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

ROGER EMERSON - KAIMKILLENBUN, N QLD

1988 LYNX EVENTER “During a work placement in the UK five years ago, I lived next door to a guy who had one of these at the back of his garage. He’d inherited it from his brother and didn’t have any time for it, eventually asking if I was interested in it. I offered three grand. He wanted five. They now reach £50k. I’ve berated myself ever since.” 198 ag gar e wa

DECEMBER 1991 BRISTOL 401

Why spend a lot of time designing and tooling for a new model when you can simply march into a captured enemy car plant and acquire a superb design for free.

Bristol’s 400 was produced almost in its entirety from captured BMW tooling and the 401 which came a couple of years later was a smoothed and modernised version.

Twenty five years ago, nobody wanted elderly English sports sedans and the $17,500 being asked was a stretch. Today, a ‘project’ will cost twice that amount and anything outstanding makes $100,000.

NOW $17,500 $85-90,000

FEBRUARY 2008 FORD ESCORT XR3I

After 1981 when the Mark 2’s reign ended and Australia’s small Fords started coming from Japan we rarely saw another Escort. In Europe though the baby Ford soldiered on and expanded its range to include convertibles like this XR3i. They were quick, fun and fairly cheap but lack of interest means a lot have disappeared. UK values for cars similar to this one hover around the A$12,000 mark, with a 26,000 kilometre soft-top on the market recently at A$35,000. If this cutie has survived incipient rust and parts problems it may have gained a little.

NOW $7900 $9500- 12,000

JANUARY 1989 MONTEVERDI 375/4

Word from the sometimes-reliable Internet is that this monster was delivered new to the Swiss Embassy in Melbourne and is one of just 28 Monteverdi sedans built. If you wanted one you would need more than a standard suburban garage because the 375/4 measured 5.3 metres and sat on a 3.18-metre wheelbase.

Most were reportedly sold to the Middle East and are now seen infrequently, let alone sold.

A few of the shorter, prettier 375L coupes have been auctioned during the past few years, suggesting that a possibly unique RHD /4 should manage at least $140,000.

NOW $57,500 $140-160,000

DECEMBER 1989 SUBARU RX TURBO

It is 30 years since rallying in Australia was changed utterly by a car that unwary spectators christened ‘The Whispering Death’. Subaru’s turbo-engined, all-wheel drive RX came with none of the Group G rally machines fabled noise or rock-spitting wheelspin but in the hands of South Aussie champ Barry Lowe it won National rally titles in 1985 and 1986. But nobody bought them. Only 250 of the road-going RX were officially imported and $20,000 for a used one in 1989 seems ambitious indeed. Survivors today are very scarce yet not particularly expensive.

NOW $20,000 $12-15,000

FEBRUARY 1986 1956 FIAT JOLLY

Plenty of kids of toy-owning age during the 1960s will remember this weirdlymodified Fiat from their collections of Corgi miniatures. However this is very likely the only full-sized version to reach Australia of an estimated 100 built. Jollys were also based on the 500 ‘Bambino’ Fiat but the more spacious 600 now brings massive money in Europe and the USA. US auction values during 2013-14 managed $100-110,000. Soaring demand since would make US$200,000 seem possible for a perfect car. Where did this one go?

NOW $6000 $130- 145,000

AUGUST 1995 FERRARI 330GT 2+2

There was not a car-loving kid in 1960s Australia who couldn’t recognise at a glance the thrusting nose and low-slung shape of a V12 Ferrari. Well-to-do Australians seemed to like Enzo’s offerings as well and cars like this 330GT were more common here than an Aston Martin DB4 or 300SL Benz. Recent soaring values mean that anyone who bought this car or one like it for less than $100,000 would now either be sitting on an exceptional investment or cursing their impatience for having cashed out too soon.

Does someone here still own 8JA 529?

NOW $85,000 $450- 500,000

FEBRUARY 2004 HSV VN GROUP A

HSV’s big red battle cruiser was a sales disaster when launched in 1990 amid the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Just 302 of a projected 500 cars were made and it’s unknown if any were actually sold without a sizeable discount to their $68,950 list price. We do know that it would be a couple of decades before owners got a sniff of recouping their $70k. This car at half new price and with minimal kilometres looks good value and the buyer – providing they didn’t trouble the odometer too much – should have doubled their money.

NOW $36,000 $70-75,000