ONES THAT GOT AWAY

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! Send your tale to uniquecars@bauertrader.com.au with ‘Gotaways’ in the title

HOLDEN SS TORANA My uncle has a genuine SS Torana hatchback for years. It was a factory manual with the 308, silver in colour and had the original orange stipes wearing a set of globes! It sat unused in the backyard after he removed the battery for his ex Australia post van. He ended up selling it for around $900 in the 1990s... Why why why! TROY AVGOLEMONO - HAMILTON QLD

JUNE 2001

AUSTIN-HEALEY 100/4

The ‘big’ Healey, as it came to be known, was regarded as a step above Triumph and MG rivals when new, but a peg below the XK Jaguar. Comparing 2001 values for typical four-cylinder Healeys, MGAs and Triumph TR3s there wasn’t a lot of difference. Fast forward 16 years and the 100/4 has surged by a quite remarkable degree; top-class cars now right on the tails of lowerspec XKs and powering past the MG and Triumph. This car with history and those possibly original rego plates would be one to grab if it becomes available, or to hold and enjoy if you currently own it.

NOW

$70-80,000 $27,500

NOVEMBER 1991

HOLDEN EJ PREMIER

Egalitarian Australia showed reluctance to build its own prestige cars, instead getting them from Britain, the USA or Europe. Then in 1962 Ford added some frills to the slow selling Falcon and Holden went all the way with with a leathertrimmed, metallic painted EJ. That car was named the Premier and sold to toffee-noses who otherwise might have bought a Vauxhall Cresta or Ford Zodiac. To generate semi-serious money today, an EJ Prem needs its original leather to be intact or at worst feature a quality retrim to maintain the pretensions from 50+ years ago.

NOW

$22-27,000 $7000

MAY 1991

BUICK GN

Back in 1991 when times were tough and the market for oddball cars collapsing, there would not have been a long queue of Buick buyers all waving $50K. However, the GN was no ordinary Buick. With a V6 similar to the one slated for use in Holden’s VN range and a massive turbocharger, this is quite likely the only 1980s American car that can justify being called a ‘classic’. Australia is home to a few GN Buicks and last month Uncle Phil featured one of the cheapest seen here. It apparently needed work so finding a fully-operational example for under $100,000 is unlikely.

NOW

$95125,000 $53,500

OCTOBER 2003

TOYOTA SPRINTER

Who would have thought that a car that looked so happy being hoicked sideways on narrow, slippery rally roads would 35 years later find fame while being held sideways on smooth and grippy race circuits. In the brave new sport of ‘drifting’ the AE86 Sprinter (aka Levin) won’t often be found in stock mechanical condition. However the chunky shape and tiny wheelbase make for pin-sharp accuracy and control, even when a 300kW turbo transplant engine is tearing shreds off the back tyres. Something stock like the ad car can now cost $20,000, fully kitted drift weapons double that number.

NOW

$18-24,000 $4950

DECEMBER 1990

1954 CHEVROLET CORVETTE

Time – apparently – heals all wounds and despite horrifying sports car enthusiasts with its automatic transmission, buyers certainly did show forgiveness to the early Corvette. By 1990, just as the first ‘boom’ in classic car prices was preparing to go bust, up popped up this rarity. The money being sought for a RHD ‘54 was OK at the time but would diminish by 30 percent in the space of four years. Times have now significantly improved and while very early Corvettes remain scarce in Australia, US sales suggest A$100,000 should currently buy a LHD car in condition similar to this one.

NOW

$100120,000 $57,500

FEBRUARY 1985

MERCEDES-BENZ 220SE COUPE

Well before the rest of the market showed any sign of a ‘boom’, the owner of this Benz decided to cash in and seek 1989-level money for a rare and tidy two-door ‘Ponton’. Fully-imported German cars were a rarity on 1950s Australian roads and even by the 1980s there hadn’t been a flurry of imports. Finding 220SE two-doors of this age on sale locally remains tough and even the European market seems confused as to realistic values. Based on all available information, that hefty $20K from 1985 has likely blossomed into a very welcome $120K.

NOW

$110125,000 $20,000

OCTOBER 1995

FERRARI DAYTONA

Few better investments exist in the automotive world than an early, front-engined Ferrari. The Daytona arrived in 1968 just as supercar design was headed towards a mid-engined future and demand for the swoopy V12 has remained strong for 50 years. This one being sold at a tough economic time for Australia was cheap and, as one of only 156 RHD coupes built, would have turned a immediate profit if resold into SE Asia. The international market today suggests that a quality car with plenty of history could add around $1 million to the 1995 asking price.

NOW

$1.1-1.35M $295,000