ONES THAT GOT AWAY

ost or lucky?

CLIFF CHAMBERS

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

ost or lucky?

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

MARY SIMMONS - PERTH, WA

1974 CITROEN SM “A neighbor had a lovely Citroen SM they’d owned for years and had gradually done up over time. Really beautiful car – I’d been in it a few times. Anyway they had to move and decided to leave the Citroen behind and offered it to me at what seemed like a lot of money at the time, but really was more like half what they cost now.”

JUNE 1996 JAGUAR XK140 MC ROADSTER

NOW $ 95,000 $115- 130,000 (RHD) 1

Spring is in full bloom and so too is the first of this month’s seven soft-top Gotaways.

Jaguar used the ‘MC’ suffix to denote ‘Special Equipment’ cars with C Type cylinder heads sold in the USA. We therefore must assume that this lovely Roadster was originally lefthand drive; an issue at the time only if the car was going to be assessed for ‘Authenticity’ at a Jaguar Display Day. However, with LHD XK values at present reaching US$135,000 – that’s A$200,000 for a pristine car – the cost of reversing the conversion may well be justified.

NOVEMBER 1990 HOLDEN VL BERLINA CONVERTIBLE

NOW $26,000 $25-30,000

Someone connected with this car will hopefully let us know how and why a virtually new VL came to be transformed into this handsome five-seat soft-top. Photographs confirm that it and at least one other VL soft-top exist; the other car metallic red with an HSV-style body kit. It was constructed by Holden apprentices and is currently displayed in the National Holden Museum in Echuca.

The silver car, according to an Internet forum post, was acquired by a wedding car business in Sydney. Do you own it or were you conveyed to your nuptials in a topless Commodore?

NOVEMBER 1989 HILLMAN MINX CONVERTIBLE

NOW $ 12,500 $ 12,500- 15,000

Little is known about the Hillman Minx Mark VII convertibles that came to Australia but rest assured this car is one of not very many. In 1953 a test car was provided to Sturt Griffith; redoubtable motoring writer for the Sydney Sunday Herald. Sturt liked the idea of a three position hood which could shield the backseat occupants while letting those up front turn lobster hued. Despite it being a heavy car with a small engine the Minx would manage 65mph (around 108km/h). Overseas guides value the Minx at almost exactly the money being sought way back in 1989.

NOVEMBER 1991 ALVIS 12/50 ‘DUCKSBACK’ ROADSTER

NOW $45,000 $125- 140,000

Not sure if this one could even be deemed a ‘convertible’ because serious vintage motorists wouldn’t be seen dead with the roof up on one of these. The ‘Ducksback’ was named for its unusual aluminium body and hailed as a ground-breaking design.

They seem to have been a popular car with Australian motorists as well, however during the past decade several of ‘our’ cars have returned to Britain and been offered for sale.

This one looks to be an outstanding example and at auction could breach the $150,000 barrier.

JUNE 2004 CITROEN LIGHT 15 CABRIOLET

NOW $70,000 $220- 270,000

There seems no end to the array of soft-top French cars offered through U Cars and this is a very significant Citroen. Australia was a good customer for the softly-sprung LT15 sedan but not open-topped cars. By all accounts the Cabrio is rare even in Europe and we could find just two verifiable sales during the past decade. Of these the most recent came in 2015 when a car that looked no better than this one realised 172,500 Euro. If the white LT15 remains in Australia its buyer will have generated a handsome return on their $70,000 outlay.

OCTOBER 1986 1948 CADILLAC 62 CONVERTIBLE

NOW $25,000 75,000 2 $55-

This Cadillac, or one very similar, was said to have been imported new by radio and later television quiz-master Bob Dyer.

With or without a celebrity connection, the soft-top 62 is still a very desirable car; the only convertible in Cadillac’s 1948 range and one of 5450 made during that year.

Even in the USA where the vast majority of these cars remain they aren’t common. Nor are they especially valuable. Prices range from US$50,000 for an ‘older restoration’ to $140,000 for one sold with a barrow-load of trophies.

AUGUST 2005 RILEY DROPHEAD COUPE

NOW $30,000 $65-70,000

Looking at a 2.5-litre Riley saloon with its long wheelbase and elegant shape it’s hard to believe the same styling team could concoct something this... Errr. Confused.

A year after the Coupe’s introduction Riley also began building drophead versions of its Saloon so the only justification for this car’s continued existence had to be export. 507 were eventually sold with several coming to Australia. They still occasionally appear for sale here however better money is available in the UK where one admittedly spectacular car was offered at A$135,000.