A rare gem of Australian motoring history

Carsburg’s Automotive owner Gary Carsburg (left) with nephew Chris Carsburg and Noah Maddern have all been working on the Sportsman to get it mechanically sound. Picture: JESSE HAMILTON

This 1974 Chrysler Valiant Charger Sportsman is a rare and stunning symbol of 1970s Australia.

Possessed by long-time Gatton local Ray Carsburg, the limited-edition Sportsman is currently undergoing repairs helmed by Ray’s son Gary as a devotion to his dad’s passion for Charger models.

Owner of family-run Gatton mechanic Carsburg’s Automotive, Gary Carsburg said his dad had owned various other models over the years but had always gravitated to the Charger range.

“My Dad’s 89 now, and he was doing his own work on it at home, but it just never got finished,” he said.

“So, I thought I’d bring it in here and get it up and running again for him.

“He’s had Fords, a Chevrolet, and Commodores as well, but he’s always really liked the Chargers.”

Chrysler Australia introduced the Valiant Charger Sportsman in August 1974, with only 399 examples ever produced.

Available solely in vintage red, and featuring striking white exterior striping, the Sportsman boasts a Chrysler Hemi-6 engine paired with a four-speed manual gearbox.

Mr Carsburg said the rare Valiant model, classed as a coupe, had maintained its 70s distinct look over the years, with his dad having purchased it from a local farmer who brought it into his Gatton workshop.

“Murray Buchmann one of the farmers up the creek used to own it years ago, Murray sold it but always wish he had kept it,” he said.

“I think the style of it set it apart from other models.

“[My dad] has changed a few things over the years, but he’s taken them off again, put a wing on the back, and taken that all off and put it back to its original look again.”

Gary said he and his sister Vikki, who is store manager at Carsburg’s Automotive, grew up with their dad taking them for rides in Charger models, with his dad having a significant influence on his career aspirations.

“We were brought up in Chargers, we used to work on them and sit in the back seat, and go on trips with the Charger Regal,” he said.

“My dad inspired me to become a mechanic, I left school at 15 and have been here ever since.

“He was also the Queensland Light Welterweight Boxing champion at one point.”

Gary said the Sportsman hasn’t been on the road since 2017 and plans to have repairs complete by year’s end.

Ray Carsburg was a member of the Chrysler club in Toowoomba and Mopar car club in Brisbane where he featured the Sportsman.

The Sportsman had appeared in numerous shows, including 11 times at RACQ motorfest.