a 0-60 mph time of 7.6 seconds. After the engine modifications the 1/4 mile time dropped to 14 seconds flat, with a 0-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds – very solid numbers by the standards of the time.

1970 Valiant Charger V8 Prototype 16

Image DescriptionOn the inside the car looks much the same as the other South African Valiant Chargers of the period.

The Oil Crisis And The End

Sadly, it seems the Valiant Charger V8 project was doomed, not by anything Anderson did but due to another major world event that was taking place in 1973 – the 1973 Oil Crisis. This sent oil (and fuel) prices skyrocketing around the world, and made V8 sports cars seem like a foolhardy idea.

As a result, there would be just one of these made, and it’s remained in South Africa ever since as a testament to what might have been.

Now For Sale: The South African Valiant Charger

The VH-generation Valiant Charger prototype developed by Keith Anderson all those years ago is now being offered for sale, it has just 8,531 kms (5,301 miles) on the odometer and it’s been with the current owner for eight years.

The car is finished in silver with chrome bumpers and body trim, a black vinyl interior with grey seat and door inserts, and some wood trim. It’s currently fitted with a set of non-original 17 inch American Racing five-spoke alloy wheels, and the new owner may wish to switch these out for period correct wheels to bring the car back to its original condition.

1970 Valiant Charger V8 Prototype 7

Image DescriptionThe car is currently fitted with a set of 17 inch American Racing five-spoke alloy wheels, ideally these will be changed back to a period-correct original set by the new owner.

It comes with various magazines and road test copies, its original plates, correspondence from Chrysler, the original keys, and a collection of registration and inspection documents.

It’s now being offered for sale out of Johannesburg, South Africa on Collecting Cars, and you can visit the listing here.

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Images courtesy of Collecting Cars

Published by Ben Branch -