Launched in November 1978 the CM Valiant gained all the improvements of the models before it, yet ironically it was the last of a breed. Chrysler had perfected things such as the handling package and ELB (Electronic Lean Burn), as well as fine tuning the Valiant to rid it of most of its annoying bugs. Many believe this car was the best of all the Valiants, however it was a case of too little, too late.

The Charger, which had almost been put out of its misery with the CL, was now well and truly dead. It was a sad reminder of how sentiment and history are given scant regard when the cold hard facts of dollars are laid on the table, but the Valiant did not go out without a fight. Although the CM was the last successful Valiant, it had become a very good car.

Chrysler continued its method of reducing costs by dropping models with the CM Valiant range. The Valiant was now down to three models: the Valiant, the Regal and the Wagon. Gone were the panel van which lasted on the local market barely 18 months, the Charger, the Le Baron and the utility, which hadn’t enjoyed much success for many years. There were two Regal sedan models: the Regal and the SE. There was also a Regal wagon.

The CM Valiant Regal was the most luxurious of all Regal models ever sold by Chrysler. The reclining front bucket seats were covered in cloth and vinyl and the car was fitted with front retractable seat belts and a centre armrest in the rear seat. Buyers had the choice of a three-speed column-mounted automatic transmission or one mounted in the floor console.

The Regal sedan was available with the 5.2-litre Electronic Lean Burn V8 as an option with a final drive of 2.92:1. This powerful engine produced 107kW at 4000rpm and 335Nm of torque at a low 2000rpm. The car had a top speed of 175km/h.

The CM Valiant range was basically a mild facelift of the CL, but with most of the bugs ironed out. The biggest changes were to the grille, tail-lights, body mouldings and badging. Chrysler retained the fender-mounted indicator lamps, which had proven to be the most practical and style wise, attractive layout adopted by the local car maker.

Chrysler’s Regal CM model was given one or two extra changes at the model changeover that improved the feeling of luxury in this top-of-the-range model. These included the carpet inset and soft padded arm rests in the doors and four-button electrically operated windows.

Standard equipment on the Regal model included a quartz crystal electric clock centrally mounted alongside the speedometer and a push-button radio, all set into a fake woodgrain instrument panel. Other features offered included ignition delay lights, a trip odometer, a floor console, centre arm rest and fuel pacer. It featured 14/6 wide cast-alloy wheels.

About Alistair Kennedy

Alistair Kennedy is Automotive News Service and Marque Publishing's business manager and the company's jack-of-all-trades. An accountant by profession, he designs the Marque range of motoring book titles, operates the company's motoring bookshop on the NSW Central Coast and the associated web site, as well as its huge digital and hard copy database. Whenever we can escape from the office he does so to cover new vehicle releases and contributes news stories. Alistair's other interests include cricket and family history on which he has written three books.
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