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

MATT BYLES - WOLLONGONG, NSW

1966 LANCIA FULVIA SPORT “I’ve been trying for years to track down the first new car that my late father ever bought. It was a 1.2-litre Fulvia Sport by Zagato, made of aluminium and with a weird sidehinged bonnet. It turned up in Sicily a few years back but sold and then popped up in Bakersfield, CA. It won’t evade me a third time!” 196 dow Fulv hing pop

NOW $7,500 $40-45,000

SEPTEMBER 1986 1936 CHEVROLET ROADSTER

Back in the 1980s when Aussie enthusiasts were just starting to appreciate our pioneering ‘muscle’ cars there weren’t many who would spend the price of a GTS327 to re-home a 1930s Chev. This elegant example is likely one of only 560 Roadster bodies built at Holden’s Woodville (SA) plant for attachment to 1936 Chevrolet chassis.

Rudimentary timber framing, rust and plain old age ensured that very few would survive into the 1980s, let alone manage a further 30 years. If you own this rare Aussie soft-top the investment has certainly paid off.

NOW $14,300 $10-15,000

JANUARY 1986 RENAULT 25

This big lump of French ingenuity brings back a mixture of memories for your humble scribe. Back when these cars were new I was part of the team attempting to convince Aussie car buyers that Renault truly could build a prestige product. And failing utterly.

Only a few hundred of the hatchback 25 were sold here; manual versions especially scarce yet enjoyable to drive for as long as the electronic ‘brain’ didn’t do a Chernobyl. Few survive and they hardly ever appear in the market, however one in this condition would be worth preserving.

NOW $ 12,000 $14-18,000 1

NOVEMBER 1991 ROVER P4 V8

You can imagine can’t you, lining up beside this old dear at the lights and having it shriek off into the distance trailing rubber smoke and a big sign that reads ‘You Have Been Punk’d’. This thing is the Auntie your family disowns and we really hope she has survived in all her V8-rumbling glory. These old Rovers are a pretty robust design and even doubling the engine output shouldn’t create problems, however those disc brakes would have been welcome as the standard drums didn’t work too well. Do you own Australia’s most outrageous Auntie?

NOW $2,200 $10-12,500

NOVEMBER 1995 HOLDEN HB BRABHAM-TORANA

Before World Formula One champion Jack Brabham returned to Australia and became a Ford dealer he had a deal going with General Motors to spark some interest in their deadly dull four-cylinder Vauxhall Viva and Holden Torana. Adding a stripe up the middle and some fancy badges did nothing to convince the Cortina-loving boy racers though and very few Vauxhall or Holden versions were ever sold. This survivor with a bonus pair of SU carbs – which would probably have improved initial sales looks in decent fettle and hopefully it survives.

NOW $385,000 $3.7-4.0M

SEPTEMBER 1993 FERRARI 275GTB/2

Generating a ten-fold investment return over 25 years isn’t easy. Gold has managed about 500 percent and perhaps some well-bought real estate could hit the mark. Then there are certain Ferraris. During 2014 a twin-cam V12-powered 275 cracked the US$2 million barrier. Two years on a broker is seeking offers of around US$3.15M for one. Quad-cam 275/4 versions have already gone to US$3.8m at auction and don’t even ask if you want a factory-authentic Spider. Several 275GTBs were sold new in Australia. How many remain?

NOW $120,000 $165-180,000

MARCH 2004 SHELBY MUSTANG GT500

The late Carroll Shelby’s modified Mustangs started out as something pretty special but by the time this GT500 hit the tarmac Shelby had slumped into a predictable marketing exercise with Ford calling the shots. Production of Shelby-badged cars moved from California to Michigan and stock GT500s were fitted with 428 cubic inch (7.0-litre) ‘Interceptor’ engines. Not a lot made their way to Australia as new cars and most in our market remain LHD. Good USmarket cars sell currently in the $100-120,000 range but exchange rates, taxes and the like lift that towards A$200K.

NOW $17,500 $55-60,000

DECEMBER 1997 BMW 3.0CS

Karmann-bodied BMW coupes were ranked among the most beautiful shapes in 1970s car culture. The 2800CS restyle dates from 1970 when it brought a new degree of glamour to the ranks of prestige two-doors. These cars suffered from slapdash rust-protection during assembly and a lot were lost early in life. It is likely that fewer than 50 of all types came to Australia, however the prospect of buying a corroded car kept demand flat for quite some time. Recent prices for restored cars have begun to strengthen and Europe values an excellent 3.0CSi at A$70-85,000.