Guy ‘Guido’ Allen

HERE’S A PUZZLER for you. Have a squiz at the four cars in the shot: Pacer, Monaro, Capri and R100 and give me the list in order of value. Okay who, back when these things were new, would have predicted the little Mazda in second place, with a number that could – for a good example – hit $65k or more?

As I’m just old enough to remember these things scuttling about when they were new, I can also recall a time when all four of these cars were regarded as interesting old clunkers. Fast for their time, but who’d want that old thing if you could afford a new one? Lots of people, as it turned out, which helps to explain why values on R100s have held up so well. Even going back five or more years, we were seeing $30-40k-plus being paid for them.

Given these diminutive coupes have an impressive endurance race history, the current prices aren’t – in the world market – particularly steep. The only annoying thing is, like many of you, I don’t have a world-sized wallet. So an R100 is out of the question. But that’s not the end of the show.

Since we started pulling together this Japanese value guide, I’ve been re-enthused about adding a Japanese car to the fleet. Have had them in the past, but the current muster only includes metal from USA, Australia, and Germany. Nothing from the east.

Thing is, I don’t have a lot of money to spend. Make that, ‘any’ money. Still, that’s not an insurmountable obstacle. Sell off a bike or two, stop eating – there’s always a solution. For me a sentimental favourite is an RA22 Celica, since the parents had two of them when I was a kid. While the prices on them have gone a bit nuts, I did see what looked like a viable project car for around the $10k mark. Possible.

And the winner for the most metal for your buck? A 1982 Toyota Crown sedan (aka MS112) for $2000 with a roadworthy. Now you’re talking! Wouldn’t mind a big floaty cruiser. You could sit there in the metre-deep velour on the way down the highway pondering how in hell it managed to stay mostly rust-free except for the bite mark out of the leading edge of the bonnet. There’ll be a story behind that.

Really the possibilities are endless. Probably the one that intrigues me most is the tasty little Honda advertised on the front cover and elsewhere in the mag. Look it up on tradeuniquecars.com.au and you’ll discover it’s a 1971 1300 Coupe 9 on the market for mid-twenties. What’s intriguing is the motorcycle-like aircooled SOHC inline four powerplant, running a bank of four CV carbs on short inlets – very motorcycle-like. It was said to have design input from Soichiro Honda himself and, assuming that’s right, gives it real significance. So many cars and so little time...

Guy ‘Guido’ Allen

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