ONES THAT GOT AWAY

Lost or lucky?

CLIFF CHAMBERS

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!


CLASSIC CAR AUCTIONS FIND YOUR NEXT CLASSIC CAR AT:

1957 FORD SKYLINER I always loved the Aussie “Tank Fairlane” shape as a kid and was then shown a coral coloured American 1957 Skyliner for $7K back in the 80s. It needed everything but the roof worked and I missed my chance to own a fun classic which would have rewarded the owner.

PAUL WARREN - BENOWA, QLD

OCTOBER 2000 AUSTIN 1800 UTILITY

NOW $15,000 12-15,000 (MAYBE) $

Memories from years ago of attempting to urge an 1800 ute laden with sand up a steep driveway confirm that some cars really should not be turned into utilities. The 1800 rode nicely and had a comfy cabin but unless you were delivering large cartons of fresh air, it did struggle as a load-carrier. This one with an asking price about twice the amount being paid for excellent 1800s would have struggled too.

Someone in the UK might have wanted it but freight and customs costs would have deterred all but the most philanthropic.

JUNE 1987 BROCK HDT VK WAGON

NOW $ 18,450 $40-45,000 4

This looks so much like a stock VK Wagon with some HDT wheels and panels added that people passing by might dismiss it as a fake. But no. Various credible sources including an official HDT brochure confirm that HDT was geared to work its magic on a pretty much any kind of VK V8 wagon that a customer might send their way. On-line comments (which should always be viewed with scepticism) claim anywhere from 3 to 30 VK wagons were built before arrival of the VL took production to more prolific levels. Do you own this scarce VK?

MAY 1992 VOLVO 145 EXPRESS

NOW $5000 $10-15,000

We did take a look some years back at these rare Volvos but the pictures we used back then weren’t great and readers might not have appreciated the special features of the Express or found reason to preserve one should it cross their path. Overseas, the Express with its stepped roof and fenced-off luggage platform could be bought with two, five or seven seats, window glass to the rear or plain sides as shown. The estimate of six being brought to Australia seems low, especially as sources document more than that number still in existence. Where is this one now?

JULY 1995 CHRYSLER VALIANT R SERIES

$ 12,500 30-35,000 $3

1008 is a very significant number for Chrysler enthusiasts because that is the official production figure for Australia’s first Valiant. The compact Chryslers were actually a US-designed Plymouth and arrived here in a multitude of crates for assembly at Chrysler’s South Australian factory. The Valiant was modern, fast and spacious and the ‘R Series’ as it was known sold out in days. Buyers who missed out then had to wait weeks for the ‘S Series’ to be available. Possibly 100 or so of the ‘R’ survive, this looks to be one of the better examples and its value will have soared since 1995.

SEPTEMBER 1985 1971 FORD XY FALCON GT

$ 11,990 $140- 160,000 1

Late in 1985, with $11,990 in your hand you would not quite have been able to afford a brand-new Ford Laser GL, What you could have owned though was an XY GT with muscular looks and plenty of room for the family. Why so cheap? Young people couldn’t afford the insurance, older ones didn’t want to pay soaring petrol bills and by the 1980s XYs were relegated to the cheaper end of used car alley. A couple of price spikes with corresponding crashes made the market nervous but prices are up again and right now its value would easily fund a pair of brand new V8 Mustangs.

MAY 1992 1962 CHEVROLET BEL AIR WAGON

$8000 $38-45,000

Australia didn’t embrace the idea of a really big station wagon the way buyers did in the USA.

Ford seemed to do quite well with its monster Fairlane 500 Ranch Wagon but if you didn’t want a Fairlane you needed to know the right person at a GM-H dealership so you could get a car like this ‘62 Chev specially imported and RHD converted. That involved big money and survivors are understandably scarce (1963-64s seem more common though) and hunting one from offshore can cost US$30,000 before you even consider shipping it.

MAY 1995 1975 RAMBLER HORNET

$4500 $10-12,000

If you’re in the market for a family-sized car with a bit of style and don’t want to spend Holden/ Falcon/Valiant money, look hard for a Hornet.

These mid-sized, US-made sedans came to Australia in kits for assembly in Port Melbourne by Australian Motor Industries. They were a common sight on 1970s roads and seem not too difficult to find even now. This one at $4500 would have been top-of-the-market in 1995 however it looks to be well cared for. Air-conditioning plus a sunvisor would make it attractive to buyers in warm locales as well.