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TO SOME he was the king of Australian rock and roll. Others described him as a bad-tempered ratbag. Itís hard to deny that Johnny OíKeefe wasnít that bright as he used to drive his cars about with low pressure in the tyres to make them squeal in corners. This probably led to him smashing into the back of a gravel truck, cavin g his face in and gravely injuring two passengers. He didnít manage to crash this lovely Ford Thunderbird though, which has since been converted to right hand drive and had a bit of interior and engine work done. The price looks more than reasonable for a car with this combination of provenance and condition.
WHY AM I recommending this jaundiced bento box that Nissan proudly proclaimed had Ďpower nothingí? Well this BE-1 is something very special, being the first and rarest car from Nissanís boutique ĎPike Factoryí. Based on the Micra but wearing retro clothes, the BE-1 was followed by the Pao, the S-Cargo and the Figaro and theyíre all getting collectable. Put that down to the idea of a classic look with relatively modern mechancials proving a hit with those who arenít keen on wielding a spanner at the weekend. Want some utilitarian inner city chic? Throwing $7k at a Pike Factory car looks like money well spent.
IF YOU need to seat seven, you could buy yourself a Kluger and realise that the rest of your life is a depressing headlong plummet to Pipe-and- Slippersville or you could save yourself a bunch of money and buy this Fairmont Rally pack. Stash away a modest fix-it slush fund and youíre set. Even if you have a soccer team of sprogs, itís not too late to get a 351ci V8, twin bonnet NACA ducts and a two-speed electric tailgate in your life. Kluger?
Fairmont Rally Pack Wagon? Some decisions really arenít that hard.
ITíS A FACT. Australia usually gets royally stiffed when it comes to being given the hot versions of sports cars, but in the case of the MX-5, we scored with the punchy 157kW SP turbo model. This isnít one of the 100 examples of the SP, but this SE also got a turbo and is around ten grand cheaper. Sure, the boost on the turbo being wound down to 0.5 bar as opposed to 0.6 bar for America and Japan versions, but 121kW in an MX-5 is still a heap of fun and will skittle it to 100km/h in just 7.8 seconds.
That means itíll keep a brand new 2.0-litre MX-5 honest and itíll do so for less than half the price while delivering more fun and feedback.
ONCE IN a while Iíll chuck a car in here not because it looks a particular bargain but just because itís interesting and interesting cars always attract somebody sooner or later. So hereís a $26,500 Sunbeam Rapier. Iím struggling to think of the last time I saw one of these pretty fastbacks, but sometimes it pays not to follow the herd. You can probably name any number of cars that the glasshouse was inspired by, but thereís a quirky elegance to the Rapier that appeals to me. Iíd give those whitewall tyres the flick, but otherwise it looks minty.