ONES THAT GOT AWAY

Lost or lucky?

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

Lost or lucky?

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

DATSUN 120Y The only thing I remembered about my childhood piano tutor, Miss Bowyer, was that she had a yellow Datto 120Y. I was more interested in the car than my scales but years later I tracked her down and bought it off her. Still can’t play the piano, but I have a sweet ride.

JARED ALLEN - BRISBANE, QLD

NOW $ 95,000 $180- 200,000 2

JANUARY 1995 JAGUAR XK150S ROADSTER

Jaguar’s XK had by 1957 just about reached the limit of its evolution. However the sight of a chubby XK seemed not to bother buyers in the USA one bit and around 90 percent of production was left-hand drive. Given that fewer than 100 S-spec Roadsters were made RHD it is understandable that they rarely appear for sale. LHD sales run currently in $120- 160,000 range and the last one we found locally was in 2011 when it achieved $120,000. Given the model’s scarcity, values are likely to have climbed well beyond that figure.

NOW $17,000 $30-35,000

JUNE 1987 HOLDEN OVERLANDER VAN

The catchphrase ‘tell him he’s dreaming’ may well have first been uttered in response by someone seeing immense amount being asked for this jacked up, Chevy-powered Holden panel van. At the time you could buy an excellent A9X for less. Unlike Ford’s XY 4x4 utility, the Overlander wasn’t dreamed up by GM-H either. The conversion originated in Tasmania and according to information gleaned when one was sold a few years back, just 80 were made including 30 vans. At least one survivor was used as an ambulance but none came new with a 350 engine. That was added later.

NOW $10,900 24-30,000 1 $24

MAY 2001 PORSCHE 928

Did any Porsche ever fall from grace with a louder thud than the 928? New in 1979 this car cost more than a suburban house yet within 22 years had plunged so far it was barely worth the cost of a decent caravan. They weren’t pretty to look at and mechanical repairs even for well-off owners were a killer. Anyone who bought a used 928 with hopes of enjoying some lowcost exhilaration rarely relished the experience but they were basically a good car. Manuals are scarce and hopefully this one generated sufficient collector appeal to ensure its survival.

$49,000 $ 200- 225,000 4 22

JUNE 2003 FORD XC COBRA

This column has considered Cobras in the past but take a look at this ripper. Just 15 years ago it was still possible to spend $50,000 on one of the rarest and most desirable of all the ‘Bathurst Specials’ created by local manufacturers. The Falcon Cobra Club of Australia confirms that Car #26 now resides in Victoria but provides no extra detail. Option #97 cars are hardly ever offered on the open market and values are difficult to determine. What’s beyond debate is that whoever paid $49K for it in 2003 has done very well.

$24,000 $55- 70,000 2

APRIL 1986 MORGAN PLUS 8

Eight-cylinder Morgans have a mystique about them but currently not a huge following in the market. This one hails from Cyprus; possibly an unusual place to find a Morgan but we doubt its original homeland would have dented values.

The main factor restricting demand for older Plus 8s was that Morgan kept making them until 2004 and subsequently brought back a moderately updated version for 2012. Having the older, slower and somewhat creaky version appealed to some purists but most seemed to want newer versions.

$125,000 $400- 450,000

NOVEMBER 2003 ALFA ROMEO 1600GTA

The 1.6-litre lightweight GTA actually came in a lot of 500 cars but of those just 50 were supplied to RHD markets. Australia’s most famous GTA was a white coupe campaigned in 1960s Touring Car events by Alfa distributor Alec Mildren and driver Kevin Bartlett. GTAs remain rare on the international collector market and sale prices are hard to verify.

However based on available information and the pre-sale estimate for a car being offered at auction in early 2017, the $125,000 being asked here would have ballooned into a very substantial investment.

$1850 $5-6000

JULY 1995 AUSTIN LANCER SERIES 2

Twenty years ago we might have tagged this Aussie- built Austin as a ‘starter classic’.

Today, its survival would be deemed a ‘bloody miracle’. Based on the Morris Minor but with smart finned bodywork and a 1.5-litre engine, the Lancer was a popular family car - until almost all of them went rusty or the fragile rear end self-destructed. Then the verdict was ‘too dear to fix’ and down to the scrap merchant went almost all the Lancers and similar looking Series 2 Morris Majors. This one at under $2000 offered good value and as the years passed by would have earned its keep.