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Chrysler to launch Pacer variant of 300

Valiant effort: The incoming 300 Pacer will pay homage to the Valiant Pacer from 50 years ago.

Limited-edition Pacer headlines Chrysler 300 push, revives revered Valiant nameplate

Chrysler logo20 May 2019

CHRYSLER will launch a limited-run Pacer variant of the 300 large sedan in the second half of this year – exactly 50 years after the nameplate first donned a performance version of the Australian-made VF Valiant in 1969.

 

While stopping short of confirming the name, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia president and chief executive Steve Zanlunghi did reveal that the move to revive a long-dormant badge from the company’s back catalogue reflects Chrysler’s continuing commitment to the 300 while providing Australian sedan buyers with an affordable, sporty option.  

 

“Stay tuned for some news, because we’re looking to revive a storied nameplate here from our Australian heritage,” he told GoAuto at the launch of the Jeep JL Wrangler range in Tasmania last week.

 

“We’re going to do a variant for the 300 off our Australian history. You can go back and see who’s having their 50th anniversary. So, there’s a 50th anniversary Chrysler 300 coming.

 

“With the Chrysler brand, we are trying to bring back a limited-edition run that we will see in the third or fourth quarter, which will be a special edition, to celebrate the anniversary of a certain Chrysler version of a car that was built at the Adelaide plant.”

 

While refusing to comment on pricing and specification details of the upcoming 300 Pacer – including whether the badge would be used on the standard 210kW/340Nm 3.6-litre V6 or just be limited to the 350kW/637Nm 5.7-litre V8 – Mr Zanlunghi did say the move is an opportunity for the 300 to fill a gap in the market as well in the hearts of many Australians left by the demise of the Australian-made Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon.

 

“We started talking about it one day because we own that space now due to Australian manufacturing going away – and we won the police contract – so thought about what can we do to grow it,” he said.

 

“We’ve got the Australian history, we have the Chrysler by Chrysler, we’ve got the Valiant and Pacer, the plant’s still there, and there’s a 50th anniversary, so we thought, ‘What could we do?’

 

“And there are a lot of diehard Chrysler fans out there. We get a lot of emails we see when we post something on social media, there are a lot of positive comments, so why not?”

 

With the New South Wales police now using the high-performance 300 SRT, Mr Zanlunghi added that there is still plenty of life left in affordable large rear-drive sedans, and in the existing 300 in particular, and that isn’t going to change any time soon.

 

“Australia is the only E-segment mainstream sedan with a V8,” he said. “There is no end date to announce. We won the police contract in New South Wales for pursuit vehicles, which are the 300 SRT Cores.”

 

The existing Chrysler 300 is the second-generation sedan to use the rear-drive LX platform, which is loosely based on Mercedes-Benz components, with the front end derived from an earlier S-Class iteration and the rear axle sourced from the W212 E-Class.  

 

Launched soon after the VF Valiant range landed in 1969, the Pacer was Chrysler Australia’s six-cylinder performance proposition against its mainly V8 opponents from Ford and Holden, employing the famous 225 cubic-inch (3.7-litre) ‘Slant Six’ inline six-cylinder engine, until the VG-series surfaced in May 1970 with the all-new Hemi 245 cubic-inch (4.0-litre) unit.

 

For the completely redesigned VH Pacer of 1971, the engine grew to a 265 cubic inches (4.3 litres), making it the fastest locally made mainstream four-door sedans for nearly 20 years. Production ceased in April 1973 with the arrival of the VJ series.


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