1963 Chrysler Valiant AP5 Gen 3 426 HEMI

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1963 Chrysler Valiant AP5 Gen 3 426 HEMI

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Dale Gridley’s 426ci Hemi-powered Chrysler AP5 Valiant
Dale Gridley wedged 426 cubes of modern Mopar into an unsuspecting survivor AP5
https://www.streetmachine.com.au/featur ... p5-valiant
Though he insists he’s not a Mopar nut, Dale Gridley admits he has a soft spot for the AP range of Valiants. “Not that I care, but I copped a lot of flak from the purists with my AP6 ute [SM, Apr ’21] for the single-turbo LS,” he laughs. “They love this one because it’s got a Hemi!”

Dale is a mechanical fitter by day, and his work regularly sees him cruising around country Queensland. This AP5 sedan cropped up while he was in Chinchilla, having been parked up in an open shed since 1986. “It was missing the grille in the photos, and I didn’t pay much attention to the bonnet and guards, so I first thought it was an AP6,” he says. “When I found out it was an AP5, I didn’t really want it as much!” An agreed price of $3000 swayed Dale back toward buying the Val, which proved to be dry as hell for an unrestored, 60-year-old survivor.

“It’s never had a hard hit, the inner guards are perfectly straight, and what you see is the original paint from 1963,” Dale says. He gave the body a quick dust-off before hitting it with a coat of Penetrol to seal in the flavour, and that’s about as far as the external bodywork goes. “I was on the piss one day and thought I’d do one guard; that turned into doing the whole car,” he says. “I didn’t want it to get any worse, but I didn’t want to change the look. It does bring the colour up a bit, but it’s still flat. I want to enter it in Top Paint at every car show I can, just to watch the judges’ faces!”

Dale’s initial plan called for an LA mill, until he took a gamble on a bargain Gen III Hemi that didn’t want to turn over. “The ad said it had picked up a big-end bearing, so I bought it as an unknown for like two grand; at the time, they were going for seven or eight thousand,” he says. “Turns out it came from a car that had been underwater, so what I thought was just going to be a new set of pistons and reground crank ended up more major!” The bottom end was essentially cactus, so Dale took the chance to switch the crank for a forged stroker unit and bring the 6.1-litre capacity up to just shy of 7.0 litres, or 426ci in the old money.

Eagle H-beam rods and Mahle pistons complete the rotating assembly, and Dale decked and cleaned up the stock Hemi heads with ARP studs and stock-sized stainless valves. A Holley single-plane intake, Brawler 850cfm carby and MSD 6-Hemi ignition replace the factory EFI arrangement, feeding and lighting up unleaded 98 via a Holley Blue electric pump.

Though it’s yet to see a dyno, Dale’s confident the aspirated set-up lands him somewhere in the 400rwhp range, which he hopes will translate to a high 11 down the quarter. “I was a bit lazy and didn’t put main studs in it, but I can still run at least a 150hp shot of gas,” he says. “That would be enough to get a 10, I reckon.”

Hemi-into-AP swaps are pretty rare, which Dale says is for good reason. “It sucks; it’s so hard,” he laughs. “Everything has to be made or modified to fit!” The firewall has been recessed by 50mm to handle the behemoth, and the firewall-mounted brake master cylinder was turfed in favour of an under-dash Wilwood system. “It’s got an engine plate instead of mounts, because I’m more into drag racing than street cars, and it made it easier for Gypsi [of GUN Performance & Exhausts] to make the pipes,” Dale says. “Getting rid of the torsion bars made more room, too.” It rides on an HDK coil-over kit, Gazzard Brothers shocks and chrome-moly control arms instead, and you’ll also find a Gazzard rack-and-pinion conversion and Billet Works column up front.

The split mono-leaf rear springs were shifted inboard, which brings us to another AP-series Mopar issue. “I had to split the tunnel and floor in half and move it across 50mm, because in Mopars, they’re offset toward the driver’s side,” Dale says. “When you put the nine-inch in the centre, the tailshaft rubs on the tunnel, and when you centre the engine, the gearbox becomes tight on one side. You just have to figure it all out on the go!”

While Dale reckons it would’ve been easier to drop in the turbo LS from his ute, he’s more than pleased with the sweet spot he’s struck somewhere between a rowdy streeter and turn-key cruiser. “We don’t have to worry about the thing overheating, or finding E85,” he says. “I can cruise at 100km/h and chuck it back a cog, and it does pretty good burnouts. I drive it more than my Y62 Patrol when I’m home!”

DALE GRIDLEY
1963 CHRYSLER AP5 VALIANT


Paint: Factory beige

ENGINE

Type: 426ci Dodge Hemi
Carb: Holley Brawler 850cfm
Induction: Holley single-plane
Heads: Stock Hemi
Camshaft: Comp hydraulic
Oil pump: Melling M342HV
Fuel system: Holley Blue, custom 90L tank
Cooling: Aluminium radiator, 12in thermo fans
Exhaust: Custom 17/8in extractors, 3in twin system
Ignition: MSD 6-Hemi

TRANSMISSION

Gearbox: TCI 727 Torqueflite
Converter: ASNU 3000rpm
Diff: 9in, Strange 3.25:1 gears

SUSPENSION & BRAKES

Front: HDK coil-overs, Gazzard Brothers shocks
Rear: Gazzard Brothers split mono-leaf springs & shocks
Brakes: Wilwood discs and four-piston calipers (f & r)
Master cylinder: Wilwood tandem remote 13/16in

WHEELS & TYRES

Rims: Center Line Auto Drag; 15×4 (f), 15×8.5 (r)
Rubber: Mickey Thompson 26×6.00R15 (f), Pro Street Radials 235/60R15 (r)
More Photos: http://www.thehemi.com/gallery3/index.p ... 5-7-0-HEMI

This car is absolutely awesome! I love the old patina mixed with the modern HEMI. :D

#Chrysler #Valiant #ChryslerValiant #AP5 #HEMI #61HEMI #70HEMI #426HEMI #Mopar
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