ONES THAT GOT AWAY

THE CARS WE SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT OR ARE JUST GLAD WE DIDN’T...

CLIFF CHAMBERS

Tell us in 60 words the car you should have bought, or were lucky enough to buy!

Send your tale to uniquecars@bauertrader.com.au with ‘Gotaways’ in the title

BAZ LENNOX - NEWCASTLE, NSW W

1985 AUDI SPORT QUATTRO “A colleague of mine was responsible for liquidating the assets of a Swiss financier who’d gone bankrupt.

Listed amongst them was an ‘Audi Quattro coupe’. Upon inspection, I realised it was a hugely valuable swb Sport and the vendor clearly didn’t. Unfortunately someone beat me to it and landed it for $60,000.”

NOW $6,500 $13,500- 16,000

MARCH 1996 MAZDA 1800 WAGON

People who in the mid-1960s called Mazdas names like ‘mobile light-bulb’ stopped laughing when the Bertone-styled 1500 sedan arrived. These cars were roomy and really well equipped but needed more power so an 1800 engine was fitted. For some reason Australia didn’t see the 1800 wagon and the bulk of them went to US buyers. This car might have been imported for evaluation by Mazda and could well be the only one to come here. An excellent 1800 sedan was offered recently for $13,995 so this should be worth at least the same.

NOW $17,000 $35-40,000

APRIL 1989 BOLWELL MARK 7

When the Bolwell brothers applied their fibreglassing skills to car-making, few would have expected them to produce a shape that could pass for a high-end European GT. Under the bonnet of most Mark 7s was a humble Holden ‘red’ motor but with minimal weight they did 200km/h.

Outshone as a collector car by the V8 Nagari, the Seven is still significant in the realms of Aussie car lore and very desirable.

The $17,000 sought was in keeping with overheated 1980s pricing but a well kept car will have certainly made money.

NOW $4500 $12-15,000

JUNE 1986 FORD ESCORT ESCAPEE

If you followed the fortunes of Ford’s RS1800 rally cars then sighting this photograph of an Escort Escapee might have revived visions of Timo Makinen on a dusty 1970s forest track. Not everyone could have an RS1800 like Timo’s but Ford ensured that 500 lucky someones did get a car that was similar in shape and with rally stripes compensating for a total lack of performance. The Escapee at $4546 was dearer than an Escort Ghia but still only had 1.6 litres. At least one survives in excellent condition and others are said to be under restoration.

NOW $79,990 $220,000- 240,000

JANUARY 1996 BENTLEY S3 MPW COUPE

The British coach-building industry was on its knees well before Rolls-Royce went to monocoque construction, however this elegant two-door wasn’t a bad looking swansong. R-R subsidiary Mulliner Park Ward built 312 of its S3 Continentals; the majority being ‘Chinese Eye’ two-door coupes. They once were fairly common at local gatherings of UK cars however the benefits of our rustresistant environment may have encouraged overseas collectors to pounce. Recent UK sales suggest a 200-250 percent value surge since 1996 so this car was good buying.

NOW $26,000 $45-50,000

AUGUST 2006 CHRYSLER 300 HURST HARDTOP

If you’ve heard the B-52s tune ‘Love Shack’ and wondered about the Chrysler that’s ‘as big as a whale’ well here it is. The 300 Hurst was used for promotion at NASCAR events but never seen as a serious attempt to recapture the glory days of ‘letter series’ Chrysler 300s. Just 485 Hurst 300s were made and it is believed by Mopar enthusiasts that about 100 survive. Not even that degree of scarcity has made them especially valuable.

A couple of excellent Hardtops were recently sold for around US$30,000.

NOW $29,000 $125-145,000

SEPTEMBER 1993 PLYMOUTH AAR ’CUDA

Chrysler Corp. cars that would attract millions of enthusiasts to North American race circuits, drag strips and NASCAR ovals suffered from total anonymity over here.

Hardly anyone wanted to race a Mopar in Aussie events and dealers wanted nothing to do with high-risk North American imports.

Even in 1993 this scarce and desirable AAR (All American Racing) ‘Cuda cost the same here as a mid-1960s Mustang convertible.

If whoever took a chance on this obscure Plymouth had kept the car for 20 years before shipping it to a US auction they would have turned a very serious profit.

NOW $36,500 $225,000- 240,000

FEBRUARY 2005 PORSCHE 911

As people who understand the appeal of a short wheelbase 911 will tell you, recent value gains are simply a sign that our market for these cars is catching up with the world. A decade ago when this early and very significant Porsche made it to our shores there would still have been some who recoiled at the money being asked for a LHD car. Wiser hands would have been grabbing for the phone. Ten years on, the international market for early 911s has ignited and outstanding cars at auction in the USA exceed $300,000. Wonder if this one has managed to remain here?