ONES THAT GOT AWAY

The cars we should have bought or ar e just glad we didn’t...

CLIFF CHAMBERS

Feb ’90 – Aston-Martin 15/98 Saloon F b A t M ti

You would think if just five of a particular model exist, especially of an attractive-looking object like this Aston-Martin, that the cost of owning a survivor would be astronomical. Apparently not. Followers of the brand say that that production of the four-door Aston totalled 50 cars and such a low survival rate might point towards some cannibalisation to preserve the Speed and Tourer versions which can sell for over $350,000. Just when another 15/98 saloon will appear in the market is anyone’s guess, so until then an estimate of value is the best we can do.

Then $49,500 Now $145-175,000

Sep ’02 – Alpine A110

Conceived by a car dealer who wanted to rally something more sporty than a bug-like 4CV sedan, Alpine became very successful throughout the 1960s and 70s. More than 8000 of the pretty A110 coupe were made, with lightweight versions winning major events including the 1973 World Rally Championship. No hint about where this car was built (A110s were built in a variety of countries including Spain, Bulgaria and Mexico) or if it has competition history. Both affect values. A rebodied, competitionspec car was auctioned during 2014, making $110,000.

Then $49,000 Now $85-100,000

Jun ’07 – Toyota 2FQ15 4WD

Given the extreme prices being paid at present for 1950s-60s Toyota Landcruisers, we couldn’t ignore this sumo-sized version.

Fleeting mentions on military-vehicle chat sites suggest that it isn’t the only 2FQ on Australian turf. India seems also to have a decent supply of ‘civilian’ versions and one in an unbecoming shade of beige was recently offered at A$16,000. This example looks smart and very militarily correct with its jerry-cans, shovel and something resembling an electric cattle prod bolted to the hull. Next big thing for the Cruiser collectors?

Then $14,000 Now $20-25,000

Nov ’89 – Ford XW GTHO Automatic

This one presents a conundrum that won’t be solved unless the actual vehicle comes to light, hence the broad value range.

Reliable GT Falcon sources say that XW GTHOs never departed the factory with automatic transmission. One car was coded as an auto and likely converted from a four-speed shortly after production. However, it wasn’t Silver Fox. This car hit the market at a time when the collector market was having its first ‘boom’ and any authentic Falcon GT was peaking in value. Recession and 15 quiet years would follow until values surged again.

Then $20,000 Now $80-165,000

Mar ’85 – Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn

Badge engineering was an art form among Brit manufacturers and not even the cream of car-makers was immune. When export earnings beckoned, Rolls-Royce didn’t quibble about transplanting its famous grille onto a Mark 6 Bentley chassis and sending most of the resultant Silver Dawns to the USA. More than 100 fortunate owners in Australia also acquired a Dawn; early RHD cars identified by the manual gearlever alongside the driver’s door. These cars for some time avoided collector attention and cheap ones still exist, however the best exceed $100,000.

Then $18,500 Now $65-70,000

Mar ’86 – Volkswagen 181

Australia had a go during the 1960s at making Beetle-based bush-bashers, but the Country Buggy died when VW stopped local assembly. The 181 – or ‘Thing’ as they called it in some markets – was based on the WW2 Kubelwagen and racked up more than 90,000 civilian sales without ever officially making it to Australia. That doesn’t mean that imports from North America, Europe or SE Asia don’t pop up from time to time to tempt local enthusiasts. We recently saw a decent-looking 181 on offer here at $12,000. This one if it remains should do better.

Then $7000 Now $13,500-16,000

Sep ’02 – Holden LX Torana V8 Hatch

Not long ago or far from here you could have bought a V8 Torana Hatch for less than $10,000. Truly, you could. Even better for whoever slapped down the $9500 needed to acquire for this original-looking LX is that you would get a Hatch Hutch thrown in. The Hutch was a zip-in tent that allowed camping couples to sleep up high and relatively dry in the back of their hatchback Holden. No, it didn’t become a long-term fad but acquiring a hutch today will cost around $3000. The car to accompany it will bring at least 10 times that figure.

Then $9500 Now $35-40,000

Jul ’88 – Triumph Mayfl ower Utility

I think the now-famous “Tell him he’s dreaming” line from Aussie film ‘The Castle’ may have been inspired by this advertisement for a $10,000 Mayflower. The sedans were tall, ungainly and slow and the practicality of a utility version is questionable. Hopefully someone is still smitten by the Mayflower but not even extreme scarcity will push this factory-made grocery-hauler to significant value. If you were the successful buyer way back in 1988, congratulations on owning such a rare vehicle, even if break-even still remains a distant hope.

Then $10,000 Now $5000-7000

Mar ’01 – Lamborghini Countach QV5000

Ridiculously impractical though it was, the Countach survived for almost 20 years and sold in significant numbers. The QV5000 appeared almost at the end of the model’s life-span, with 5.2 litres and 335kW. In the space of three years a healthy 610 QVs were sold, with most going to left-hand drive markets. Demand is vastly exceeding supply at present and values during the past three years have soared. QVs in left-hand drive form easily reach US$350,000 and a later Anniversary version in RHD was on the UK market at A$550,000.

Then $175,000 Now $450-500,000

Oct ’01 – Fiat 128 3P

If you got your licence about 14 years ago and had $5000 to spend on a first car, this smart little Fiat would have knocked the socks off all those second-hand Corollas and Astras that your parents thought you should buy. Rust seems not to have shown its pockmarked face and 140,000 kilometres meant a few years remained on the mechanicals before rebuilding. You also stood a chance of making some money. 128s of any kind don’t come up for sale often but a tidy 3P perched on big alloys was recently offered at an encouraging $14,950.

Then $4650 Now $12-14,000

Apr ’03 – Holden Torana HB

Once there were lots, now there are almost none. While LC and later Toranas can rely on ties with competition models to boost desirability, hardly anyone has time (or much money) for the original, Vauxhall-based Torana. This one, loaded with accessories including a radio, sunvisor, mudflaps and even rear wheel-spats, may well have started life as a dealer demonstrator and value is further boosted by exceptionally low mileage. If you own this or any authentic HB you won’t as yet be rich but you will be enjoying a scarce chunk of Holden history.

Then $4500 Now $8000-10,000