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The Australian Valiant Drifter 

(Image of the Drifter)

The Drifter was an upgraded 1977 Valiant CL panelvan. It came out  standard to my knowledge with a 318 V8, and 4 speed box as standard. The black fairing behind the door glass was a plastic add-on which had no real use except asthetic appeal.

To my knowledge there were less than 2000 CL Panelvans ever made (around 1700 or so I think) and only a very limited number were released as Drifters. There were apparently only ever 6 Drifter Utilities made, all on the CL platform I believe.

I have only ever seen one true Drifter Panelvan, in the car park of Tea Tree Plaza in Adelaide. It was exactly the same in appearance as the one here, but had a 318 and 4 Speed with Standard collapsable column. No sign of column gear shifter here.

I heard that a friend of the girl who owned this car had a Gold Coloured Drifter Panelvan in his back yard at home, but I never did see it.

The model you can see in the photo is not a true Drifter. It is a mock up madefrom a 1977 CL Panelvan, originally fitted with a 245 Hemi 6 and 3 on the tree, but upgraded to a 265 Hemi 6 with hot cam, extractors, a 350 holley carb, 4 speed, and 2 1/4" exhaust system from extractors back. It was fitted out with an E-55 Charger dash, and had a Charger Filler Cap instead of the standard
cast item. 

The rims were standard Charger dress rims painted up to the Drifter  colours as was standard, with the rear rims taken out a few inches wider. Tyres were 245/60 Bridgestone Eagers up front, and 265/50 Bridgestone Eagers at the back. The front tyres would j-u-s-t turn lock to lock within the stabiliser bar fitted. It was fitted with a SAAS sports wheel and CL Cloth Trim Bucket Seats.

I recommend this kind of package to anyone. The Panelvan was a very rare build, but still easy to get most parts for due to its similarity with the common utility. The 265/4 speed was capable of scaring a lot of try hards at traffic lights, and chalked up 0-60 kph wins against a 350 Chev HT Monaro and a 351 XD Sedan to name but a couple, all with my X-Grilfriend driving. Ever noticed how people hate to get beaten by a Valiant? You should see their faces when they see it's a girl driving a 6 cylinder panel van!

I remember being one of 4 people in the car along with a trail bike at 135 kph @ 4300 rpm, but have not seen it pushed harder. It was probably good for about 170 kph @ 5500 rpm in it's current guise.

If you want anymore information on this particular car, or a better scan of the photo for the paint lines (sorry I dont have the exact measurements. I didnt paint it) contact me.

I'd especially like to hear from you if you know what happened to the old girl after she was sold at Auctions in Newcastle back in 1993. Registeration was RYJ-744 (NSW). That engine would have been awesome in my Centura!

Erwin Vanderminne added:

The Drifters came out with both the 265 and the 318 - some manual and some auto (although most of the 265s were manual. There were exactly 1959 CL panel vans made - I've seen the last one and it has been restored to original white, 318 auto - a nice, clean car.

There were also some Drifter Chargers made - I'm not sure of the numbers.

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